Steamboat snowboarder takes 2nd at Junior Worlds ahead of first World Cup-centered season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In his last year eligible for the event, Steamboat Springs Alpine snowboarder Cody Winters took second at the Junior World Championships.
The event was supposed to be held in March, but was canceled due to the pandemic. The rescheduled event was held last weekend in Austria, and despite not having a whole winter to prepare, Winters finished second in the parallel slalom event.
“This is my last Junior Worlds,” he said. “I was the oldest, which is a big advantage, but a big part of my success on Saturday was due to the work I’ve been putting in in the offseason. I’m a lot stronger this year and gained some weight. That was a big reason for my success.”
From the minute the season ended last year, Winters has been working hard. He considers himself to be smaller than others, so he spent the summer lifting weights and eating more as a means to pack on muscle. He trained with his Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach Thedo Remmelink and tried to prepare for Junior Worlds with a few weeks on snow, rather than a whole season.
“We did a completely different schedule than most others,” Remmelink said. “We decided to not go to Copper for camp but to stay in Steamboat, stay safe and start slightly later. And be in a home environment and not be exposed to anything and work in an environment that we felt good and comfortable with.”
The pair started with the basics, getting Winters back in performing shape after a summer of offseason training. Even before the lifts were running at Howelsen Hill Ski Area, they hiked up the face so Winters could get on the course and practice his turns.
When he went to Europe earlier this month, it was with an open mind and the goal of making some noise at Junior Worlds. After a pair of World Cup events, he did just that.
“That was really good to get my first race runs out of the way, get back into having the nerve of race day and getting back into the flow,” Winters said.
The World Cup starts in Italy were the second and third of his career, and he finished 58th and 38th, missing the top 32 to move on to the next round.
While he performed well against his own peers at Junior Worlds, Winters knows there’s a sizable gap between him and the best competition at the World Cup level.
“I have a lot to learn at the World Cup level,” he admitted. “It’s crazy. Just everyone walking around you are Olympians and gold medalists. It’s going to take me a while to kind of get used to that, but it’s actually coming quicker than I thought.”
The 2020-21 season is the first in which Winters is focusing on World Cup competitions, but he needs help to fund his trips. He doesn’t get funding from the U.S. Ski Team, yet, and he’s looking for donations from community members to help him get through the season.
“I already ran my parents into debt from the previous years of racing, so it’s all on me now,” he said.
Winters already has some funds thanks to his new business, Winters Window Washing, which he established this past summer. He’s using a Go Fund Me at gofundme.com/f/cody-winters-winter to collect donations from anyone wanting to support him.
He doesn’t have another competition until January, and he has lofty goals to meet once he gets back on the snow.
“I kind of set myself with a staircase of goals for the World Cup,” he said. “The first goal is getting a second run. You go down your course, if you make top 16 (on your course), or top 32 (overall), you get a second run on the other course. The next goal after that is make it into the top 16 and get seeded into brackets.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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