Torin Yater Wallace qualifies for Winter X

Nate Abbott

Torin Yater Wallace on his home mountain of Aspen in December.

Torin Yater Wallace turned 15 in December. So far, it's been a good age for him. Within a few weeks of his birthday, he'd earned ninth place at the Grand Prix ski halfpipe and fifth place in the superpipe finals at this season's first stop of the Winter Dew Tour. And then, at the end of December, he got the email he's been waiting his entire life for: an invite to Winter X Games 15 to compete in SuperPipe. This will be the Basalt, Colo. native's first time competing at Winter X and he'll be one of the event's youngest athletes. We gave him a call to congratulate him.

ESPN Freeskiing: Congrats on qualifying for Winter X. How did it feel when you got the news?
Torin Yater Wallace: It was insane. My coach told me to check my email, so I did. I was freaking out and screaming and jumping around. I've wanted this my whole life.

You grew up near Aspen. So you'll have home turf advantage at the X Games.
Yep, I'll be able to sleep in my own bed and go compete. I used to forerun the X Games course -- I first did that when I was 11. It was crazy to be able to ski that pipe -- I've never skied a better halfpipe. I've watched the X Games every year. My goal is just to make it to finals. If that happens, hopefully I'll do better than eighth place. But for my first X Games, I just want to make it to finals.

What's it like competing against guys who are older and more experienced than you?
It's intimidating. But they're all really nice. They all compliment me. But when I'm standing at the top of the course with all of them, it's really intimidating. They're in game time mode. They're in the zone and they're getting ready to drop in. You're kind of nervous. You want to be in the zone too, but you're with all these people you've looked up to forever.

You're a freshman at Aspen High School. Do you have your learner's permit yet?
I don't have my permit yet. I haven't finished driver's ed yet. I was going to take driver's ed online, but I couldn't do it without getting behind in school. But I'm trying to finish. I have friends with cars and Aspen has a good bus system so I just take the bus everywhere.

You signed with Armada in August. How did that come about?
Yeah, I just signed with Armada and then they invited me on their team trip to New Zealand. I'd never been there before. We got to test all the new Armada stuff. I was with Salomon before and I wasn't looking for a new ski sponsor, but Armada was looking for a new grom and they heard about me so I got the call.

In five years, you'll be 20 years old, the age of a lot of the guys you're competing against now. Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I'd like to be doing the same thing I'm doing now: Skiing as much as I can and competing in slope and halfpipe. Hopefully by then I'll make X Games in slopestyle as well. If pipe gets into the Olympics, I'd love to make it for the U.S. Halfpipe team in 2014. I'll be 18 and hopefully I'll be at my prime.

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