It's an accomplishment she has yet to fully digest.
"I still go through the moments where I can't believe that this has actually happened and I came home with a gold medal," she said Tuesday.
The last three weeks have been a whirlwind for the 19-year-old Howell, who came through with a tremendous run at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the victory. Kim Lamarre of Quebec City won bronze and joined her on the podium.
Howell was recently feted in her hometown of Huntsville, Ont., and the media requests and interviews are still keeping her busy.
"I was definitely overwhelmed with the amount of people that came out," she said during a media swing through the Ontario capital. "I knew that Huntsville supported me from the get-go but coming in the other day to the party and seeing how many people were actually there and so excited for me was just crazy."
In slopestyle, athletes try to wow the judges with tricks and moves off the jumps and rails. The degree of difficulty, style and execution are also factors.
Howell won gold with a score of 94.20 in conditions that started off icy and fast but became slow and slushy as the day progressed. She nailed an off-axis full twisting flip — the switch misty mute 9 jump — to help put some distance between her competitors.
"Coming away with a gold medal I think just (in) itself has made me grow up a little bit," she said. "I went there just wanting to do my best and coming down and landing the run that I wanted to do was in my books the most important thing.
"For me to actually do that just kind of surprised myself a little bit. It just showed me that hard work does pay off and everything happens for a reason."
Howell broke out in the 2012-13 World Cup season when she moved from 14th to third in the slopestyle standings. She won silver at last year's world championships and rose to second on the World Cup circuit this past season.
Her future is bright and there could be more fame, sponsorships and opportunities to come. She plans to take it all in stride.
"I think all the things that do come up are just going to help me become a better athlete," she said. "Hopefully I can just run with it and see where my future takes me."
For now, Howell is ready to enjoy some downtime after a hectic season. She has her eye on the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea but wants to be sure to enjoy the full four-year cycle.
"I'm only 19. This is my first Olympics and I feel like there's so much in between that I want to do, so many more opportunities with X Games and that stuff," she said. "But coming back in four years is already in my mind and I know my coaches are definitely going to push for it too.
"But there is so much in between that I want to do and (I'll) see where it all takes me."
Howell is already excited about getting back on the slopes. She's planning a little spring skiing to get back in the groove.
"Hopefully I'll figure out what tricks I want to learn next and just set a goal and run with it," she said.
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