Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wescott throws down fastest runs at Arosa

First World Cup SBX victory

Ketchum wax tech Curtis Bacca (left) celebrates Saturdayís World Cup outcome with menís snowboard cross winner Seth Wescott of Maine. Photo by

Reigning Winter Olympic snowboard cross gold medalist Seth Wescott threw down the fastest runs to win the first SBX World Cup of his career and 1,000 Cup points Saturday at Arosa, Switzerland.

In the men's final on Arosa's Carmenna run, Wescott, 32, a North Carolina native who lives in Maine, was quicker than three Europeans—second-place Markus Schairer of Austria, third-place David Speiser of Germany and fourth-place Alex Pullin of Austria.

Wescott, a snowboarder for 22 years and a SBX competitor for 11, was the 2005 SBX world champion and also the 2006 Olympic SBX gold medalist at Torino, Italy in the first year of SBX Winter Games medals.

This was his first triumph in 56 attempts covering nine years on the LG Snowboard FIS (International Ski Federation) World Cup circuit. Wescott has been battling injuries the past 18 months, but he excelled in last weekend's field of 37 ladies and 66 men from 24 nations.

Sugarloaf restaurant owner Wescott said, "I've had so many times where I've made mistakes. I was feeling confident and had a very good touch to the snow. It was all smooth. It's nice to get it done."

Wescott had an added tool in his kit that gave him the boost of confidence it took for a win.

He said, "I brought my own wax tech over—Curtis Bacca (of Ketchum)—the guy that worked with me at the Olympics. He and I have never not won a race together so I just had a good feeling going all week."

Bacca's addition was a last-minute plus for Wescott.

"Last Friday (Dec. 12), Seth called me late night and asked if I would come wax tech for him solo in Switzerland," said Bacca, owner of The Waxroom in Ketchum. "He bought my ticket on Saturday and I flew Monday. It was awesome! He won every heat and won the finals by three board lengths."

Bacca, e-mailing Saturday night from Arosa, said, "We spent the afternoon celebrating here in the hotel bar, then Rodel-ed (a type of Swiss sled) into town through the streets for fondue and more celebrating."

Hailey's Graham Watanabe conpeted in the Men's Small Final (consolation bracket) and placed seventh overall, the third American behind Wescott and fifth-place Nick Baumgartner. Watanabe won his first two heats and was third in one of the semi-finals won by Speiser. That put Watanabe in Saturday's Small Final.

In the World Cup men's SBX standings after two events, Norway's Stian Sivertzen leads with 1,200 points, Wescott is second with 1,130, Baumgartner fourth with 950 and Watanabe eighth with 580. Sivertzen placed sixth in Saturday's Small Final, sandwiched between American threats Baumgartner and Watanabe.

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