Justin Reiter was just 3 years old at the time. Little did I know at the time I was holding a future world class Alpine snowboard champion and member of Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia.
Reiter story is a page turner
By John F. Russell, Sunday, April 12, 2009
John Russell's sports column appears Sundays in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steamboat Springs — Sometimes life is like a book
It can be filled with unexpected plot twists, a revolving cast of characters and the kind of details that keep us interested enough to flip to the next page.
For the past three months, Steamboat Springs snowboarder Justin Reiter has flipped through plenty of pages and, in the process, written a chapter in his career that should keep us all sitting on the edge of our seat.
“I’ve read 10 or 12 books in the past few months,” Reiter said. “But I’m not what you would call a reader.”
No, Justin is a snowboarder and a good one at that.
But after electing to undergo knee surgery early last winter, the 28-year-old Olympic hopeful has been forced to find new ways to fill all the time he used to spend training and competing on snow.
Shortly after undergoing surgery to reconstruct his patella tendon, which connects the quadriceps thigh muscle to the tibia below the knee, Reiter found himself with a lot of extra time. For eight weeks after the surgery, he was hooked to a continuous passive motion, or CPM, machine for eight to nine hours a day.
“I think I rented every movie at Blockbuster,” Reiter said.
But he soon discovered that there is more to life than sitting in front of the television and watching movies. Eventually, he turned to books to escape the boredom, and began thinking about how he will find the words and experiences that will define this chapter of his life.
Just a few months ago, Reiter was hoping his life story would describe a journey to his ultimate goal — the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. Some might view this injury as a setback, but Reiter thinks he will come away from the experience with the traits he needs to be successful next season and return to the top of his sport. He says he already is fueled by a new passion, and if things go as planned, he expects to return stronger, faster and more mentally prepared for the tests that will confront him the next few months.
He now understands that making it back is about a lot more than gold, silver and bronze.
“I love this lifestyle,” Reiter said. “It’s about the experience; it’s about the friends I’ve made here, and around the world. I want to get back to that place, and I want to keep snowboarding.”
Justin’s story is already full of interesting plot lines, and as the 2010 games approach, I can only imagine that those plots will thicken. Nobody is sure where Justin’s story will end, but you can bet that I’m going to flip to the next page.
Reiter rides to opening World Cup race
By John F. Russell (Contact) Thursday, October 2, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Alpine snowboarder Justin Reiter was excited about the opening World Cup race of the season, even if it will take place inside what he refers to as a giant refrigerator.
“It’s a nice place to open the World Cup,” Reiter said before leaving for SnowWorld, an indoor ski resort in the Netherlands. “It’s a unique experience to ski inside in a totally controlled environment.”
Reiter said he would miss the sun, which doesn’t shine inside the enclosed walls of SkiWorld, but he said the competition inside the garage-like indoor ski resort should provide plenty of heat.
The parallel slalom is expected to draw the best alpine snowboarders in the world, racing for the first World Cup points of the season. Several U.S. riders, including Reiter and teammates Tyler Jewell and Chris Klug, will make the trip. But because it’s parallel slalom, a non-Olympic event, the U.S. Ski Team’s staff will not make the trip to Landgraaf to support the riders.
“I wouldn’t dream of missing the race,” Reiter said. “It’s a World Cup, so I can’t imagine skipping that race to save a few bucks.”
Reiter and his Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach, Thedo Remmelink, think making the trip is key to the success of the U.S. team as it prepares for this season and the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.
That’s why many of the riders on the U.S. team have decided to foot the bill out of their own pockets for coaching, support and travel this week. American athletes who will compete include Winter Sports Club riders Reiter, Ben Fairchild, Josh Wylie, Erica Mueller and Zachary Kay. Tyler Jewell, who trained for several years in Steamboat before the 2006 Olympics, also will make the trip, along with former club member Andi Jo Stump.
Remmelink also has been approached by Klug and American Adam Smith for coaching. Remmelink will provide riders with coaching support before and during the race, which is scheduled for Oct. 10.
“All of these riders have great work ethics,” Remmelink said. “But many of them are also struggling to make ends meet right now.”
U. S. Ski Team spokesman Tom Kelly stated in an e-mail that the decision not to send coaches should not be interpreted as a lack of support for the alpine snowboarding team. He said early-season World Cups present unique challenges for many teams. In the past, he added, the U.S. Ski Team has looked carefully at the expenditures to ensure there really was value in going to the event. He said the team has made similar decisions in other snowboarding, freestyle and cross-country events to make its money work in the best way possible. In this case, he said, the team thinks the money is spent more productively at events that will increase America’s chances of earning qualifying spots to the Olympics.
However, Reiter and many of his American teammates decided the Landgraaf event was important — with or without U.S. coaching.
Reiter said he missed part of last season and at least two months this summer with an injury that doctors have not been able to pinpoint. He said he feels good right now, and he is ready to get back on snow and prove himself.
“My goal is to win,” Reiter said. “If my body feels strong, and I ride to my ability, I don’t think that winning is out of the question.”
Reiter is hoping for a solid finish in the World Cup slalom. He said there are not a lot of early-season races to test riders this year. He and his American teammates will have to wait until Dec. 6 for the next race — a parallel giant slalom race set for Grenoble, France.
Reiter, Mueller win Snowboarding's Race to the Cup
February 9, 2008
Park City, UT - It was a victorious day Wednesday for U.S. men's snowboarders who swept the podium of a NorAm parallel slalom in extremely snowy conditions in U.S. Snowboarding's Race to the Cup Series at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. U.S. Snowboarding's Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs, CO) won the race followed by Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, CO) in second and Vic Wild (White Salmon, WA) in third.
"I feel pretty good. It was a great day out there. Park City Ski Team and the race department up there did a great job dealing with adverse conditions and putting on a good race," Reiter said. "It was a lot of fun to ride and the racing was good. The action was tight. It was great to see these guys who haven't qualified for World Cup yet duke it out and there were some knock down drag out rounds out there."
Reiter said that although it was a competition, it was also a welcome departure from his regular schedule.
"It was pretty relaxed. It was a nice break to come back from the World Cup tour and see all our friends from Canada and the U.S. and even some from Japan."
On the women's side, Erica Mueller (Steamboat Springs, CO) won with U.S. Snowboarding teammate Michelle Gorgone (Boston) in second. Karol Sztokfisz of Poland finished third.
"It was pretty good [to win]," Mueller said. "Actually, just the other day Justin and I were talking about how I haven't won a race in a couple of years and I said I really needed to do that again. I'd been on the podium but I hadn't won, so it was pretty cool to come out on top."
According to Mueller, while she anticipated the storm they had to compete in, with her experience in those conditions, she wasn't thrown off.
"I knew it was going to be soft but I'm used to that, being from Steamboat, and you just ride the ride and do what you have to do to get to the bottom without falling on your rear," Mueller said.
FIS SNOWBOARDING NORAM CUP
Race to the Cup
Park City Mountain Resort
Park City, UT - Feb. 6, 2008
1. Justin Reiter, Steamboat Springs, CO
2. Tyler Jewell, Steamboat Springs, CO
3. Vic Wild, White Salmon, WA
4. Masaki Shiba, Japan
5. Zachary Kay, Mount Shasta, CA
1. Erica Mueller, Steamboat Springs, CO
2. Michelle Gorgone, Boston
3. Karol Sztokfisz, Poland
4. Lilian Halme, Canada
5. Jessie Hazen, Denver
SUNDAY, JANUARY 20, 2008
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Juliann Fritz, email@example.com
Reiter Leads U.S. In WC
LA MOLINA, Spain (Jan. 20) - Justin Reiter (Steamboat Springs, CO) led U.S. riders Sunday as he finished eighth in a World Cup parallel slalom that featured riders from 19 nations.
The men's race was won by Rok Flander of Slovakia, followed by Benjamin Karl of Austria in second. Andreas Prommegger, also of Austria, finished third. Tyler Jewell (also Steamboat Springs), who finished third in Saturday's parallel giant slalom, finished 12th.
Michelle Gorgone (Boston) led U.S. women at 24th, followed by Erica Mueller (Steamboat Springs, CO) at 39th. Heidi Neururer of Austria won the women's competition. Nicolien Sauerbreij of the Netherlands finished second, followed by Austrian Claudia Riegler in third.
The FIS Snowboard World Cup continues Jan. 26-27 in Bardonecchia, Italy, with halfpipe.
2008 FIS SNOWBOARD WORLD CUP
La Molina, SPA - Jan. 19, 2008
Men's Parallel Slalom
1. Rok Flander, Slovakia
2. Benjamin Karl, Austria
3. Andreas Prommegger, Austria
4. Roland Haldi, Switzerland
5. Patrick Bussler, Germany
8. Justin Reiter, Steamboat Springs, CO
12. Tyler Jewell, Steamboat Springs, CO
Women's Parallel Slalom
1. Heidi Neururer, Austria
2. Nicolien Sauerbreij, Netherlands
3. Claudia Riegler, Austria
4. Ilona Ruotsalainen, Finland
5. Marion Kreiner, Austria
24. Michelle Gorgone, Boston
39. Erica Mueller, Steamboat Springs, CO