DENVER — There's one word that came immediately to mind for both Boulder bronze medalist Alex Deibold and his girlfriend when he arrived home from the Sochi Olympics on Monday night: "surreal."

There were a couple more that came to mind as he stood in Denver International Airport, shaking hands with well-wishers along with a fellow Boulder Olympian, half pipe skier Lyman Currier.

"Awesome" and "incredible" were common.

"My Olympic experience was incredible," Deibold said. "Everything about Sochi was incredible. The weather was good except the one day I had to compete, it rained and snowed.

"Just an incredible experience all around."

Boulder snowboarder Alex Deibold shows off the bronze medal he won in the Sochi Olympics upon his arrival home Monday at Denver International Airport.
Boulder snowboarder Alex Deibold shows off the bronze medal he won in the Sochi Olympics upon his arrival home Monday at Denver International Airport. (Jeremy Papasso / Daily Camera)

Deibold earned his hardware as an underdog in the crash-heavy snowboardcross event. His girlfriend, Ashley Berger, a former snowboarding coach, was there to see it.

"Surreal," she said. "It hasn't really sunk in. It's amazing. Just getting to the Olympics is so amazing. The rest has been icing on the cake."

After 31 hours of travel, which included a welcome party during a transfer in Chicago, a photo opp in a United Airlines cockpit and plenty of congratulations, Deibold is relieved to be home.

He also has no idea what comes next.

"I'm so excited to be back in Colorado," he said. "I'd like to go snowboarding and enjoy Colorado. I'm gonna roll with the punches and just enjoy the ride."

Part of his return to the States will be time spent in New York City for a press tour. Deibold said having won an Olympic medal and the attention that comes with it were overwhelming enough for him to reach out to friend and two-time gold medalist Seth Wescott for advice.

Wescott told him, "Do everything."

For now, at least, that means heading home with Berger and seeing their dog.

Berger said she had planned to bring the dog to the airport, but there wouldn't have been room in the car with all of Deibold's luggage — he brought eight snowboards to Sochi.

"I'm so excited to have Alex back home," she said. "It's awesome to see Alex found that sort of success. He's put in so much work and so many hours."

Of course, what everyone wants to know is how it feels to win an Olympic medal.

"Just relief that the hard work and effort paid off," Deibold said.