Local Snowboarder Hosting National Competition at App Ski Mountain

Blowing Rock native Luke Winkelmann will be hosting a “rail jam” this weekend at App Ski Mountain, just minutes down the road from the home he was born and raised in.

BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — High Country native Luke Winkelmann first took up snowboarding 16 years ago at the age of five.

“They couldn’t get me off the mountain,” Winkelmann recalls.

Now, he’s representing Team U.S.A. on the slopes worldwide.

“I got my first couple of podiums on the World Cup stage last year, so that’s definitely a moment I’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

Already one of the best boarders born this side of the millennium, it would be easy to get a swelled head. But Luke, known as “Wink” by his friends, is remarkably humble.

“I’m so blessed to be on the U.S. team and getting to represent our country for snowboarding is pretty strange but it’s really rad and I’m honored.”

And now, he’s giving back to the community. Luke will be hosting a “rail jam” competition this weekend at App Ski Mountain, just minutes down the road from the home he was born and raised in.

“Around 24 pro riders coming into North Carolina for this rail jam, which has never been heard of or seen of here, so that’s going to be pretty special. Definitely a culture shock to them and to our locals here.”

“Of course I want to put North Carolina on the map. But I want to really just show people what we have here, you know? It’s not just the place, it’s the community, you know?”

He’s looking to inspire the next generation of riders, no matter where they’re from.

“That’s a big thing of bringing all these pro riders here, for the kids here to see those dudes snowboard and girls snowboard, just feel that energy around it, that would be special for them I think.”

“It’s insane. There’s so much love here and I’m so happy for that.”