Luke Koppa

Luke Koppa and Jonathan Ellsworth review the Dynastar M-Pro 99 for Blister in Crested Butte, Colorado.
Luke Koppa on the Dynastar M-Pro 99, Crested Butte, Colorado.

Age: 27 | Vitals: 5’8,” ~155 lbs | Years Skiing: 16 | Current Residence: Crested Butte, Colorado

(see runner profile)

Skiing Background

I’m one of many Midwest transplants currently residing in Colorado. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and my early years were dominated by rugby, soccer, and rock climbing. During the summers, I’d spend as much time as possible exploring Wisconsin’s lakes, rivers, and forests in pursuit of fish and an escape from the city.

Luke Koppa: Blister Reviewer bio

My first experience on skis came in the form of a family trip to Granite Peak in central Wisconsin. Although my younger self didn’t love the frigid chairlifts and short, icy runs, I instantly fell in love with the feeling of sliding on snow. Afterward, my siblings and I would grab our parents’ XC skis and try to find any sort of hill where we could again experience that sensation (which promptly led to lots of faceplants…). However, my time on skis back home was limited by other sports and the cost, so it wasn’t until I moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University that I was able to really give skiing my full attention.

My first season was spent attempting to follow my more-experienced friends around the mountains of Colorado. Although it was filled with plenty of yard-sales and sore muscles, that season very quickly taught me how to keep up with those who’d been skiing since they could walk. I am someone who tends to get really frustrated when I can’t keep up with others, so while I have not been skiing my entire life, I have spent my relatively short (compared to many of our other reviewers) skiing career focusing on my technique and style. I’ll never actually be the best skier on the mountain, but I’ll always be working toward that goal, and will still tell everyone I am, cause, you know … GNAR points.

Luke Koppa reviews the Line Vision 108 for Blister.
Luke Koppa on the Line Vision 108, Crested Butte, CO.

My skiing style tends to revolve around finding anything to jump off, but I’m happy challenging myself in any terrain, from riding at the edge of control in open bowls to ticking off the extremely technical, steep lines at Crested Butte, attempting to drag my hip on a groomer, and my never-ending quest to truly nail down a perfect zipperline in moguls.

I tend to like skis that offer respectable suspension / damping but are also energetic when coming out of a carved turn or the lip of a jump. But what I really like are skis that are just exceptionally good at what they’re supposed to do. In general, I often prefer tighter sidecut radii to longer ones, at least for frontside and all-mountain skis. I dislike being on a ski that makes groomers feel like some boring afterthought. No matter what ski I’m on, my goal on piste is usually to bend it into as tight and high-edge-angle a turn as I can.

In bumps and tight terrain, I like to pivot my skis from a slightly centered stance and generally stay in the troughs, rather than drive them really hard up and over the tops of moguls. I don’t spin or flip all the time but like to try a few times a season (usually when the snow is soft). Since I’m constantly trying to get my skis airborne and have what I’d call a “freestyle-inspired” style, I tend to prefer skis that encourage a more playful approach that includes slashes, jumps, and the occasional flip or spin, rather than directional chargers that require me to be driving them down the fall line at all times. In short, my favorite skis are both playful and stable, though I’ve found that I can appreciate and adapt to almost any ski.

I also spend a fair bit of my time in the backcountry, and love touring’s combination of exploration, wild places, and (hopefully) fresh snow. I also love extending the ski season far into the summer (or just all the way into the next season).

Luke Koppa - Profile
Luke Koppa, Mt Wilcox, CO. (photo by Chris Fuller)

Although I will happily hike all year to find snow, I also like exploring the hundreds of miles of trails around Crested Butte, and enjoy logging plenty of bike rides and some runs during the summer. Along with mountain biking and trail running, I also love throwing flies at fish and shooting photos of all the more talented folks around the Gunnison / Crested Butte Valley. Click here for more on my running style and preferences.

In addition to simply enjoying spending time outside and thinking about the gear we use to do so, I also graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Apparel Product Development, and have always been a bit obsessed with product design. I get excited about things like intricate seam patterning, ski rocker profiles, bike-frame geometries, and chest pockets.

Some of My Favorite Gear:

Apparel: Strafe Recon Jacket & Pants; Norrona Lyngen Hybrid Jacket & Pants; Open Wear Open One 3L Shell Jacket; Trew Cosmic PRIMO Jacket; FITS socks; Dissent Socks; Topo Designs Global Shorts; Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody; Mission Workshop Mission Jeans; Patagonia Nano-Air Pants; Black Diamond Mission Pants; Houdini Shelter Anorak; Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody; Standard Issue Tees

Running Shoes: Hoka Speedgoat 2; Altra Olympus 3.0; Hoka Clifton 1

Skis: Rossignol Black Ops 118; RMU Apostle 106; Line Sakana; Line Blade; Black Crows Mirus Cor; Line Sick Day 104; Nordica Enforcer 110; Salomon MTN Explore 95; J Skis MasterblasterFischer Ranger 102 FR; Line Sir Francis Bacon; Line Vision 108; Majesty Superwolf; Moment Wildcat; K2 Reckoner 102; Dynastar M-Free 108

1 comment on “Luke Koppa”

  1. Hey Luke,
    What do you use for touring only boots? I can’t find anything that is low volume for ankle and cuff area similar to a Salomon max boot.

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