Seth Wescott’s quest for more Olympic glory has begun.

The 39-year-old Maine snowboarder has started training with the U.S. team in South America, the first step in his bid to compete at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

After taking the 2014-15 season off to recover physically (from left knee reconstruction following a skiing accident in 2013) and emotionally (from the death of his father, James), Wescott plans on competing on the World Cup circuit this winter. He won gold medals in snowboardcross at the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, but was sidelined during the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Wescott, in a phone interview from Bariloche, Argentina, said his training has been going well.

“I had a little tightness in my knee on day one, but all the pain I was experiencing in my patella tendon last year is gone,” he said. “It’s been a fun few days. I’m starting to get the feeling that the year off treated me well.”

And even as Wescott plots his return to the World Cup circuit, he is preparing for life after competition. Winterstick Snowboards, one of the oldest and most revered names in snowboard-making, has announced that Wescott has joined its ownership group. The company plans to open a custom snowboard-manufacturing shop at Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, where Wescott resides. He also co-owns a restaurant and bar, The Rack, located at the base of Sugarloaf.

Wescott will help design and manufacture the boards.

“It’s another way for me to build passion about the sport,” said Wescott. “I really think a lot of times, whenever I’ve had my best results competitively, it was when I was in a really passionate place about snowboarding. It was what I really wanted to do.

“I think having a project like this makes you refocus on what attracted you to the sport in the first place.”

Tom Fremont-Smith, president of Winterstick Snowboards, said Wescott’s name should benefit the business. But, he added, Wescott is more than just a name.

“Seth brings a buzz, but he also brings a lot of design ideas,” said Fremont-Smith.

In fact, one of Wescott’s board splitboard designs recently received an Editor’s Choice Award from Backcountry Magazine, which specializes in articles about backcountry skiing, one of the fastest-growing segments of the industry and sport. And, said Fremont-Smith, Outside Magazine has selected another Wescott design for its upcoming “Essentials” issue.

“Seth is actually going to be managing the design team,” said Fremont-Smith. “And he wants to build boards.”

Fremont-Smith said the shop will open with three to four employees. He hopes to expand to 10 employees by 2019. He anticipates doubling production each year and, by 2019, hopes to achieve $1 million in sales.

“Our ability to build other products for other people is going to be key,” said Fremont-Smith, mentioning skis and surfboards. “We want to keep our machinery going year-round.”

Wescott said he has already heard from snow sports shops across the U.S. interested in carrying their products.

“We plan on making this thing grow,” he said. “I’m excited to see where we are at in 10 years and what we can turn this into.”

Wescott said the shop will use Maine-sourced lumber. He hopes to involve young Mainers in the business.

“You never know where you’re going to find talent,” he said. “We want to reach out and create opportunities for kids interested in the sport and in the technology of making snowboards. We want to show kids that there are ways to create a living here in Maine.”

Wescott knows that he will be busy for the next 2 1/2 years, trying to get his way back to a World Cup, or Olympic, podium. He will be limited in his involvement with Winterstick until after 2018.

“The amount of time I spend there will grow immensely after South Korea,” he said.

He has some unfinished business to take care of first. His knee injury (he tore the anterior cruciate ligament and suffered damage to the patella tendon) not only cost him a shot at the Sochi Winter Olympics but all of last season as well.

Now he’s healthy – physically and mentally – and ready to attack the courses with abandon once again. He plans on skipping just two World Cup events this year, in Russia and the finals in Spain.

“It’s actually been fun to have a clock on me this week and start picking up the pace and seeing where I am with the team,” said Wescott. “I knew I couldn’t have done that last year. The process is still ongoing; it’s amazing how many times I’ve seen my dad in my dreams the last few months. But I’m more at peace with it now.

“I’m not concerned with my results right now. I want to see my speed back in the time trials. I look at this as a rebuilding year. It’s going to be fun to get back in the gates again.”

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