[Editor's Note: Welcome to our interview series for '18-19. We have a great line up of pros and up-and-comers and these are going to be coming at you every Tuesday. Enjoy and please let us know what you think. - Twig]
Cover Photo: Martin Axell
Whether it’s winning Superunknown in 2012 or changing the game with The Bunch, LSM is known for his unique and creative style. Most people with more than a passing interest in freeskiing will know who LSM is, even if they struggle with the pronunciation of Lucas Stål-Madison. But how did a kid that grew up in the suburbs of Stockholm develop such a unique style when he straps on a pair of skis? I sat down with Lucas to find out.
“When you don’t have that much to play with, you have to get creative.”
Growing up just outside the Swedish capital of Stockholm, Lucas was not blessed with a massive mountain to explore and hone his skills on. He started skiing young though and started racing and then freeskiing at his local hill, Flottsbro. He was sure to get everything he could out of his limited resources:
“You just ski the same thing over and over and you’ll find new ways to do it and get playful. It’s the same with dry or indoor slopes in England or anywhere without a good natural skiing environment.”
He's found his way to some perfect skiing environments now. Photo: Martin Axell
“One of the first ski-movies I saw and that really got me into skiing more was ‘Long Story Short’ from Level 1.”
As a kid he was just keen to absorb as much skiing as possible, from Brandon Becker’s opening segment in Teddybear Crisis the young Swede was hooked:
“After those early Level 1 movies the web era started popping off, like Travelling Circus. That was fun because you used to only get movies once a year in the fall, but suddenly people started posting videos through the winter. As a kid it was awesome, I just wanted to see as much skiing as possible. It’s cool when you see your favourite pro doing something other than just their one segment every year.”
Being a fan of Level 1 and its movies, winning Superunknown IX in 2012 was a dream come true and it opened up new and exciting opportunities.
“After that I got to go the U.S to film and learn about how it works and what happens when you film a ski-movie. That helped when we made our own ski-movies later.”
Speaking of his own movies…
“A couple years later you can see the effects of the Bunch. We were almost the anti-movement, just doing stuff for fun and not just to get sponsored.”
But how did the young Scandinavians who have transformed skiing first get started? Well, it started way back at school. Lucas started high school in Stockholm at 16 and “hated it” but then he heard about a ski academy in Kiruna —the most northern city in Sweden—a fresh start:
“I re-did my first year there and it was the best decision of my life.”
It was a good decision for himself and ultimately for anyone who loves creative and fun skiing. It was in the classroom where The Bunch were brought together.
“That’s where I met Magnus, Peyben, Jens and everybody. We were just one class of ski guys, developing our own tricks and style because we only did it for fun. We just skied so much because we thought it was super-fun. We were all making our own videos, putting them on NS and Freeride.se (the ‘Scandinavian NS’). Everybody had their own camera and made videos on Movie Maker. Everybody could film a little bit and edit themselves, it wasn’t like one was always skiing and one was filming or editing. I think that’s what’s special about The Bunch, everybody brought their own style. So maybe I would edit something and Jens would get inspired by it and he would then do my edit ,but better, and then Peyben would see Jens and do the same so we were all pushing each other. Trying to be the best in all elements; skiing, filming and editing.”
We had three years of school and we were pretty much only doing that. We were clearing our grades and stuff but would just ski or watch ski movies all the time, it was such a concentrated thing.
“I pay more attention to my influences than ski competitions. That’s often more skateboarding or snowboarding”
When he was a teenager he had a few favourite comp-pros:
“I used to like watching people like TJ Schiller and Charles Gagnier, guys that did videos and competing. I don’t watch any competitive skiing anymore though. I prefer watching other things for inspiration. It doesn’t have to be skiing.”
Art by LSM and Alric. Photo: Alric Ljunghager
“I’m super-into powder skiing now, it’s really been the last three or four years. It feels like a whole new adventure.”
After making his name doing new and exciting things on his skis on the streets or in the park, like most pro skiers, LSM is graduating to big mountain skiing. Or is he..?
“It’s just a whole new place to start experimenting. Like indie music, but indie pow skiing! It’s not just big mountains and steep faces, like tree-skiing and out of bounds skiing. I really like to be able to ski all types of terrain, it’s just really fun. Growing up in the suburbs of Stockholm there was never any chance to ski powder. So that makes it more special now.”
“It’s very clear that the ski-seasons are getting shorter and the glaciers are melting, that’s just stuff that everyone who’s been skiing for a while can see and that’s obviously very sad.”
Global Warming and climate change are subject's close to Lucas' heart, and he plans to work to combat them both during and after his ski career:
Getting closer to nature. Photo: Emma Johansson
“I’m very interested in how you can live closer to nature and have a better relationship with it using the resources we have. That’s a passion of mine. I haven’t really talked that much about it, but I’ve read about it a lot and just lately I’ve started to communicate it more on Instagram and stuff. There’s been so much about plastic pollution on social media and that’s very visual, everyone can see that plastic looks very bad in nature. It’s harder to notice with global warming, it’s just slowly getting warmer and warmer. I really like the positive side of this with the solutions, we have to push our technology and our brains if we are going to make it. I think it’s cool because new stuff is happening all the time, it’s like a new renaissance.”
He's also put his money where his mouth is with a startup company called //LAYERS, whose products are all made from recycled materials:
“A pair of jeans takes 11000L of water to make. //LAYERS is the new wave of making products. The past system of making products was fun for a while but it's killing the planet so we gotta think fresh here. We're just getting started, made our first bag a few weeks ago, opened the webshop a few days ago, it's gonna be a fun journey!”
"As with the past 2 seasons, I have only set one goal with my skiing and that is to have the most fun season ever!"
I'm stoked to see what comes from LSM's quest to have the best season ever. He gave us some hints about what's to come this season and he also wants to know what you want to see from him too:
"For me, skiing pow is the most fun type of skiing, so I will continue my path into the backcountry with a longer trip to Japan and then doing some touring around the mountains in Scandinavia. I'm not sure yet what kind of video projects I will work on next year.. write some ideas in the comments!!"
Trip: Hokaido Japan, I was there for the first time this year. I’m gonna drop a video from there this fall.
Track: a Jamie XX song anything from In Colour album
Trick: Just a big straight air. In the backcountry a big straight air to a powder landing is so fun. Even a straight air on a big jump is fun because you’re always doing tricks all the time, but a straight air is so nice.