"Lupe is part of a new generation of skiers that will have to make the freeski world pay attention. I do not see him doing that by winning the X-Games or the Olympics... but I do see a drive in Lupe where he wants people to pay attention. He has started to do so over the last year through his webisodes 'The Style Files' on Inspired and also making his own edits. He is also a hustler, because he went out and made Inspired Connecticut t-shirts on his own dollar and then when and sold them out of his trunk at ski hills to help make some extra cash.
So, why should the ski world pay attention to Lupe? We will find out soon enough if he continues to work as hard as he does. Work ethic and being a good person can get you a long way in life."
- Eric Iberg
Lupe Hagearty is a name slowly getting louder and louder in the freeski world. He is a skier who's come up from the east coast of the United States and is starting to dominate US wide and internet wide, joining Inspired Media and changing his own views on filming skiing and the release of ski films alongside the development of his own future in skiing. For a man who is starting to change some attitudes, he is one also that has changed his for the changing times. Growing up, Lupe Hagearty was not the most studious of people. He talks of struggling to pay attention in school, thinking of skiing or something more than a 4 walled room which we have all spent a major part of our lives in.
"Growing up I always struggled to focus or give my full attention towards anything I was participating in, especially school. It amazes me how freestyle skiing totally captivated me and it's become something I can't stop thinking about, even if I tried. When I ski, it's like my mind is in limbo. A part of me is so extremely focused, while the other half of my mind is not thinking at all."
On the subject of is further education, he puts the classroom as something he is not focused on. Pushing his education behind his career path, his new education is joining with legends of the freeski world and trying to differentiate his filming, his own skiing, different style, from the masses. He's put this in his own words as "trying to make something happen". His full attention is on the progression of his skiing, his style and his career within the ski world.
Lupe holds some of his success to the close community of skiers he grew into."I grew up in West Hartford CT." he says, "For an area not known for skiing, It has a pretty tight ski scene growing up. I was about 35 min away from a small mountain called Ski Sundown. That's where I got into park skiing. In high school I started skiing at Carinthia Mount Snow in Vermont a lot and that's for sure my home mountain and the illest spot on the east."
Growing up on the East Coast alongside the rise of modern park skiing, being close to some of the best parks on the eastern peninsula, has shaped the way his skiing comes out on screen today.
"What I love about the east coast is how you can get in your car and drive 2-3 hours to go ski so many different mountains or be in a different state."
The focus of his skiing incorporates many skills due to this: you'll see Lupe in the BC, the park and out in the streets.
"Unlike the West Coast where you can drive for 6 hours and be in the same state. The EC is also very unique because it is a tight knit community, you're always running into ski friends, no matter where you go. Tons of homies! The down sides to the east coast to me are a shorter season and lack of jumps. When I got to Summit County for the first time a few years back it all made sense how kids get so good jumping at Keystone or Breckenridge every day."
Although a true east coaster with ice running through his veins, he doesn't hold others success only due to their parks and conditions, he holds it to himself. While he comments on jumping feats and opportunity of others, his own aerial feats from an Eastern upbringing shows no difference against those of a similar stature from the West.
Last season, Lupe Hagearty was able to travel out west to Colorado early in the season to get laps down with some of freeskiing's biggest influences, like Tanner Hall.
Talking about this experience, he digresses into how his series on Inspired Media brought new heights into his blossoming career."Last November I was able to link up with T-Hall and Taylor Seaton in CO to hit some rails and film a couple park edits. Tanner put me in contact with Eric Iberg who was able to guide me in the process of putting together a web series under Inspired Media. I would say the whole process of filming for "Style Files" was unreal."
Lupe fortunately is a man who has a whole team ready behind him, pushing him to new heights.
"I got a ton of support from the 860 media crew and other homies on the East Coast to go out and hit a lot of street. Growing up with all these kids and skiing together I don't think any of us would have pictured this opportunity coming our way a few years back. It was pretty cool to represent such a dope company. We all work very efficiently together and have so much fun being in the streets. During December I was able to log shots at 14 spots during a 10 day urban binge. It was totally a crew effort and seeing the reaction of the first episode from the skiing community but more specifically the East Coast and Connecticut scene was really satisfying. I feel like it just motivated the crew and myself that much more."
Laying it down at home on the East shows how much attention he shows towards keeping a friendly and prosperous future for the east coast shred scene.
Not only does Lupe take from skiing, but looks unto inspiration from elsewhere where people ride wood on different surfaces and channeling artistry in style and in doing, such as brushwork or flow in skateboarding.
"I'm really stoked on the old school style of skate boarding. Skating bowls and pools keeping the Z-boys style in mind for sure. Those dudes are the illest. Surfing is also an incredible sport I would love to focus more of my time into that in the future."
"I enjoy reading, watching movies, drawing, painting, and listening to music"
However Lupe holds opinions of substance on the issue of skiing (and snowboarding) being shoved into a corner by the IOC and the FIS and whoever else dictates ruling, and though Lupe won't be at Seoul 2018 in Korea busting out triple dips, he speaks on hating the game rather than the player within the competitive side of our "sport".
"Our sport originated because people were sick of rules, being told what to do, or having boundaries set." he says, going onto character of enjoyment rather than outright disposition to competitive skiing we have seen some people adopt. "I have friends who are successful comp skiers and I am stoked for what they do because it is what they enjoy doing. Any film skier knows how tough it is to make money or support their lifestyle solely off of making edits or filming video parts. Unfortunately the easiest way to get paid and support through sponsors is competing and winning."
"I think as an industry and with this next generation there needs to be changes. Instead of criticizing comp skiers I feel like the whole system in general should be whats really being criticized. The "rules", how comps are judged, how sponsors choose to help athletes, etc. I think there are currently a lot of people involved with major decision making in our sport that really don't "know what's good". I think competing will always be a major part of our sport. It would be nice to see the next generation get involved with that side of things and keep it from going in an even more negative direction."
"There's always going to be a difference and people that don't necessarily represent our sport the way people think it should be portrayed. Being a film skier myself I hope we can create more outlets for film skiers to be successful. Its going to be interesting to see what happens with film skiing moving away from the traditional yearly movie. Our sport is still young and there is a lot of change going on in both sides of our sport. To say things are not split right now would be stupid. I think at the end of the day instead of sitting on a computer and bitching on NS, going out and doing what you want on your skis is the most important thing."
Photo: Evan Lai-Hipp
However, Lupe is looking to stay in the filming side of skiing rather than diverge into competitions for the future. On the subject he said: "I want to focus on filming lots of street and building unique features in the BC for the next few winters and to put out well rounded segments. Hitting urban definitely takes a toll on your body, I see myself moving towards shredding pow and surfing a ton as I get older"
Although not in the pursuit of the great western 9-5 office cubicle endeavour, he knows to pursue a physical boundary it must also be surpassed in the mind.
"I personally believe that to push the physical boundaries of the body and physics it takes a certain level of intelligence and creativity. To perform and be an originator at a high level of any sport there is a certain connection one must have between their body and mind."
"I think skiing like I said before is a balance between having a strong body and strong mind. Early in the season I usually struggle a little bit physically hiking mad rails and stuff. As the season progresses tho I must say I find my body gets to a place where it is used to the abuse or physical activity. The task is then trying to maintain my health and mentally keep pushing forward to stack shots and learn new tricks. The mental side of skiing is huge for me. Mindset is everything and I feel it is extremely important to envision yourself doing exactly what you want to do on skis in your mind. Balance and positivity goes a long way."
A final say on the matter shows his positive, half glass full view on skiing: "Balance with everything is key!"
Obviously as someone pursuing a career in skiing, Lupe is a man who's whole psyche involves sliding down snow on two planks of wood attached by a clippy metal jaw...
"Freeski culture is very much a part of my life. From the way I talk to the way I look at things. When I'm walking or driving anywhere I'm constantly scoping out urban features and just thinking to myself "how can I ski on that?" I have to say that I'm am influenced by Phil Casabon and Karl Fostvedt. Phil's style, I feel, is untouchable, his creativity and the way he approaches skiing is just on a whole other level as I'm sure most of you saw in his latest film "Keynote Skier". Karl influences me with his attitude on skiing and life. Also whether on his skis or not, he does everything he can with 100% effort. He is genuinely one of the nicest and most stoked dudes in our industry, he works harder then anyone I know. I admire hard work."
What go's around comes around, admiration in Lupe's ski career has become reality, as Eric Iberg insinuated.
Still speaking on inspiration he go's on to talk of every skiers plight. Their favourite segment...
"Picking a favorite segment would be really tough for me. There are so many classic segs and its really funny because I find what ever skiing I'm watching I'm just soooo stoked on it. I vividly remeber being heavily influenced by PBP, WAR... Specifically Sammy Carlson's part, I thought it was so cool he was still in high school and that's how they started out his segment. I also remember religiously watching Teddy Bear Crisis and just being in total awe of Tanner Hall."
However, gain doesn't come without pain or risk. although a humble character, everyone is bold at least some of the time. Although supposedly speaking on the scariest moment skiing, there will most likely be many more in store for a skier of his caliber, with a different story appearing on the Shred optics website... Too many near misses Lupe?
"A few years back I was shredding at Carinthia Mount Snow with Jeremie Veilleux during the spring on a warm, really warm day. I was sending this man made cliff on a trail called Nitro. I was tucking into it and sending it as far as I possibly could, long jump style. I landed on top of a mogul and tomahawked into the woods head over heels past a bunch of trees. To say the least I was extremely lucky."
However, maybe the scariest thing in skiing, like Lupe touched upon earlier, is the negativity in modern skiing, the constant degradation of learners, of our attitudes on our clothing, our styles, our skis, our involvement and the insecurity of many of us, trying to be "core" in our tribe.
"We have a young and small sport. Be nice to people on and off the mountain. Its easy to make a young kids day by just saying "what up" or "that was sick dude!" Keep negativity out of skiing, that's not what our sport's about. It's up to us, the skiers to create and move our sport in the right direction."
And as a final touch, Lupe "reveals" a secret. Although Lupe sounds new age and just like a modern name, his real name is Luke Hagearty.
"It's pronounced like Lupe Fiasco the rapper. But people sometime call me loop, loopy, pay, and others haha."
"I got the nickname at Waterville Academy Junior year of high school. I struggle with paying attention sometimes. It can be a positive and a negative. With things I enjoy or really want to do I put extreme focus into but if something is not of interest to me its easy to lose focus on it or find myself thinking about other things, that are totally off topic. I can be crazy at times haha..."
Although Lupe (or Luke) may not be on constant alert or paying attention to the diverse distractions we indulge in (like right now...), the freeski world will have to make sure they are putting enough aside to watch out for the rise of Lupe and everyone will have to at least give him a little attention.
Sponsors- Nordica Skis and Boots, Shred Optics, Digit Poles, Carinthia, The Studio, Suburbanskiandbike.com, Inspired Media.
(ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO PETER CIRILLI UNLESS LISTED)