He came straight out of the gates hell, all metal and massive mountains, firing down huge lines and stomping everything in front of him: Sammy Luebke’s part in last year’s Standard movie let everyone know he was here to stay. The young man from Alaska can charge the biggest mountains with an open throttle and a sense of casual ease that is usually only present in big mountain pros ten years his senior. From ripping with big mountain mad man Xavier De Le Rue, to being endorsed at 15 by Travis Rice, Luebke has is set to be at the forefront in the next wave of hellions pushing the limits of big mountain freestyle.
With just days to go before Standard Films release of their twentieth movie, “TB20,”we sat down with Luebke to find out why he rides so damn fast.
What’s up man? How are you?
Good. Just waking up getting the day started. I’m up in Bellingham.
Oh nice, is that where you are living now?
Yeah, I just moved here from Tahoe in June.
You were down in Truckee for while, right?
I’ve been in Truckee for about twelve years. Well, I’ve been back and forth because my Dad still has a place up in Alaska.
That’s rad. Who is your crew at Baker?
I don’t know. I used to come up here with E-Jack all the time, but I cruise around with Pat McCarthy, Nick Ennen, and a bunch of local guys.
The best thing about Baker is that on any given day a local in hunting pants will be shredding harder then a pro kid with sponsor stickers all over his board.
[Laughs] Hell yeah, there’s so many guys charging everywhere. Absinthe was up there one time setting up something under the lift and this local guy was like “F that” and just charged right through their zone.
Where did you grow up in Alaska?
I grew up in Girdwood, right outside of Anchorage. It’s where Alyeska is, which is one of the better resorts in Alaska.
Were there local dudes in that scene you looked up to?
Well, my brother is like eight years older then me. He would snowboard with his buddies all the time, so I bought a snowboard and tried to keep up with those guys. They would always ditch, but it basically got me into snowboarding and made me ride better, so I thank him for that.
So from the beginning you were just pointing it and trying to go fast?
Hell yeah. I was so small though, so I probably wasn’t going that fast.
Does that play into how you ride now?
Yeah, faster’s better — speed is your friend. It’s fun to be able to come flying out of something super fast on this little piece of wood. You don’t seem to be too interested in hitting rails or being a park rat like most kids your age.
What makes you want to charge big sketchy lines?
Well growing up in Alaska we were just naturally riding the mountain, we didn’t really have the option to ride that kind of stuff, we were just riding powder all the time. Even when I moved to Tahoe I was doing that because there are so many sick backcountry riders that come out of there, I mean that’s where Standard is from, so I started riding Squaw and that got me into it.
Did you ever want to be a park guy or jibber?
I mean, I totally did the contest thing. I competed in halfpipe and slopestyle. I did nationals back in the day and was a national champion in halfpipe. I even won a couple rail contests in my time.
How did you transition into the backcountry?
I was riding for Oakley and when The Community Project came out they asked me to be a part of it. I didn’t know what to expect but I bought a snowmobile and spent a whole year in the backcountry filming lines. I went to Jackson for a while and it was so fun and not as much stress.
How did you link up with Standard?
Well Eric Jackson is one of my best friends, John [Jackson] and Eric had been filming with them for a while and I wanted to do the same thing. I just kept talking to Mike and Dave Hatchett when I would see them around Squaw. I filmed with Standard for a year then took a year off to film with TransWorld, and after that they were down to have me come back and film with them.
Now you’re part of the legacy.
It’s awesome filming with those guys. The first video I ever saw was a Standard movie, so to be in TB20 is super cool.
It’s turning into fall. What’s this season going to look like for you?
I haven’t really made any plans for sure, but I would love to film with Standard again. This winter was really hard with weather and injuries and I didn’t start filming tell February, so this year I just want to go out with them and put a ton of work into it and film a sick ass part.