Originally published in the November 2017 issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding, Luke Winkelmann’s interview is the fifth of eight conducted with up-and-coming riders over the course of a week in Aspen, Colorado in April 2017. Check out Red Gerard’s interview here!
Luke Winkelmann is original. He seems to draw inspiration from eclectic places, which is evident in multiple facets of the 16-year-old North Carolinian, from the way he dresses to the way he rides. His style could fit as well in a video part as it could in a contest run. If I were to predict a direction for Luke it would be more toward the former than the latter. However, seeing him continue down the competitive path would provide a refreshing aesthetic that contest snowboarding is in need of. At this point, he doesn't seem much concerned with decisions of that nature, instead content to let his riding do the talking. -- Taylor Boyd
Where are you from?
I'm from North Carolina. There are like three resorts that are about an hour away, and I live five minutes from a small one.
Is that where Austin Leonard's from?
Yeah, he was one of my super good homies. I used to ride with him a lot when I was younger, before he moved to Oregon. He rode my home resort.
Where do you live now?
I still live in North Carolina, but I live in Summit County, Colorado, for like three months in the winter. But for sure most of my time is spent in North Carolina.
How old are you now, and how old were you when you started snowboarding?
I'm 16 now, and I started snowboarding when I was five.
How did you learn to ride bigger stuff being from North Carolina?
Well, I just rode in North Carolina for a while, then when I started getting better, I started doing the USASA contests on the East Coast, so I'd travel to places like Pennsylvania and do those. When I started winning some of those, I started doing Rev Tours, then a bunch of other shit.
So you pretty much learned to hit larger features while traveling to compete?
Yeah, basically. Going to other places that had bigger jumps than back home gave me experience with that stuff.
Do you want to go to the Olympics?
I would like to try for it. Definitely not this one, but as far as the path goes, I'll probably try to go for the next one. But we'll see, I don't know. Competing is wild.
Do you like competing?
Yeah, I do a lot. I mostly like hanging out with all my friends who are also competing.
So are you going to high school in North Carolina?
Yeah, I'm doing online school.
Is it hard having a girlfriend when you travel so much and you're not in a normal high school?
It is. But I actually had a girlfriend last year. We used to go to school together.
[Mia Lambson interjects] What would you do to be able to date Jill Perkins? Anything?
Pretty much. Well, actually I am dating her so...
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Maybe an astronaut. No, I don't know. I'm sure I'll find my path though.
Who's your favorite snowboarder?
Right now, Nik Baden. Of all time, probably John Cardiel. I always watch his videos on YouTube. They're so sick. I saw all his old Thrasher shit and just started trying to find more snowboard clips from him.
Do you have a favorite trick?
Favorite trick to would probably be a front one, stalled out with a tail grab. My favorite trick to watch is a back rodeo 7 with a nosegrab. I can't do it, so I really like to watch it.
[Colin D. Watt interjects] You're the tallest one out of the crew. Being the tallest, you see that much more cleavage than everyone else.
Yeah, that's a good way to look at it.