The 2015 season was a storybook for Reiter who won a World Cup in Moscow and finished third in the parallel World Cup standings. (FIS Snowboarding)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Olympic snowboarder Justin Reiter, a 10-time national champion and World Cup winner, is closing the chapter as one of America’s most successful parallel snowboarding athletes. Reiter is retiring as an athlete but plans to continue his passionate engagement with the sport as a coach.
“This was a hard decision as the 2018 Olympic season is finally here,” said Reiter. “But in the end, I just no longer felt the same fire in my heart as I used to. To be the best you have to give your best. I could no longer continue to commit all that I am to the sport I love so much.”
Reiter, who competed in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, wrapped up his career as an athlete with an even 100 World Cup starts, scoring four podium finishes. One of the highlights was a World Cup win under the lights in downtown Moscow in 2015 in front of thousands of spectators and a global television audience. He also won a silver medal in parallel slalom at the 2013 World Championships.
Reiter's win in Moscow was a storybook finish in a season where he finished third in the World Cup standings. (Vladimir Trifonov)
Reiter plans to keep riding, working with his present sponsors Steamboat Resort, Big Agnes, SG Snowboards, Yeti Cycles, Royal Enfield and General Tire as a lifestyle athlete as well as coaching. He’ll work alongside his own current coaches Erich Pramsohler and Thedo Remmelink working with Michael Trapp, currently the number one ranked American, NorAm Cup champion Robby Burns and Czech Republic athlete Ester Ledecká, a two-time World Champion.
“It has been a wild ride and everyone has added to the color of the memories I will carry with me,” said Reiter, who developed a reputation as one of the hardest working and most personable athletes on the tour. “I offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who has been a part of this chapter of my life - my parents, my coaches, my teammates and my friends.”
Reiter learned to ski before he was two in the mountains of Colorado around Summit County. He later switched over to snowboarding and grew to become one of the nation’s top alpine riders, coming out of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. After missing the Olympic team in 2010, he took a break from the sport but came back charging to make the 2014 Sochi team - the only American man to compete for Team USA in parallel slalom and giant slalom.
Reiter competes at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. (Getty Images)
The 2015 season was a storybook for Reiter. His win in Moscow was the first for an American in a decade. And he was in the hunt for the World Cup parallel overall title, eventually finishing third.
“All of us at the Center of Excellence have come to really respect Justin as an athlete and a person,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Snowboarding Director Jeremy Forster. “He’s a class act and it was fun to watch him have success in his sport at the World Cup and World Championship level. I’m sure he’ll approach the next phase of his career with the same passion.”
(2014 West Hollywood/NBC Olympic Promo Shoot - Mitchell Haaseth/NBC Olympics/USOC)
Reiter earned a reputation as a passionate, innovative athlete who found ways to make the best out of his sport despite lack of financial support. Sometimes it meant living in his truck in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains or leveraging his personality to attract personal sponsors. It meant long hours on the road, waxing his own boards. In the summertime, he would swap his boards for bikes, becoming the first person ever to ride all of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks.
His passion also took him to filing suit against the International Olympic Committee in 2016 seeking to save parallel slalom, which had been dropped from the Olympic program for PyeongChang.
But it was also a career that brought him countless memories that went well beyond charging out of a starting gate. During the 2015 season he took a break for an ambassadorial trip to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan where he helped teach kids to snowboard.
“Medals tarnish and trophies gather dust,” said Reiter philosophically. “The pain of certain defeats fade just as the joy from victories remembered lose their vibrancy. In the end, it truly is the about the journey within, the relationships and the growth that we all experience as athletes trying to be the best in the world at our chosen sport. I am thankful.”