The Chasqui Blog
Following with our "Meet our Ambassadors" series, ultra runner and ski mountaineer Luke Nelson tells us about how he started skiing and running, as well as his great experiences with previous trips to Peru
Meet Luke Nelson
"Several years ago I started running to get fit for a ski mountaineering race. I had never been much of a runner. I did one season of cross country as a senior in high school, I enjoyed myself but didn't do amazing. Mostly I spent as much time in the mountains climbing, kayaking, snowboarding and skiing as possible.
As time passed I found myself trying to move faster in the mountains to be able to experience more, which led to entering a ski mountaineering race. For those of you who have no idea what ski mountaineering racing is, actually most people don't, it is climbing up mountain with skis on your feet and the descending, multiple times during a single race. Ski mountaineering racing, skimo for short, requires an incredible amount of aerobic and anaerobic strength, so early winter 2007 I found myself running the snow covered trails of Pocatello, ID where I live. The feeling was exhilarating, different than training for cross, it was freedom, pure bliss to float along a narrow path, connected. Connected to nature and disconnected from society.
Immediately I was hooked, I found myself longing to get out and run. After the ski mountaineering race I entered my first trail race, the Menan Butte Challenge.
During that race found that I was a better runner than ski mountaineer racer. Since that time I have taken my love for trail running to the mountains, I have raced many mountain and ultra trail events, I was asked to join the La Sportiva Mountain Running Team 3 years ago.
Consequently as my fitness improved I have also become a much better skimo racer. This last season I placed 3rd at the US Ski Mountaineering Championships, held at Jackson Hole and then represented the USA at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Claut, Italy as a member of the US Ski Mountaineering Team.
Over the last few years I have spent thousands of hours honing my craft of moving quickly through the mountains. I deeply enjoy the sensation that trail running or ski running provides.
In March, one month after the World Championships, I returned to Peru for a medical humanitarian trip. It was my third visit to this amazing part of the world.
The first was with my wonderful wife two years after we married. We spent several months traveling around, sharpening our Spanish skills, and enjoying the mountains and culture of Peru and Ecuador. The next trip was during my clinical year of physician assistant training, where I was able to serve the amazing Peruvians of the Sacred Valley with medical assistance. The trip this spring was again a medical humanitarian trip, this time I was serving as the Expedition Coordinator for Idaho Condor Humanitarian Services. The group was able to amazing things for many, many people. Although, the highlight for me was to learn from the Peruvians, particularly those of the Sacred Valley, they may not have many belongings or riches, but are wealthy beyond belief with their understanding of life.
The last two trips to Peru have also afforded me a bit of spare time to get out and run in the incredible mountains of the high country of Peru. It is truly mystical being able to run through ancient sites of the Incan Empire, to breath the sweet thin air of altitude and to interact with people who rarely see a gringo because their pueblo is more than a 15 minute walk from the road.
Luke running on the Sacsahuaman ruins
I am so excited to be going to Peru with Inca Runners to share this love of Peru, its people and its wonderful culture with all of you who can manage to make the journey.
I can guarantee it will be the type of trip that will change your perspective on life and that will forge memories that will never be forgotten"
Click here to learn more about Luke's trip next year. To make reservations, call 888-581-1150 or email us at email@example.com
comments powered by Disqus