Utah boasts the greatest snow on earth, but right now its also home to the greatest skier on the planet, so Salt Lake magazine caught up with Tom Wallisch for a little Q&A (see below) before the Winter Dew Tour got into its full, off-axis swing.
The current U of U senior will be defending his #1 status against the likes of X Games Big Air Gold Medalist Bobby Brown and a talented pool of other freeskiers at Snowbasin this weekend. These athletes are more than just high-flying hucksters, they’re the pros who’ll be representing the USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics and Feb. 10–12 is the best chance for Utahns to witness them firsthand—including our resident king of slopestyle.
Fresh off his X Games gold, Wallisch will take to the snow alongside the biggest names in winter sports. Snowboarding phenoms Louie Vito and Iouri Podladtchikov (IPod for the linguistically challenged) are so close in the Superpipe standings that they’re practically twins, while the Women’s Superpipe comp sponsors a close race between innovators like Gretchen Bleiler and Kelly Clark in a winner-takes-all matchup.
The competition begins this Friday and includes a free Mac Miller concert that begins at 9 p.m. The Winter Dew Tour concludes Sunday with the Slopestyle Finals and Gatorade Free Flow comp. Click here more info or directions visit, and be sure to dress warm when you’re standing slopeside.
A Word With The Wonder Wallisch
Named Skier of the Year by Freeskier magazine, Tom Wallisch is a Pittsburgh native turned Utah local. After warming up on Snowbasin’s slopestyle course, Wallisch granted SLmag an audience. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Do you plan on unveiling anything new this weekend?
A: I think I’m gonna try—for the first time ever for me—to put together a top-to-bottom run [backwards] the whole way—to never ski forward the entire time, which is new for me. I’ve got no guarantees that will happen but if I can put it together I’d like to.
Q: You just won in Killington, Breckenridge and Aspen all within a few weeks of each other and now you’re here. Does this stretch of competitions take its toll on you?
A: It definitely takes its toll on my body but that’s mainly my fault for skiing so much between each of those competitions. Actually, if I wasn’t competing, I probably would’ve skied even more today, but I’m trying to focus on having energy for the comp. If you’re asking about mentally—no my brain doesn’t get tired from the pressure of competing or anything.
Q: Any pre-event rituals or routines?
A: No, not really. I try to steer clear of that just because you get freaked out when you can't do those things beforehand. I mean, I always try to ski to Tupac for my competition song but even that’s not a must.
Q: How would you describe freeskiing to a mainstream audience to help them understand its appeal—to sell them on freeskiing?
A: The way I like to explain [freeskiing] is that I grew up at a tiny mountain on the east coast. People in Salt Lake are accustomed to skiing these huge mountains and having all this terrain to just ski and can have fun “just skiing.” But on a tiny mountain or on a bad snow year like the one we’re having, resorts like Park City all over the country are able to blow snow and create world-class terrain parks even when the powder skiing isn’t world-class. So, having grown up on a small mountain and having had a terrain park, I think it’s so awesome because it gives people an opportunity to have fun out on the hill for longer hours every day without having to wait on Mother Nature.