The young Austrian freestyler – slopestyle specialist and backcountry aficionado – is carving a unique path in the freeskiing world. Recently landed in the crows nest, his objective is simple – use his new wings to ski further and higher.
As a manager and trainer as well as a skier, Luca is tireless. In 2014 – having quit alpine racing for freeskiing following in the footsteps of his big brother – the young 17 year old finished fourteenth in the Olympic Games slopestyle and fourth in the X Games big air. The media whirlwind began to blow hard and with it came sponsors allowing him to pursue his passion. « The amount of exposure that the Olympics brought me really makes it the best event I’ve ever been lucky enough to participate in. The opening ceremony and the atmosphere were really incredible too. » Still active on the competitive front, notably on the FIS World Cup circuit and in several big events, Luca has decided to give the X Games a miss. «In my opinion commercial greed is causing the X Games to self-destruct. And as they never got in touch after my fourth place anyway, I’ve decided to forget about them».
Focusing on the FIS championships with the hope of qualifying again for the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, he is also looking at expanding his range of action. «My main aim is to qualify for the Olympics again, but I also want to get more into backcountry skiing as I love skiing powder more than anything. It’s hard seeing all the good snow back in Austria whilst being stuck somewhere in the world doing run after run in the park. » With this in mind, Luca made a successful launch into the world of webisodes. « I’ve been making my own videos since last season, and when I reached 1.1 million views in a year, that encouraged me to continue. Filming has also helped me find pleasure in skiing again, because in 2013 and 2014 I did nothing other than travel and endlessly repeat the same 5 tricks. It was tough, but I’ve decided to never put myself through that same kind of regime again. »
After a skateboarding fall which cost him his wrist last autumn, Luca hasn’t been able to train properly but has had to make do with just skiing to get back in the groove. Even so, he made the top 10 at the world cup slopestyle in Mammoth. « I had no expectations, but I think I was calm. Skiing backcountry for myself boosted my confidence because I had to push myself. It’s funny how this way of approaching skiing has been beneficial to me.» Although his friend Jon Olsson, the Swedish X Games multi-medal holder, has lavished him with invaluable advice, Luca is basically self-taught. His training is limited to sessions with mates in the resort of Koralpe, half an hour from his home town of Wolfsberg. « I train a lot when I am at home, but I’ve never had a coach. In fact, I never really thought of becoming a professional skier, I got enough pleasure just from skiing and learning new tricks. Back then this universe seemed totally inaccessible; I watched the videos with my brother and our mates, but never did I think that one day I would meet those guys and compare myself to them. I would have never believed that one day I would think of myself as a professional skier. »
Favourite skis: I use the venor in the park, the camox for everyday skiing and the anima in powder. The venor gives me the confidence I need for competitions. And if I had to chose just one ski, it would be the camox because it’s best suited to the skiing I love. Having said that, I haven’t tried the captis yet. It seems pretty sweet. I might change my mind…