We recently caught up with local legend & NZ Pro freestyle Skier Luca Harrington. To learn what inspires him, his plans for the next few years and what goes on behind the scenes when you are competing at the top of the world.
Let’s start at the beginning, where did you grow up, and where are you based now?
I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful town of Wanaka, New Zealand, and still live there to this day. That is when I am not travelling for skiing overseas.
When did you first start Skiing?
My first day on skis was around the age of 3 years old at one of my local resorts Treble Cone.I am fortunate to have a family with a large ski background with my Father being an ex-professional Mogul Skier and my Mother being an absolute ski frother!
What do you love most about the sport?
Everything! Skiing is the thing that makes me most happy in the world and I am addicted to and love the adrenaline every time I get to ski, I love being up in the mountains and in the snow as it feels like my own world, and I love the challenge and risk of the sport as you there is always something new to do or try.
Your brother is also a professional skier, growing up together has this helped you push each other?
My brother and I have always been competitive with each other in everything we did from a very young age. It has been so amazing growing up with an older brother to always look up to and strive to be and especially in skiing. My brother and I are each other's biggest supporters and it’s always nice to have someone that will always be there for you.
When did you realise you could make a career out of Skiing?
I never try to think of skiing as a career or a job more as something that I absolutely love to do and push myself in. At around the age of 14 I started to learn how to do double corks, which was the next big step in skiing for me, and I think that’s where I really found my love for the sport and knew it was something I wanted to pursuit.
We saw you are training for your world cup events, tell us about the preparation that goes into planning for this type of competition against the world best?
Yeah man, a lot of preparation goes into trying to do your best in the World Cup events. I first plan my ideas out in my head, then I like to put it on paper before taking my ideas to the trampoline to train and then executing on the snow. This is usually my process of learning a new trick on snow which eventually gets put into a Slopestyle run or a Big Air comp.
What are some of your favourite books and podcasts that have inspired you along with way?
I listen to a lot of ski podcasts where they interview lots of pro skiers from all sorts of disciplines. My favorite podcast is called ‘Ascension’ which is a podcast hosted by an Ex Professional freestyle skier and a huge idol of mine, Simon Dumont. I love this podcast as I learn so much from his experiences and how it relates to the person he is talking to and I can even connect to it myself.
Park or Powder or halfpipe?
That's too hard of a decision! Each one of these aspects of skiing holds so much joy in its own way.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I am constantly changing up what I listen to. I love all sorts of genres from rap to even some jazz. I find music plays a huge role in my skiing as it helps with your moods and even helps express who you are into your style.
Freestyle skiing is extremely hard on your body, have you had many injuries?
Yea it’s definitely a pretty painful sport! I have been pretty lucky to not have had too many injuries over my years of competitive skiing and would love it to stay that way! Although I haven't had many major injuries, there are always small annoying injuries that you must overcome everyday.
What are your goals for the future?
My biggest goal in life is to always be the best person I can be, on and off of the slopes. Next to that would be to compete and hopefully podium at the 2026 Milan Winter Olympic Games. Along the journey to the Olympics, I also have many goals such as starting to podium at World Cups.
How do you balance your training and competition schedule with other aspects of your life?
It is definitely difficult to balance having a normal teenage kids life with the crazy freestyle skier life that I live. It is nice to have so many close friends in the ski and snowboard industry as no matter where I am, I get to be around some of my best friends. In other aspects, it is definitely hard to juggle Uni work, getting to the gym, and getting other activities in when you are on the road traveling or training and skiing everyday.
Favourite tricks right now?
That's a hard one! I always love a carving cork 7 with a Lead Stale grab to start the day off!
Part of our mission at PYRA is to inspire people to reconnect with the outdoors, especially those living the city life. How do you feel when you’re in a concrete jungle in comparison to up in the mountains?
I am very grateful to have grown up in one of the most beautiful places in the world surrounded by magnificent mountains and crystal blue lakes. Wanaka is so special to me as it has shaped who I am and has given me passion for so many things. I have noticed now that when I do spend time in the concrete jungles, I can't stand it and max out after around 7 days. Being in the outdoors and the mountains makes you feel so free and open compared to feeling trapped in a giant maze.
You have been lucky enough to travel and Ski the world, where has been your favourite
Yes indeed. I have been extremely lucky that my sport has taken me all around the world and I am grateful for every opportunity. That's a hard call to pick a favourite spot, but I would have to say that the time I spent in Italy was amazing and I absolutely love Colorado, USA as it is almost like a second home to me now.
What advice do you give younger skiers looking to make it at a professional level?
Have fun! Skiing is all about having fun every day you are on the slopes. The next thing I would say is to ski as much as possible as the only way to get better at doing something is by doing it
What do you miss most when you’re away from home?
Definitely miss my parents and my dog when I am away.
How do you stay motivated in the off season?
I like to stay motivated by watching ski edits and movies. Professional freestyle skiing seems like a competitive space.
How do you prep your mind and body to keep in top physical shape?
I like to do a lot of visualising in my head which makes it easier to do my tricks on snow and to be in the gym as much as possible building muscle and staying strong.
Describe your Skiing style in 3 words…
Clean, playful and fun!
I have heard arguments that skiing and snowboarding has lost its style with the evolution of spin to win with Triples and quads cork spins. What's your thoughts on this?
It’s definitely a personal preference thing. There are still people keeping the old school style alive, but there have definitely been many new styles introduced. I feel that style is something very individual and an expression of who you are in your skiing. Things such as spin to win and triples is definitely a huge change to how skiing and snowboarding used to be but it is an expression of the progression and evolution of freestyle and how skiers and snowboarders are always pushing the limits of our sport.
What does the next 5 years look like for you?
The next 5 years for me will be continuing following the World Cup circuit with the goal of making the Winter Olympics in 2026.
What’s your day-to-day look when you’re not up the mountain?
When I am not on the mountain, I try to do activities such as Motor and Mountain biking, playing my guitar and some of my other passions that I don't get to do as often as skiing.
What styles from our latest drop do you have on rotation of late?
In terms of street wear, I love to rock all of the Pyra Tees as I love how they fit and suit my style, and on snow I love repping the ‘Summit Puffa Vest’
What’s one activity on your bucket list?
Someday I would love to go Heli-skiing in Alaska and have dreamt of it from a very young age!
Lastly finish this sentence: I like getting back outdoors into the elements because….?
I like getting back outdoors into the elements because it takes me away from civilization and lets me be free in my own world.