January Athlete of the Month: Matthieu Côté
NYSEF is proud to recognize exemplary athletes for their achievements on and off the hill through the new Athlete of the Month program.
Athletes throughout the club will be highlighted for their accomplishments including community service, sportsmanship, academic & extracurricular achievement and athletic performance. Athletes of the Month will be featured in the Lake Placid News.
Matthieu (Matt) Côté is a junior at Northwood School in Lake Placid, and competes in alpine ski racing with the Northwood/ NYSEF squad.
A relative newcomer to alpine ski racing, Matt was a competitive ice hockey player for most of his life. At age 12, Matt expressed his first interest in alpine racing, and ran his first GS gates under the watchful eye of NYSEF U14 coach Jimbo Johnston late one March. “He was raw, but Matt showed some promise,” reports Johnston. “I called his parents up and said, ‘Sure. He should give it a try.’” Côté hung up the ice skates and applied himself, traveling to Mt. Hood the following summer to gain more on-snow experience. He nabbed 5th place at State Championships in the GS the following March, and was off and running.
Since joining the Northwood Skiing program, Matthieu has traveled and competed across the globe, recently taking part in team training camps in New Zealand and Kåbdalis, Sweden. Last March, Côté nabbed 4th place in the GS at the U16 National Championships in Snowbird, UT, winning the second run. This season, Matthieu picked up right where he left off. In mid December, Côté took his first FIS race victory in a GS held at Stratton Mountain amidst challenging conditions. Earlier this January, Matt qualified to attend the USSA National Performance Series at Waterville Valley, NH along with the other 39 fastest junior ski racers in the U.S., an invitation he earned via his performance at last year’s U16 National Championships.
On Côté's work ethic, Northwood Program Director JP Daigneault notes, “Matthieu contributes a sense of "can-do" on campus and leads by example within our team. He isn't loud or boastful. When you work with Matt, you just get the feeling that he gets it; he gets that the solutions will come from within and not from an external source.” Also a strong student at Northwood, Côté was recently named to both their first semester High Honor Roll and Effort Honor Roll.
For this racing season, Côté has set concrete goals for himself: “My major technique goal for this season is to utilize the front of my ski more to become faster. By doing this, I hope to qualify for U19 Nationals and to perform to my very best while there,” writes Matthieu. “This is my first season as a FIS athlete, so my ultimate goal is to lower my points."
"One of my favorite NYSEF memories has got to be from my first year racing and heading off to States,” writes Matt. “Hanging out with friends and having so much fun at those races—I met so many new people that year and those friendships are still going strong today. All those snowball fights outside the hotel, the fun dinner conversations and the great stories, they reminded me of my old hockey life. I miss hockey, but being able to skate has helped me to ski fast.”
To up and coming NYSEF athletes, Matthieu suggests learning to embrace failure: “Failure is such an important part of ski racing. When we fail, we learn to improve,” notes Matthieu. “To my younger NYSEF teammates: keep working hard, even when times get tough. Don’t forget—always enjoy your skiing—don’t let it become a chore.”
Congratulations Matthieu, and best of luck this season!