At 23, Simon Dumont of Bethel has skied and competed all over the world. His trophy shelf of big air and halfpipe medals is as vast as his passport stamps. Just this winter he’s traveled all over the Rockies, New Zealand, South America, Scandinavia, Austria and France – where I spoke with him last week in Tignes during Europe’s first Winter X Games.

Dumont was excited about coming home for his signature Dumont Cup on March 26-27. The inaugural free ski event was held last April at Sunday River, bringing together 70 amateur skiers to compete head-to-head with 10 pros, including Dumont.

“At our first annual Dumont Cup some things went really well, some didn’t,” said Dumont. “The second annual is going to be even better. The field of pros I have coming is deeper, and we are focusing on making the jumps bigger and safer.”

Those are high hopes. Sunday River built a huge park venue for last year’s event with 50- and 90-foot jumps on Rocking Chair, located under the Barker quad for prime viewing. Jake Largess, Dumont’s manager and lifelong friend from Bethel, said, “We travel to events all over the world, and the course Sunday River created for the first Dumont Cup was amazing.”

Dumont has a habit of pushing the envelope. You may remember his world record jump in April 2008 at Sunday River, when he launched 35 feet above a quarterpipe and into the Guinness Book of World Records for highest vertical ski jump.

He’s won seven X Games titles, and competes on the Dew Tour. But he has had some horrendous crashes too, including at this year’s Aspen X Games, when he was knocked unconscious after a fall. He’s seen friends go down, too, like skier Tanner Hall and filmmaker Riley Poor. Dumont and Poor, of Poor Boyz Productions, collaborated on a ski film released last fall, “Transitions,” about the risks and rewards of freeskiing. The film production had its own challenges since Poor was paralyzed in January 2009 in a swimming accident, but he was able to edit the documentary to its completion.

Dumont surrounds himself with his ski friends, most of whom are competitors. The celebrity ski entourage rolling into Sunday River’s event include big-air, big-trick names like New Zealander Jossi Wells, Norwegian P.K. Hunter, Canadian T.J. Schiller, Colby James West of Canterbury, N.H., Peter Olenick of Aspen, Colo., and Tom Wallisch of Salt Lake City.

“A lot of great talent came out for the first Dumont Cup. With the three-round format, everyone got a chance to throw down and go crazy,” said Wallisch, who won last year’s Dumont Cup. “It was the best course in the East, so I look forward to seeing what they build for the second.”

Dumont says he has some new tricks up his sleeve for this year’s Dumont Cup, and he’s sporting new threads – retiring the flashy red and white Salomon he wore last season.

“I designed the new outfit in aqua and black; I will definitely still stand out,” he said.

The first Dumont Cup brought sunshine, soft snow, and lively crowds watching young freeskiers go big in front of their idols. Dumont and his invited pro friends showcased huge tricks for the fans and spent time talking with the younger athletes, encouraging them to pursue their passion.

Wallisch’s $10,000 winning trick last April was a misty fired off the cannon, followed by a 900 and a superb switch 1080. If that’s Greek to you, you should go to the Dumont Cup to get your park vernacular on. Sponsors have increased the prize purse to $12,000 for first, $5,000 for second and $3,000 for third.

On the first day of the event, 150 amateurs will compete before the panel of pro judges to qualify for the final 20 spots. The next day, they ski the course along with the pros and Dumont – for big air and big money.

“Simon skis all over the world. He honed his skills at Sunday River and the fact that he has created the Dumont Cup to give other freeskiers that same chance benefits everyone involved.” said Dana Bullen, general manager for Sunday River.

Dumont started skiing at Sunday River at age 3, competed at his first X Games at 15, and won his first gold at 17. Now he competes globally and stars in ski films – he’s currently shooting in Austria with Poor Boyz Productions.

Dumont is also serving as a board member of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals to convince the International Olympic Committee to sanction skier superpipe in the 2014 Olympics – much like Seth Wescott petitioned the IOC to include snowboardcross in 2006.

“For six years we have been trying to convince the IOC to include skier superpipe. The older people in Europe are very race-based, so it’s been a long, uphill battle,” said Dumont. “I don’t want to get my hopes up too much, but if skier pipe is in the next Olympics, I will fall off the face of the earth, and go train my butt off in some secret location like Shaun White.”

Next weekend is your chance to see Dumont go big at his home hill, Sunday River, and watch the future of freeskiing unfold at the second annual Dumont Cup.

 

Heather Burke is a ski/snowboard journalist from Kennebunk. She can be contacted at:

heather@familyskitrips.com