Luke Winkelmann is one of the best young pro snowboarders in the world, which is something you might not expect from a native of the Tar Heel State, or any place in the southeast for that matter.

The 20-year-old a freestyle snowboarder is a U.S. Snowboard Team member from Blowing Rock, who has made a name for himself as one of the most stylish riders in the world.

Luke Winklemann

Luke Winkelmann poses for a portrait at Red Bull Rail Report in Banner Elk, on Feb. 19.

A North Carolina native through and through, Winkelman learned how to snowboard and hone his skills on Appalachian Ski Mountain, and now he’s one of the best young talents in the sport.

Without the big mountains of Colorado or Utah that many of his peers grew up on, Winkelman’s style developed riding rails and other features on his home mountain, forcing him to do more with less and pushing the boundaries of his own creativity.

Luke Winkelmann in Banner Elk

Luke Winkelmann backside wall ride at the Keyhole feature at Red Bull Rail Report in Banner Elk, on Feb. 19.

That creativity is what propelled Luke when he visited Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, less than 20 miles from his hometown, to ride the campus itself. It was a celebration of his North Carolina roots and the style embedded in him by growing up and perfecting his skills on NC’s feature-filled landscape.

Luke Winkelmann

Luke Winkelmann performs a half cab 5-O backside 180 out at Red Bull Rail Report in Banner Elk, on Feb. 19, 2021.

The entire campus was fair game for Winkelman and his friends, fellow pros Judd Henkes and Alex Caccamo. With assistance of Appalachian Ski Mtn. to gather snow, the crew proved that you don’t need to travel far for the perfect session.

The Rail Report project celebrates Luke Winkelmann's North Carolina roots as he puts snowboarding on display at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, NC. An unlikely place to ride in it's own right, Luke, Judd Henkes and Alex Caccamo pushed the boundaries of their own creativity without the big mountains out west. Check out the result as the crew manifested the ultimate snowboard session on NC's feature-filled landscape.


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Winkelman was stoked to be able to finally ride the campus rails. “There were spots everywhere on campus. Dream spots all over the place. Being able to drive 20 minutes from my house to hit these rails is pretty sick,” he said.

Luke Winkelmann at Lees-McRae College

Luke Winkelmann snowboards a rail to wall feature at Red Bull Rail Report in Banner Elk, on Feb. 21.

Winkelman has shown that North Carolina can create stars in more sports than just basketball, and with his crew proved that a little bit of snow can go a long way.

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