Justin Reiter

Justin Reiter: A Journey with Yeti Cycles

Justin Reiter: A Journey with Yeti Cycles

Since 2013, I have had the immense privilege of serving as a brand ambassador for Yeti Cycles. This partnership has enriched my life in countless ways, intertwining my passion for snowboarding, the outdoors, and mountain biking in a unique and fulfilling synergy. As an Olympic snowboarding athlete, I found in Yeti Cycles not just a brand partner, but a companion on my journey, supporting and nurturing my athletic endeavors. Here’s a glimpse into how my relationship with Yeti developed and expanded, how much I value the brand, and the connections we have created through our collaboration. 

Discovering Yeti Cycles: A Perfect Match

I swung my leg over my first Yeti in 2011. My first bike after a ten-year hiatus from riding was a Yeti ASR5C. It blew my mind, and it was love at first ride. My initial attraction to Yeti Cycles was sparked by their stellar reputation and deep Colorado roots. Spending significant time training in Utah and Colorado, I felt an immediate resonance with Yeti’s local heritage. Their bikes, known for innovation and diversity, perfectly complemented my needs as an athlete seeking performance, reliability, and adventure. Yeti’s support became invaluable Leading up to the 2014 Olympics. My mountain bike was more than just a piece of equipment; it became my escape, a ticket to freedom and creativity amidst a rigorous and stressful training schedule. Hitting the trails on my Yeti offered a much-needed release and a way to clear my mind after hours in the gym. 

My background: The Student Becomes The Teacher

I started snowboarding when I was nine after seeing a snowboarder carve a poetic line out of the trees at Copper Mountain. I was hooked before I even knew what it was. From that moment, snowboarding became my way of life. From my first comps in half-pipe and racing, I felt the pull of the mountains and to be my best. When snowboarding became an Olympic discipline, I knew I would one day represent Team USA in the Winter Olympics and on the World Cup stage. Like most athletic journeys, the path was unorthodox, riddled with setbacks and injuries. Broken bones and broken dreams led to missing the Team in 2006 and 2010—far more losses and lessons than victories and champagne. However, looking back now after my career and retiring in 2017, I realize that the knowledge I now carry and implement coaching with Red Bull and Elite Athletes was founded on those mistakes. It was the failed attempts and imperfections that taught me so much more—and allowed me to now help my athletes to avoid pitfalls, gutters, mistakes, and hiccups. Fear is our greatest ally. When we understand it.  

Life on the Road: The Truck, The Bike, and The Dream

In the lead-up to the Olympics, I embraced a nomadic lifestyle, living out of the back of my truck in order to save money for competitions and travel on the World Cup circuit.  This period of my life was marked by the beauty of the open road, the raw effort of training my heart out, and the simplicity of living with just the essentials. My Yeti was my daily escape from the effort, grueling monotony, and often overwhelming pressure of the Olympic qualification process. Each ride was a micro adventure, a journey into the unknown, where I could find solace and inspiration despite having to monitor my heart rates and lactate levels like a hawk. The back of my truck wasn’t just a place to sleep; it was a gateway to the trails and a testament to the dedication and passion that drove me forward, and next to me every night while I slept was my Yeti.

Yeti Cycles: More Than a Brand, a Community

Yeti Cycles, to me, is more than just a brand; it’s a vibrant community. The worldwide network of Yeti riders opened my eyes to new possibilities all over the globe.  Connecting with Francesco in Finale, Italy, watching Joey do work on the Colorado Trail, and joining Lunch Rides with Yeti employees PJ and Dacre to better understand the engineering behind the steeds has expanded my knowledge and passion for riding. The corporate team at Yeti breaks the mold of traditional business dynamics; they truly feel like a family. This sense of belonging and mutual support has been a cornerstone of our relationship, making every ride, event, and project feel like a shared journey. 

Adventures and Memories: The Heart of Our Collaboration

One of the most memorable aspects of my journey with Yeti has been our collaborative projects. I had the opportunity to embark on bikepacking adventures, traversing the Colorado Trail and the San Juan mountains. These trips initially centered around creating content and ultimately fostered friendships and unforgettable memories. Whether we are riding our bikes for fitness, progression, or challenge, it is in the end, the memories that we create that we end up cherishing the most. The bike becomes the vehicle for that mindset of exploration and camaraderie. 

The 14’er Project: A Dumb Idea, Shouldering My Bike and Mind out of a Hole

A highlight of my partnership with Yeti was being the first mountain biker to ride all of Colorado’s legal-to-ride 14,000-foot peaks. The 14’er project was born out of a dark place.  Following my most successful season on the World Cup in 2015 I suddenly found myself lacking purpose and drive. I would have thought finishing 3rd overall in the world, winning my first World Cup, and achieving new levels on the FIS World Cup Tour would have filled my cup. Instead I was empty, and spiraling into depression. Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest 14’er presented the first literal and metaphorical high point out of a hole. From that first summit to the final sixteenth summit the project was both exhilarating and demanding, requiring a blend of innovation, creativity, and discipline in route planning, preparation, and execution. Yeti’s support was instrumental in overcoming these challenges and achieving this milestone, allowing me to climb to new heights physically and mentally. 

Transitioning from Athlete to Coach: New Perspectives, New Roles

Since retiring from professional snowboarding in 2017, I have transitioned into a coaching role, working with Red Bull and Ester Ledecka, the remarkable Czech athlete who excels in both skiing and snowboarding. Coaching has allowed me to continue my journey of understanding and supporting driven individuals. This experience has also enhanced my role with Yeti Cycles, as I connect with everyday riders and challenge myself to keep progressing. It provides me with key insights into skill acquisition and maintaining a beginner’s mindset. 

Future Adventures with Yeti: The Gathering, SALIDA, CO

Currently, I am looking forward to the upcoming Gathering in Salida, CO. I haven’t explored Salida much and am beyond stoked to get out there and explore it with 300 of my closest Turquoise Blooded friends. Salida has a fantastic reputation of smooth single track, tech gnar, and a town centered around welcoming river culture. Also, you best be sure, the best not-kept secret “Backcountry Speakeasy” will be slanging tasty bevies. Be sure to swing by!  

Just the Beginning: A Journey of Mutual Growth and Adventure

My relationship with Yeti Cycles has been a journey of mutual growth, adventure, and profound connection. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities and experiences that Yeti has provided, and I look forward to many more years of riding, exploring, and creating memories together. 

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