As a 19-year-old freestyle skier from Seattle, Washington, Joshua Loubek could not imagine a magical place where he could ski world-famous powder in the morning and attend college classes in the afternoon.
But that is exactly what he found when he enrolled at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs. It was an environment where he felt empowered to reach his full potential with support from professors like Diane Mitsch-Busch and Janie Peck.
“I’m grateful for my experience at CMC, I was 100% in the right spot,” says Loubek.
He first learned of the school in 1993, while competing at the Junior National Championships in the then-nascent sport of freestyle skiing. He met Steamboat resident and U.S. Ski Team Coach Park Smalley, who noticed his potential. Fresh out of high school, Loubek was feeling torn between wanting to pursue his dream of skiing, and making his parents happy by attending college. When Smalley told him about a place where he could do both, he packed his bags for Steamboat Springs.
Loubek spent a year skiing and training before he enrolled in an Associate of Arts program. He shared a room at the Christie House, located at the base of the ski area, with two fellow skiers and two snowboarders.
“I remember getting up early to ski until noon, then catching the bus straight to campus,” recalls Loubek. “I literally would walk into the classroom still with my ski boots on and sit down for class.”
Loubek thrived in the mountain town, becoming a world-class freeskier/XGames competitor while earning his degree. After retiring from competition, he became a head judge for the XGames and other global competitions around the world. By this time, extreme snow sports had taken off and were slated for inclusion in the Olympic program.
But the governing body for skiing, the International Ski Federation (FIS), did not know how to quantify or score the new tricks. Loubek and three others founded the Association of Freeskiing Professionals and created a ranking and judging system which was adopted by the FIS and remains the gold standard used today.
As an expert in the freeskiing half-pipe, and slopestyle events, Loubek was selected as a judge at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. In addition to judging at other elite-level events, he worked as a television commentator for three years as well.
Loubek also played a part in launching the Armada ski brand in the early 2000’s. For all his work, he was recognized by ESPN in 2013 as one of the top 50 most influential people in action sports.
Now retired from judging, he is based in Boise, Idaho as a sales rep for Oakley. He fondly recalls his time on the Alpine Campus.
“CMC was the perfect place for me,” he says. “It was exactly the mountain culture environment that I loved. It was so cool to be in a small town where everyone got excited about ski season, where 90% of the people around you were interested in what you were doing.”