Though it was the third SBX World Cup of the year, it was Wescott's first since the Olympics, marking only the eighth podium of his tenured snowboarding career.
“I kinda remembered what I was supposed to do,” Wescott said. “For me it was a good confidence builder to know that I was right there. It has been 10 months and two days since the Olympics, since I did a race.”
While he appeared to be totally in control and on top of his game, according to Wescott, his legs were telling a different story.
“I'm dead. I didn't do a lot of physical training this summer, so it was all just riding. I had to rely completely on my skills and nothing physical. I could feel every run,” Wescott said.
His skills were evident as in he narrowly passed quarterfinals, finishing behind reigning World Champion Markus Schairer and inches ahead of Austrian Michael Haemmerle. He finished in the lead for semifinals and was in the lead for a majority of the final run before some challenging rollers enabled France's Pierre Vaultier to edge him out by a hair.
“Inside turn six, I opened the corner a little bit and Vaultier snuck inside, but I had more momentum so I got back out of turn seven,” Wescott said. “All week I had been seeing him pump the triple set in the bottom and I hadn't tried pumping it. It was one of those things where I knew if I popped the triple he would get by me. So I tried to do the double suck but I did a double and knuckled it.”
Regardless of the close call, Wescott was excited to start his season out successfully and in a place he considers to be his second home.
“Telluride has just rolled out the red carpet for us the past three years and I just love it here. To be able to be here and enjoy the week ad cap it off with something like this is great for me to kick off the season like this,” he said.
Wescott led the way for two other U.S. athletes into the top 10 with Jonathan Cheever finishing sixth and Alex Deibold in seventh.
On the women's side U.S. teammates Lindsey Jacobellis and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof took the lead in the day's small final finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Canadian Dominique Maltais won, making her the only woman to win on the World Cup tour this season thanks to her two victories from Italy.
The day was an important milestone for Chythlook-Sifsof, marking her best finish since the 2007 season, after which she encountered an injury and challenges. Now, she says, she feels amazing about where she is headed.
“I've struggled a bit in the last year with some pressure, but I've just had a great summer and I feel on top of my game 100 percent,” Chythlook-Sifsof said. “I'm also having fun, which is the biggest thing, and I can't wait till the next World Cup.”
Another thing that helped, according to Chythlook-Sifsof, was the terrific course, which was designed by famed Olympic designer Jeff Ihaksi.
“The whole setup is really fun and I enjoy it a lot. It was smooth and you didn't have to think about trajectory a lot. You could just let it run and I had a lot of fun with it,” she said.
Visa Parallel GS Races
The LG FIS Snowboard World Cup, on Thursday, Dec. 16, ended with Slovenian rider Rok Flander and Fraenzi Maegert-Kohli from Switzerland taking wins in the men's and women's Visa Parallel Giant Slalom races.
Flat light and new snow made conditions tough in the season's second World Cup PGS event at Telluride. U.S. athletes Tyler Jewell and Vic Wild, just off of fifth and sixth place finishes at the World Cup in Italy, were poised for success in the race. But, the challenging course and tough light conditions took a toll on U.S. athletes with none making the flip into the final round.
Wild, who led off the season with two podiums on the Race to the Cup tour before his sixth in Italy, led the pack within a hair of finals, taking fifth in the first run but some mistakes in the second run put him in 18th. Utah athlete Lindsay Lloyd finished in 26th. Jewell went down run during the first run due to an on course distraction. He was given a rerun but was ultimately disqualified.
Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup In Telluride
1. Pierre Vaultier, France
2. Seth Wescott, USA
3. Alex Pullin, Austria
4. Fabio Caduff, Switzerland
5. Markus Schairer, Austria
6. Jonathan Cheever, USA
7. Alex Deibold, USA --
17. Nick Baumgartner, USA
22. Shaun Palmer, USA
25. Nate Holland, USA
28. Graham Watanabe, USA
29. Ross Powers, USA
30. JJ Tomlinson, USA
31. Jayson Hale, USA
32. Alex Tuttle, USA
1. Dominique Maltais, Canada
2. Alexandra Jekova, Bulgaria
3. Maelle Ricker, Canada
4. Helene Olafsen, Norway
5. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, VT 6. Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, AK