Interview & photos by Jeff Schmuck
How’s summer going?
Summer is going great Jeff, and I appreciate you asking. It’s just full of all that golden light of warmth, reverence, naturalness, beauty, shredding, enjoying the livelihood of your friends in an evening environment and all of the above and equivilating, if that’s even a word, to something that’s truly sensational that’s difficult to capture in words by even the most cunning of souls.
Did you just say all those big words because you think it’ll be funny for me to try to type them out?
Luke with camper Charlie Owens and a visably distraught Joe Schuster
(laughs). How’s Camp of Champions going?
It’s really good. It’s a top-notch park and the best summer park around, no doubt about it. And things are heating up daily so it’s been a great summer.
Luke telling everyone how it's done at COC
You’ve been coming here for many years now.
I sure have. This is my fifth summer up here and I love it more and more every year. I love the camp atmosphere and it’s really freeing. And unlike most coaches, here at Camp of Champs if a kid wants to learn something I personally, along with most of the coaches here, always do that trick before the campers do. So I’ve been called out a lot this summer on nollie front flips and things I haven’t done in a long time like misty 7’s and whatnot. And best of all I’ve gotten to ski like crazy, which has been awesome.
Schuster and Luke coaching/snowballing Charlie on the backflip jump.
You came here a little late because you’ve got a new gig on the go doing some announcing down at the summer Dew Tour correct?
Yes sir. I’ve been brought on to the Dew Tour for five stops of summer and fall skateboarding, BMX, motorcross and I’m hoping to bridge the gap into the winter stops taking place next season as well.
As most everyone knows, you’re now one of the most well-known announcers in the business next to Uncle E, but how does it feel to go to the summer side of things where you’re obviously not as in tune with the sports and athletes as you are with skiing? Was it more challenging?
You know I thought it would be, because to be honest I really don’t know anything about skateboarding, BMX or motorcrossing because I don’t do any of those sports. But Sean Poser who runs Boombox Group, who does the live event production for the Dew Tour, plugged me into a perfect position. I’m just kind of the go-to-guy who bros down with the athletes but I don’t have to be like, their bro. The questions I ask them are pretty general, and being involved in action sports as much as I have I obviously know what’s good and what’s not. I’ve seen enough Summer X-Games and I know what gets me excited and I can transition that excitement into an interview, and I think for the most part they like what I do. I was welcomed with open arms by all the athletes when I got there because although I was the total noob I didn’t pretend to know anything that I didn’t and I didn’t try to walk on any thin ice. I just came in as I am, bandana on, VZ shades…say somethin. And they all responded really well so it’s been going great and I’m really, really enjoying it.
Luke loves backflips more than most people love their kids. Backflip #1: Candide Invitational
So since you’ve begun announcing you’ve obviously taken a step back from the actual skiing side of things. Are you happy with that decision? Do you miss having to just ski?
I don’t miss my old competitive skiing lifestyle, and I wrote it all down on lukevanvalin.com as why to that wasn’t for me, but announcing really is my thing. And I actually got a ton of skiing in this year. I had shoulder surgery so I couldn’t ski super hard but when I went to Europe for the Candide Invitational and Jon Olsson Super Sessions I got so much shredding in. And it was perfect for me, because I get to do something that’s super easy for me and that I enjoy.
Backflip #2: Jon Olsson Super Sessions
Plans for next season?
Same program. My schedule is going to be super full with all the announcing gigs I have rolling in and I’m kind of going to be picking and choosing which ones I want to do. So full schedule with that and basically every week I’ll be somewhere else doing something, but know now that you’re going to see me at every park competition environment testing the soil, getting out there and throwin it down.
Say somethin to all the kids out there.
Keep it real. Follow your dreams. Don’t do drugs.