Luke Winkelmann

Blowing Rock native Luke Winkelmann gets some air while snowboarding in 2018.

ASPEN, Colo. – A month after turning 19, Blowing Rock’s Luke Winkelmann seeks to grow his reputation in the snowboarding world as he takes part in the Winter X Games Jan. 23-26 in Aspen, Colo.

According to the X Games website, Winkelmann is one of 19 athletes who will participate in men’s snowboard slopestyle, which is an invitation-only event. Elimination rounds take place Thursday, Jan. 23, followed by the finals on Saturday, Jan. 25.

The X Games is an annual extreme sports competition hosted and broadcasted by ESPN. Summer and winter versions of the event are held all over the world. The annual American version of Winter X Games is in its 24th year in 2020.

Winkelmann, who is billed as “North Carolina’s new snowboarding phenom” by his team Red Bull, grew up going to Appalachian Ski Mtn. just north of Blowing Rock, calling it his home mountain.

Snowboard slopestyle is a freestyle event where competitors travel down a mountain filled with terrain park features such as jumps, rails and more. The competitors are judged for their height on jumps, difficulty of tricks, execution of moves and for their variety of moves.

The 2019 campaign was a successful one for Winkelmann, who won multiple 2019 Nor-Am circuit events and the rider-voted MVP award at the Red Bull Recharged event in May 2019. Winkelmann was also named Rookie of the Year at the February 2019 Burton U.S. Open after finishing fourth in the snowboarding slopestyle finals.

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