A 15-year legacy: Cody’s Challenge returns to Steamboat Resort | SteamboatToday.com

A 15-year legacy: Cody’s Challenge returns to Steamboat Resort

Emannuel Louissus takes the final steps to the top of the Rancid Tuna couloir at Steamboat Resort during the 2014 Cody's Challenge. Cody's Challenge has now reached its 15th annual event in 2023 and uses the money raised to award scholarships to professional ski patrollers looking to further their medical education. Cody's Challenge will run on Saturday, April 1, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Joel Reichenberger/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Cody St. John, a former ski patroller at Steamboat Resort, died in a car crash 15 years ago. 

Since then, the city and ski patrol community have celebrated the spirit and legacy of Cody St. John with Cody’s Challenge, which will be hosted for the 15th time on Saturday, April 1, at Steamboat Resort. 

For the St. John family, it means the world to see this tradition continue over a decade later. 

“We’re so honored that we’re going into the 15th season of this race,” Cody’s younger sister, Corinne St. John said. “I don’t know if we ever anticipated it having this sort of staying power or really what it was going to mean in the long run. It’s incredible to be part of a community like Steamboat and to continue Cody’s legacy is the whole reason why we started it in the first place.”

Cody’s Challenge is a ski mountaineering race at Steamboat Resort with two different course lengths for experienced and beginner skiers to participate. The proceeds from the race go to The Cody St. John Foundation, which grants scholarships to professional ski patrollers looking to further their medical education. 

It was clear to Corinne St. John at a young age that her brother was a special person. She described him as humble to the core and remembers him holding a special place in people’s lives. 

Cody St. John was a snowboarder on ski patrol, which was seen as a taboo thing. No one thought he could pull it off but over the years, he proved his place. Patrol was near and dear to Cody’s heart, which is why the St. John family quickly decided to start the foundation. 

“We saw a need, despite how niche of a mission this is, to provide merit-based scholarships for other professional ski patrollers,” Corinne St. John said. “If you think about it, there are ski patrols all across the country and there are medical requirements for all of these people.”

The impact of the foundation is vast, which Corinne believes is the most important part. This year, the foundation is handing out five scholarships to deserving applicants, which has proved to be a motivating factor for recipients. 

A participant jogs up the last climb of Cody’s Challenge on April 2, 2022, at Steamboat Resort.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

15 years into the race, chief of course Kyle Lawton said the best part of Cody’s Challenge has been the evolution of the event over the years. 

“The coolest thing that has happened is it’s morphed into what I feel is a day of celebration for the community,” Lawton said. “For everyone to come together on the ski hill, go up and down, there’s not many crowds, it’s a good competitive feel and it’s a real magical event that we’ve kept putting on.”

Registration for the event is open through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 30. Participants can sign up through the event website at CodysChallenge.org

The race begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning with the awards ceremony to follow at noon at Bashor Pavilion.

“The people who come out and compete this weekend are an amazing group that I respect so much,” Lawton said. It’s the true sense of what this town is and who the backbone of the community is.”

It is a tradition that the St. John family takes a lot of pride in. Seeing Cody remembered in a way that brings the community together is all they could have dreamed of.

“So many people go through these really tragic, awful moments in their life and I think a recurring theme for most people in these unfortunate places is, is my loved one going to be remembered,” Corinne St. John said. “We certainly know that Cody has this special day every year where he was doing what he loved most, ski patrolling and helping people.”

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