Luis Alberto Lecanda moved to Sun Valley in 2019 to pursue Nordic skiing full-time with hopes to qualify for the 2022 Olympic XC ski team for Mexico. The catch? He was a complete neophyte in the sport, coming from a career as an engineer in Silicon Valley. But his dual U.S./Mexican citizenship gave him a unique opportunity, and he set forth to become an Olympian. While he ultimately did not qualify due to the impact COVID shutdowns had on racing, he was invited to the 2021 Mexican National Team Training camp in Achensee, Austria, and later in Kitzbühel.
The Olympic dream remains an aspiration, but for now he is training for a ski mountaineering expedition this month to ski down the Citlaltépetl Volcano in Veracruz, Mexico (the third highest peak in North America at 18,500 feet). The expedition is sponsored by La Gritona Tequila and Mammut Ski. When not climbing and skiing mountains, Luis focuses his high energy on real estate as a team member with Brad Dufur and Annie Kaiser at Sun Valley Real Estate, conducting safety presentations in Spanish for the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, being a panelist at the Sun Valley Economic Development Summit, and launching a Spanish language news media platform for the Wood River Valley.
How does your ideal day start?
Luis: My morning routine is very regimented because an unstructured one leads to unproductive digressions from the day’s mission. For years, I have made it a habit to read a short passage out of the same bedside book, first thing in the morning. Before I head off to ski at Galena, I hydrate and stretch while a light breakfast heats up. While all this is going on, I’ll listen to the same inspirational audio recordings that have been on my playlist for years. Then I would head to Galena to ski—my day’s training schedule will dictate the plan. For an easy ski, about 1hr 45 min, I glide on some of my favorite trails such as Rip and Tear, North Cherry Creek, and Cherry Ridge. If I want to make things spicy, I’ll ski down Psycho on an icy day.
Where does your day take you mid-morning?
Luis: After my skiing session, I ski into Galena Lodge to order something hot. If a second ski session is planned, I’ll dry my gloves and boots next to the fireplace, grab a fueling Don’s bar, fill up my water bottle, and head back out for another ski session.
What would you do for lunch?
Luis: My favorite place for lunch is Nourish Me (and it totally has nothing to do with having a sandwich named after me there!) I love Julie and the entire staff! “The Luis” is a completely vegetarian sandwich: pesto veggie w/ grilled mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sprouts. I order it on a sourdough roll with swiss cheese and pickled jalapeños.
What’s your afternoon look like?
Luis: A hot shower is a must, especially after a freezing ski morning; it is a feeling to defrost after a cold outdoor session in a hot shower! I’m so grateful for hot water after low-temp winter mornings. For those that haven’t experienced a hot shower after a cold Sun Valley morning, it’s like being stranded in a desert for days with no water, you’re super thirsty, and your mouth is parched; just imagine how divine that first drink of water would be!
Any other plans for the afternoon?
Luis: I’ll head over to The Community Library. Sometimes I drop in to do work and enjoy the architecture and vibe. A favorite thing to do at the library is to browse through the bookshelves at random and find something super interesting to read, from DIY homebuilding to plant-based cooking to psychology of sleep and dreams to Da Vinci’s journals. We have one of the most awesome libraries in Idaho! There is such a wide collection available and if they don’t have a book you’re looking for on hand, they’ll get you one through ILL.