Cody’s Challenge returns with athlete cap, same heartfelt cause |

Cody’s Challenge returns with athlete cap, same heartfelt cause

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Cody’s Challenge is back in 2021 after a year’s hiatus due to the pandemic. The 13th edition of the popular race, which raises money for the Cody St. John Foundation to award scholarships to ski patrol members looking to further their medical education, is capped at just 75 participants and will take place Saturday.

Typically, the event draws about 200 skiers looking to test their abilities on the short or long ski mountaineering courses, but COVID-19 has limited participation.

Still, it’s a win that the event is taking place after the 12th annual challenge was unable to go on last spring.

“It was a bummer that it didn’t happen, of course, but all the other things going on are more serious,” said Derek Durivage, vice president of the Cody St. John Foundation. “It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to have the event and raise the money that we do, but we did give out scholarships and continued our mission.”

The foundation was created to honor former Steamboat ski patroller Cody St. John. To remember his legacy, the foundation awards at least five scholarships a year for medical education and contributes toward avalanche training for selected ski patrols.

Even in the absence of the fundraising event, the foundation awarded money to nine patrollers in 2020. Five winners were from mountains that had never sent in applications before, including Arizona Snowbowl, Blacktail Mountain in Montana, Crystal Mountain in Washington, Killington/Pico in Vermont and Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania. Six patrollers were awarded a $1,000 scholarship, and three received honorable mention awards of $500.

“They did not quite meet our requirements of two years of full-time ski patrolling,” Durivage said. “We did this because their applications and recommendations were stellar and felt they deserved something for their efforts.”

Every year since its inception in 2012, Steamboat Resort ski patroller and race coordinator Kyle Lawton has participated in Cody’s Cup. The sub-challenge pits pairs of ski patrollers together. Whichever pair has the lowest combined time wins $2,000 for their ski patrol for training or group medical education. Lawton and Brian McGovern have earned second for the past three years.

The foundation is the only one of its kind awarding scholarships to ski patrol members, and with 12, almost 13 years in Steamboat, it’s becoming a community mainstay.

“There’s so much enthusiasm for it each year,” Dirivage said. “Our numbers haven’t been growing exponentially, but every year, we’re floating around 200 racers. I think it’ll continue to grow or at least be steady and rise slightly as more and more people find out about it.”

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