What does a guy whose nickname is the “Godfather” of freestyle skiing aspire to? Bigger and better, of course. Simon Dumont has arguably done more for halfpipe skiing than any other, and he’s got 10 X Games medals and an AFP world title to prove it. While Dumont mostly splits his time between Colorado and Florida, home will always be Maine. Six years ago, Dumont created The Dumont Cup at his home mountain, Sunday River, which also happens to be where he set the world quarterpipe height record—just sayin’. After a knee injury in late January, he’s on the mend at Olympic facilities in Park City, Utah. Come March, though, he’s returning to Sunday River for his annual event, and he’s bringing grand designs of designing the grandest terrain park in the East and, just maybe, in North America.
Hey, Simon. How’s it going? Where are you at the moment?
I’m in Park City, yet again. The Olympics facilities are here and they’ve got really good physical therapists and some good gyms, so it’s a nice place to rehabilitate.
How are you feeling?
*Ed’s note: Dumont tore his ACL after qualifying for the first-ever Olympic halfpipe ski event this year.
Eh. It is what it is. It sucks and it’s discouraging, but it happens. I can’t change anything. I could sit here and sulk for the next month, or for the rest of my life, but that’s not my style. I’ve got other things—I’ve got The Dumont Cup coming up, and I’ve got other things on the back burner.
Dumont Cup—we’re all really excited about it here. How much time do you get to spend at Sunday River?
As of late, not as much as I would like. I bought a restaurant and my parents are running it down in Florida, so they’re out of Maine. My brother’s still there, but… I haven’t had a chance to ski anywhere. I have a place in Colorado and I have a place in Florida, and I don’t live in either one of them. I’m in Utah. It’s a tough situation, but now that the new run [T72] is there, and I think that [The] Dumont Cup is something that I really want to make a staple within freeskiing, I’ll probably be spending a lot more time there. And I’d love to help develop that park and make it the sickest park on the East Coast. I’ve already heard great things, but I think if I went there, we could make it, easily, one of the best parks in North America.
Yeah, the park is already amazing. It’s beautiful, it looks awesome, and people seem to love it.
Nice, I’m excited to check it out in a couple of weeks.
Do you ever get a chance to come home and sneak into Sunday River without telling anyone, strike mission style?
Ah, no, I mean, that’s the thing: I’ve just been too busy. All I’ve been thinking about is competing and Olympics, and I haven’t really had time to freeski or have fun, or do anything like that. As much of a bummer as this knee injury is, it’s kind of a relief to maybe get back to having fun and enjoying skiing, and get back to Sunday River and back to my roots.
Would you mind telling me a little bit about how The Dumont Cup was actually born?
I guess it was kind of my agent and I. I just like to get my hands in as many things as I can and I really wanted to have a contest. I know that there’s a lot of talent on the East Coast, but at the same time, they usually don’t have quite the caliber of park that the West Coast does, because of the early season snow—it’s not like the effort’s not there; it’s just the variables that are present. We wanted to bring an amazing contest back home to Sunday River, have that hometown feel, have some of the best athletes, build the best course possible, and either help develop that talent on the East Coast or help to discover it. For Sunday River to step up and build me my own run for The Dumont Cup—that’s a huge commitment and I’d love to go there and design a great course and make this a staple of freeskiing.
How do you go about designing the course? Do you just think about what you would want to ski?
To be honest, the last couple of years, I’ve been pretty busy, so I’d come in like three days before. We’d send emails back and forth, but it’s really hard to just see GPS and try to understand things that way, so I’d usually fly in three or four days before and try to build the biggest jumps that we could build on the run that we had. The unique thing about this year is that we have a huge run, I hear that we’re getting some snow, which is amazing, and there’s really big snowmaking on that run, which is awesome also, so I think that this year, you’re going to see a more unique course than you’ve seen thus far.
When do you think you’re going to head this way?
I will probably head there about a week before the Dumont Cup. [In time for the Woodward Mini Camp Tour on March 22 and 23.]
Of the five Dumont Cups that have been completed, which was your favorite?
Probably the first year. The first year was great, just because, well, it was obviously the first one, but I just had a lot of friends there who weren’t even slopestyle skiers. We just had an awesome crew there. And it was nice to bring everybody back to my home. We cooked dinner at my parents’ house. It was just a great weekend—and it worked out great. We had 100 to 150 people sign up, so when you put something together and then… people come, watch, and participate—what more do you want?
And a lot of the guys who have participated have had huge success since, as well, which is exactly what you were hoping for, right?
For sure. Joss Christensen—he just went and won the Olympics. He’s come every year and podiumed every time but once at The Dumont Cup. Nick Goepper’s won numerous times; he got third place there [in Sochi]. Gus Kenworthy’s been there—he’s podiumed at the event. It’s high-caliber athletes and it’s nice of them to come and support me and support my event, and maybe win some money at the same time.
What’s your favorite part of The Dumont Cup weekend?
Mmm favorite part. When it’s done and over with, and we had a good event, we had good weather, and all of those variables that I don’t have control over fell into place. That’s probably my favorite time, but in the past, it was going to my parents’ house and cooking a dinner there and having everybody over. Having lobster, you know, the Maine staples, and just kind of showing people where I came from. Showing people around my mountain. Last year, one of my friends came out early and we were doing straight runs down White Heat, so top to bottom, no turns, just as fast as we could. [Laughs.] Yes, we got yelled at, but that was probably one of my highlights of last year. I mean, straight-line the Big Pig—why not? Steepest [longest, widest, lift-serviced expert trail] in the East.
That’s so funny. I can imagine that Patrol didn’t love that.
There was nobody on the hill, there was nobody around… But I was like, I’m back for one day and I’m getting yelled at by Ski Patrol. [Laughs.]
We have some amazing snow right now, actually.
Good, that’ll make it easier… hopefully no more rain!
Yeah, that was awful! Anyway, do you have any tips or words of wisdom for the amateurs who enter this year?
I would say enjoy yourself. Win or lose, it’s a great opportunity to either meet people or see a really high caliber of athlete and see what it takes to get to that next level. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not there yet and you’re not winning. These guys are the best skiers in the entire world, so just take it in. Either way, win or lose, you can probably learn something from this and come back and ski twice as strong next year.
Okay, this is kind of a random one, but I was reading your ESPN interview and you said that you need weekly goals. What are your goals this week?
Try and stay busy. I actually have a couple of business endeavors that I’m trying to tackle, and then The Dumont Cup is high on that priority list. To start designing, figuring stuff out, finding out who’s going to come… I’m going to have a lot more involvement this year than I have in the past, so I’m trying to get it done as soon as I can.
*This story appeared in Sunday River This Winter. For more stories, pick up a free copy on stands now.