Luke Nelson

Age: 31, Skiing since: 2005, Hometown: Pocatello, ID, Favorite product: STRATOS EVO


Who introduced you to skimo? Who are your influences?

I don't think there was a single individual, rather an evolution of influences and people that I really look up to. Stephen Koch and Mark Newcomb are two that come to mind. I don't know either personally, but they portrayed exploring the mountains and pushing boundaries in a way that was and is very appealing to me. Nowadays I am constantly inspired by ski mountaineers I know. The short list- Jared Inouye, Andy and Jason Dorais, Brian Harder, Chris Kroger and Bryan Wickenhauser.

How old were you when you first became a professional athlete?

I had a short stint as a professional snowboarder when I was 18. Now I focus on endurance sports and am a professional ultra marathon and mountain runner, as well as I guess a ski mountaineer. That said I have always had a job outside of those sports in order to support my family, but I aspire to spend as little time possible at my "real" job and spend more time in the mountains.

What are some of your lifetime skiing/race goals?

I would love to continue Skimo racing at a competitive level long enough to see it in the Olympics. Until then my main goal is to spend as much time possible skiing, racing, and pushing myself to overcome preconceived notions of what is possible in the high country.

What is your proudest skiing accomplishment?

It is a tie between representing the USA at the World Ski Mountaineering Championships in Italy and every time I get to ski with my four year old daughter Brynlee.

Are you a skier for life? Was there a defining moment that made you realize this?

I love being in the mountains, skiing gets me there, so yes I am a lifer. I realize this everyday when my daydreams turn to being in the mountains on skis or running.

What do you enjoy most about skiing?

Freedom and Solitude. When you are in the mountains you can forget about the worries and difficulties of everyday life. Skiing requires you to be present, aware of conditions and weather. It is the place where you can find yourself. Not the self that has to work, worry and pay bills, but your true self. The self that enjoys life fully and is truly happy.

Describe your dream run:

Steep, deep (stable), untracked other than the skin track or boot pack, and enough exposure to bring everything into focus.

Top five favorite movies:

1- Better Off Dead 2- Solitaire 3- Deeper 4- Any human powered ski or snowboard movie 5- Whichever cartoon my daughters are watching. that i can watch with them.

What do you do to train for races?

I run all summer, nearly everyday and almost always in the mountains. I generally come into fall pretty fit. As the summer running races wind down I tend to spend more time on a pair of roller skis while the snow is still sparse. Once I can ski, I try to ski as much as possible. Due to my work schedule I spend a lot of time skiing by keeps things spicy!

Top five favorite books:

1- Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey 2- Cien Años de Soledad - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 3- Beyond the Mountain - Steve House 4- Hayduke Lives! - Edward Abbey 5- Mountains Beyond Mountains - Tracy Kidder

What’s the longest you’ve spent on a single skimo expedition?

I did a four day traverse of the Portneuf Range in Idaho several years ago, more recently I tend to do things in single pushes. The longest 20 hours.

Top five favorite musical groups:

1- Pearl Jam 2- The Offspring 3- Pennywise 4- Trampled by Turtles 5- Publish the Quest

What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled for a race?

5900 miles (Pocatello, ID to Claut, Italy

Top five favorite foods/meals:

1- Curry 2- Enchildas 3- Thai-Basil Pork 4- mashed potatoes and gravy (I am from Idaho) 5- Wendy's Single hamburger (with fries)

Briefly describe your most memorable moment while skiing:

Watching my daughter ski pow for the first time.

Are injuries a part of skiing? What’s your general mentality for handling injuries?

Generally not (knock on wood), I have been able to steer clear, but It is really tough to handle anytime something keeps you from what you love.

Top five hobbies when you’re not skiing:

1- Spending time with my family 2- Running 3- Climbing 4- Reading 5- Work

If you had to ski one mountain for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Anywhere in the Tetons