Racer’s focus still on school | SteamboatToday.com

Racer’s focus still on school

David Manthei

— For most of his life, snowboarder David Manthei has been focused on his competitive dreams.

He has traveled around the world to international competitions, spent his summers working to stay in top physical shape, and put other parts of his life on hold.

But last winter, after several months of soul searching, Manthei decided the time had come to move in a different direction. It had been two years since he graduated from high school, and the pressure of racing had taken the fun out of the sport. It was time to pursue his college education.

“I’m committed to school now, but that competitive spirit still burns inside,” Manthei said. “The door is still open, but school is my top priority right now.”

Like so many other athletes in Steamboat Springs, Manthei’s choice was not an easy one. He still was interested in pursuing his Olympic dreams, but he also had a chance to attend Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

“I know a lot of athletes that take one or two college classes in the offseason, but that’s not the way I do things,” Manthei said. “When I finally decided to go to school, I wanted that to be my total focus. I wanted to give it 100 percent of my energy.”

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These days Mantei spends most of his time in the classroom, but he managed to find his way back to the slopes for a few races.

Earlier this year, Manthei just missed earning a World Cup start at the opening Race to the Cup event at Copper Mountain. He plans to race this week during Race to the Cup competitions at Howelsen Hill.

The event will open Friday with a parallel slalom under the lights. There also will be a parallel giant slalom event Saturday morning.

“I love to race at home,” Manthei said. “These are some of the best races every year, and I wouldn’t miss them for the world.”

But even if the Steamboat rider picks up a couple of top finishes, he says his focus will remain on school.

“I’m not really expecting that much,” Manthei said about this week’s competition. “These guys have been training a lot more than I have, and I’m sure they are going to be really fast.”

After the races, Manthei plans to return to the classroom to pursue a degree in geophysics.