Luke Winters scores top-10 finishes in the Super G and Downhill races in Switzerland

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Luke Winters, 2, earned the bronze medal in the Super G race. Gresham's Luke Winters earned a bronze medal in the Super G at the Alpine Junior Ski World Championships earlier this month in Davos, Switzerland.

Winters was the second skier down the course, using an aggressive start to post a time of 1:08.50 that would keep him in the podium box throughout the competition.

"I knew it was a solid run," Winters said. "There's a pretty sharp piece of terrain in the top quarter of the course that was taking people out, but I was able to carry my speed through that section."

In fact, that early section of the hill crashed nine of the first 15 skiers out of the gate — by the end of the day more than 30 skiers didn't find the finish line.

"If you are watching from the top and you start seeing people going down it gets in your head," Winters said. "That's when I figured my time could hold up."

Still, securing a medal was no easy task.

Two skiers later, Team USA teammate River Radamus clipped him by 0.03 hundredths to move to the top of the leader board, and several skiers later it was Marco Odermatt of Switzerland putting up what would be the gold-medal time of 1:07.59.

Winters found himself in bronze medal position with more than 80 skiers still waiting to come down the mountain.

"Waiting for everyone to come down, there were a couple of close calls, but it was a cool experience sitting there in the leader's box," Winters said.

He also placed ninth in the downhill and was 22nd in the combined.

"It was definitely the biggest event of my career — it's basically the Olympics for 21-and-under — all of the best guys in the world are there."

Making the experience better was the fact that his parents John and Marcie made the trip across the ocean to watch him compete in his first and only Junior World Championships. Winters ages out at the end of this season and expects to move up to compete on the EuroCup circuit next year.

Winters is sixth in the Nor-Am Cup standings this season — a circuit that covers the United States and Canada. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament two seasons ago and is happy to be back racing at full speed.

"Results have come slow, but things are looking up," he said.

Winters attended West Orient Middle School and spent two years at Barlow High before leaving for the Sugar Bowl Ski Academy in California.

"I've been fortunate to be at these top academies ski racing all year around," Winters said.

This story appears in our Friday, Feb. 23, print edition.

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