Luke – tell us a bit about your ski background, bringing us up to current…
I grew up skiing at a few small resorts in Ohio: Boston Mills, Brandywine, and Alpine Valley. When I was about 7 years old, my parents bought a ski condo at Holiday Valley, NY. I joined the mogul team, but that was short lived. I disliked the structure of the team and I just wanted to have fun and catch air. I joined the freeride team instead and decided to set my mind on becoming a park skier. I skied park consistently and competed in slopestyle and rail jam events until I moved to Colorado when I was 16. I was quick to join the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC) and started to compete in IFSA big mountain competitions. I am currently a junior at the University of Denver and I still compete in IFSA events with the DU Freeride team. Although I have competed for most of my life, I do not consider myself a competition skier. Most days I spend on the mountain are super chill. I try to jib around and find new hits as much as possible.
When did Folsom fall onto your radar, and what influenced you to reach out?
I knew about Folsom right as I moved to CO because one of my teachers in high school had a pair of Folsom Skis. Around the same time, I skied for K2 skis, but the company did a poor job supporting me. Frustrated with the quality of K2 skis and the company, I decided to reach out to Folsom. Folsom was the first company I hit up. I always wanted to ride a pair of custom skis and potentially make my own graphics. Also, I was looking for a more local company, so I figured Folsom would be a good fit. I got in touch with Folsom through my other sponsor, ZipFit Liners.
Creativity and unique style seem to be staples not only in your skiing but in your overall approach to life. Where does this come from?
I have always been interested in art. I started doodling and sketching in kindergarten and haven’t stopped since. I have always loved bright colors and crazy patterns and often incorporate both into my art. Besides art, the biggest influence for my style has been watching edits from pros like B&E, the BUNCH, Candide Thovex, KeeshLife, etc. Every aspect from these videos including the outerwear, music, and editing has influenced my skiing in some way. I dedicate a large portion of my style to my childhood ski coach Colton Wright. Colt showed me that style, instead of technical ability, is the most important part of any skier. Colt always encouraged me to have fun and take a more laid-back approach to skiing. To this day, I would consider myself a pretty laid-back skier. I try to have as much fun as possible while on the mountain, constantly looking for side-hits and butter pads.
Favorite place to ski and why?
I feel the most comfortable skiing in the Aspen area, specifically at Ajax. Compared to any front-range CO ski resorts, Aspen has better snow and fewer people, not to mention that the terrain is much more exciting. I love Ajax because you can take quick laps and navigate from one side of the mountain to the other with ease. Ajax has the best spots to build jumps and the ski patrollers usually don’t mind. Also, there are plenty of side-country zones that I love to explore off Ajax.
Touring or resort?
I love touring but I do a lot more resort riding. I find it is easier to progress within the boundaries of the mountain, especially when trying new tricks. The repetition of resort riding helps build up my confidence and make me feel comfortable on my skis.
Let’s talk Folsom Skis – what’s the go-to ski you’re pulling off the shelf for a bell-to-bell resort day?
If I don’t know what ski to use, I always grab my Primary 110*. The Primary 110 is by far my favorite ski and the most versatile ski in my quiver. Right now, I’m riding on a Primary 110 with a full rocker profile (SRC – shallow reverse camber). I love this ski because it can charge through just about anything, but when I want to make quick turns, the rocker makes it easy. The Primary 110 is easy to jib, but also insanely stable when turning.
How has your art opened doors with Folsom and their customization ability?
The ability to upload my own designs and see them come to life on my skis is amazing. It has always been a dream of mine to turn my art into ski graphics. Working with Folsom has allowed me to get my foot in the door with ski graphic design and make a few graphics for myself. I am hoping to continue improving my graphic design skills and produce more graphics in the future.
You’ve scored a few SOLID results including a first place last year, but aren’t necessarily following the 2 or 4* tours full on… What’s your view on freeride comp skiing?
Competing in Freeride events is a way for me to get out and ski new resorts and meet new people. I compete with the DU Freeride Team and try to do as many comps as I can each year. This year, my school schedule got in the way, and I couldn’t compete as much as I would have liked. When I compete, I look for the line that will be the most fun to ski. I would rather enjoy the experience and ski a creative line than stress about getting a good result and end up scaring myself on an extremely gnarly air. I always have a great time traveling with my team and competing, it’s just not my main focus.
Plans for the rest of the season?
Now that the Aspen resorts are closed, I will keep skiing through June in the front range. I plan on many days at Abasin and on Loveland pass. I hope to make a small video documenting my springtime jump builds on Loveland pass.
*Note: the Primary 110 Luke referenced was recently rebranded to the Giver, bringing back Folsom’s original long radius big mountain crusher ski. The Primary 110 was redesigned in February 2023. Follow Luke’s skiing via his Instagram, @kookluke__.