Cody Winters has high hopes for 2020 season coming off win at home
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cody Winters has a busy schedule.
He’s headed to Holiday Valley Resort in New York on Saturday, Feb. 1, ahead of two days of competition. After that, he heads north to Alpine Ski Club in Canada. Late February, he will make his World Cup debut in Canada, and if all goes well, he’s aiming for a podium finish at Junior World in Austria the last weekend in March.
All of that follows a first-place finish at a NorAm race at Howelsen Hill Ski Area last weekend, which was a huge boost for the 19-year-old Steamboat Springs native.
The home competition didn’t start well for Winters. On Thursday, Jan. 23, at Steamboat Resort, Winters didn’t make it to finals after missing a gate at the end of his first parallel giant slalom run.
“I was finishing the course, having a really good run, and then I wasn’t expecting the course to turn so much at the end,” he said. “I came around a gate and looked at where I thought the next gate would be and just didn’t see a gate at all.”
Winters’ coach Thedo Remmelink suggested Winters go home right away and rest for the next day, rather than hang around and watch.
After an evening of resting and getting over that race’s shortcomings, Winters showed up to the course Friday, Jan. 24, at Howelsen ready to try again.
Winters dominated his way down his home hill to the parallel slalom finals, where he defeated Ryan Rosencranz for the win. On Saturday, Jan. 25, in another parallel GS race, Winters was just shy of the podium in fourth.
“I am better at slalom, and I knew I would have an advantage racing at Howelsen,” said Winters. “It’s such a technical, difficult hill with its weird pitches and me being able to ride there all the time.”
Ahead of the races in New York, Winters sits in fifth in the NorAm standings, which he’s not happy with. He led for most of the season last year, but finished second. He’s hoping to match or better that finish this year.
His second-place finish in 2019 earned him a World Cup start this season. He’ll make his debut at Blue Mountain Resort in Canada on Feb. 29. He doesn’t have any expectations of himself going into the next level, other than gaining experience in a different environment.
He would like a second run, though, since some riders he’s competitive with have earned a second run at that level in the past. In World Cup parallel giant slalom race, the top 16 on each course earn a second run before the combined top 16 are sent to finals.
“Everyone says it’s a big step up from NorAm, obviously,” he said. “There’s just a lot more pressure, and the vibes are a lot different. It’s a lot more serious. I’m excited for it.”
Farthest on the horizon is Junior Worlds, where Winters took seventh last year. He was happy with his performance at the time, but now he knows he is capable of more and thinks a podium finish is possible.
Winters spends about 25 hours a week training, in addition to an hour in the gym six days a week. When he’s not wearing his hard boots for Alpine snowboarding, he straps on the soft boots and heads up to the resort for some fun runs.
As if he doesn’t spend enough time on a snowboard already, Winters also takes time to pass on his knowledge by coaching younger snowboarders.
“It’s good for me as an athlete, too, to try to explain different techniques and stuff,” Winters said. “Kids just have so much passion and energy. It’s nice to be around that.”
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