STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs snowboarder Justin Reiter, a 2014 Winter Olympian, never really understood when other athletes described waking up one day to discover their competitive fire extinguished.
Reiter’s own fire has defined his career and his life. He tried to step away from the sport of alpine snowboarding once, after he was heartbroken at missing the 2010 Olympic team. The fire demanded he return to the sport, however, and he was back on snow a year later.
His desire to not just make it but to become the best snowboarder in the world reliably got him into bed early every night and out of it early every morning, even when that bed was in the back of his pickup truck as he tried to focus his finances and his training ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Then, this summer, the stories from those other athletes started to make sense.
It was a gradual process, Reiter said, a nagging feeling that lingered for perhaps two years, but this summer, he accepted it suddenly.
The fire’s out.
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After a long career competing in alpine snowboarding events around the globe, Reiter announced Wednesday he’s retiring from the sport.
“I tried to re-motivate, to relight the fire,” he said. “No matter what I did, though, I would wake up, and I didn’t feel it. I was still pushing hard, training as hard or harder than I ever have, but it wasn’t resonating the way it once did.”
He doesn’t plan to disconnect from the sport. Instead, he’ll dive in a different way, coaching a small team of friends as they pursue their own Olympic dreams.
Realizing a dream
Reiter, raised in the mountains around Lake Tahoe in California, moved…
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