By David Rogers. January 20, 2020. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Every once in awhile, a superstar is born in — and out of — a local environment.
COVER IMAGE: Courtesy of Patrick Tracy/Red Bull Content Pool
That is surely the case with Blowing Rock’s now 19-year-old Luke Winklemann. He cut his snowboarding teeth, so to speak, on the slopes of Appalachian Ski Mountain as a mere toddler, fell in love with the sport, and honed his natural athleticism to become one of the top professional snowboarders in the world.
Young Winkelmann took home “Rookie of the Year” honors in 2019 at the Burton U.S. Open in Vail, Colorado. He was recognized by his snowboard-riding peers with the “MVP” award at the first annual Red Bull Recharged event at Mammoth Mountain, in California.
This past weekend, Winkelmann finished 6th in a large international field for the slopestyle competition at the Laax Open, in Switzerland. The 58 riders included athletes not just from the USA, but also Finland, Italy, Argentina, France, Great Britain, Norway, Belgium, Russia, Slovakia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, Austria, The Netherlands, and South Africa.
The USA team placed seven riders in the top 12 spots of the competition. Winkelmann was the third-highest American, behind teammates Red Gerard (2nd) and Justus Henkes (3rd). Sebastian Toutant of Canada won the event.
Next up for Winkelmann is sure to be the Burton U.S. Open, February 26-29, hosted again in Vail, Colorado.
Last month, we caught up with Winkelmann in Atlanta where he competed in the Visa Big Air competition at SunTrust Park (December 20-21). You can revisit that interview and pics of the venue by clicking HERE.
For now, check out the short video below, profiling Winkelmann and his North Carolina roots, including “flashbacks” to when he was just seven years old and his affection for App Ski Mountain and Blowing Rock.