Last week at Timberline, Ore., Tom Wallisch floated on a pair of all-white ski prototypes. He threw effortless cork 7s throughout the Windells lane and offered feedback on the new boards to Scott USA representatives, who will produce Wallisch's first pro model ski for 2012-2013. Slowed by injury last winter, the Pittsburg, Penn. native is looking to get back to top form in 2011-12. We caught up with Wallisch in between laps to talk about Olympic slopestyle, his new ski and finishing his business administration degree from the University of Utah.
What'd you come away with from testing skis?
I haven't really ridden a different ski in a few years so it was a weird thing to get to do. I don't really know what I want for a pro model ski but I have some ideas in my head now. It's awesome to try a couple of types of skis before making any sort of decision.
What'd you notice about the prototypes?
They were a lot different than the skis I've been riding (the Scott Jib Punisher). The skis I've been riding have a lot of sidecut, so they ride short. They are a fun ski to have on small park rails and jumps. But for bigger features, having a longer turning radius and not such a quick sidecut will make it easier and more stable on bigger jumps and they'll hold an edge better on an icy pipe or slopestyle course.
Do you feel like you digress a bit in the summer if you aren't skiing consistently?
The more time you take off -- you don't really lose anything, but you forget that feeling and you have to warm back into it. There's definitely a point where you can't just go back into it and throw your hardest tricks. It takes a few days or a few runs to remember how to use your skis and start doing tricks. But I've never had a problem figuring it out within a half day or a day if I haven't been on 'em in a while. It's all muscle memory. I try to spend as much time as possible on skis in the summer so winter is not awkward at all.
What else do you have planned for the summer?
It's kind of up in the air. I'm going back to Park City for the week and then another week at Windells for Session 6. I may go to New Zealand for two weeks for the New Zealand Winter Games. I have another trip in September for filming and there's a competition put on by North Face, but school starts August 22, so I need to talk to my teachers.
What was your reaction to slopestyle being included in Olympics?
I was definitely stoked to hear that it was in, but I have mixed feelings at the same time. I never really wanted or pushed hard for the Olympics. I gave up on that when I was 12 to go jib in the park with my friends. I'm definitely excited for the possibility. Who wouldn't be? But I'm also fearful of what it will do to the judging of the sport and the process of the sport and the rules and disciplines that will make it less free and more controlled and regimented. It will be good as long as we can keep a hold of the purity of the sport. If athletes have input, the sport will stay true.
What do you want to accomplish next season?
I'm hoping to stay injury free. I had to miss a month and a half last season and anytime you are off snow during the middle of the season, it's so frustrating. I want to get strong this fall and stay injury free and ski as much as I can. I want to up the amount of podium counts and get on more film trips and expand film segments and get back to where I was two years ago. I want to work as hard as can and get out on snow and just have fun with it. That's what it's all about.