Tom Wallisch’s career as one of freeskiing’s most accomplished and innovative athletes did not exactly begin “by the book.” ESPN’s “Action Sports Athlete of the Year” made his first tracks far from the traditional “resort scene” – on a bunny hill in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Penn. Retreating to the nearby resorts on the weekend, his athleticism and draw to skiing intensified with age.
The Wallisch family continued their weekend get-a-ways, often to Maryland small resort Wisp, which Wallsisch credits as his “home turf” growing up. By the time he was 15, Wallisch further developed his talent conquering urban features after school and entering local big air competitions and rail jams on the weekends.
In 2006, the recent high school graduate made the biggest move of his career, heading west and settling in Park City, Utah as a student at the University of Utah. The new adventure immediately saw him amass a large following in the freeskiing community, thanks to a series of high-octane video edits. It did not take long for his park skills to catch up to his expert rail skills previously perfected in Pittsburgh. By the close of his first winter, the largest ski production companies were casting him in several major productions.
Exploding on the competitive scene in 2009, Tom topped the podium at many events and finished the season as the top AFP-ranked slopestyle skier in the world. The following season saw “T-Wall” cement his place at the forefront of his sport, with a gold medal in the slopestyle at the European X Games, first place at the Snowbasin stop of the Dew Tour and Freeskier’s highly-coveted “Skier of the Year” title.
In 2012, Wallisch secured the top-ranked slopestyle spot in the AFP Rankings yet again, in addition to winning the Dew Your overall cup, seven podiums and two X Games medals – gold in Aspen and silver at Euro X.
An early season knee injury required Tom to take a step back from the competitive scene to ensure proper recovery. However, the freeskiing force remained active in the sport, filming his own unique ski film – The Wallisch Project – released with critical acclaim in Fall 2013. By close of this year, Tom returned atop the podium, earning the FIS World Ski Championship title in Voss, Norway.
Any winter days not spent on the competition circuit are focused on completing his marketing degree at the University of Utah and filming for any number of film companies, including Level 1, 4bi9, TGR, and Field Productions. During the short off-season, Tom soaks up the sun, whether that be skating, wakeboarding, or mountain biking.
You can view the 2014 Olympic hopeful’s independently produced “The Wallisch Project” on iTunes here.