Between Two Runs with Tom Wallisch
For the first time in his decorated professional career, X Games gold medalist and longtime GoPro athlete Tom Wallisch traded competition for commentary this past weekend at Winter X Games in Aspen, CO., so naturally we felt compelled to catch up with him on the chair lift in between laps on the slopes of Buttermilk Mountain. We wanted to check in on his new urban film project with the Good Company crew and, of course, ask him about his exciting new gig working as the official on-air ski analyst for ESPN.
GoPro: What’s it like to be on the commentating/analyst side of X Games, after years of competing here as an athlete?
Tom: Being back in Aspen–not as a competitor for a change–but as a ski analysit/commentator is pretty cool. All these guys that are here competing are some of my closest friends, and you get to talk about them, cheer them on, watch the events and be here to hang out with everybody is amazing. I miss competing; I definitely miss being out there throwing down with the boys, but it’s fun to be on the safe side of things and just be watching from the computer screen.
From your vantage point, what is the state of competitive skiing?
Since I stopped competing, I feel everybody’s good, everybody’s got the tricks. It really comes down to the nit and gritty of it all; perfecting your moves, getting grabs, getting real tech rail tricks, and lining it all together. Watching the event today, it’s all about consistency and being smooth on it. I kinda wish I was still in there. It looks fun. But some of these triple flips and triple corks these guys are doing are crazy. It's wild to watch.
This winter has already been amazing: where have you been riding the most?
This season we’ve already been filming some urban, so I’ve been to some pretty weird locations. Went to Bizmark, North Dakota; South Dakota a little bit; Boise, Idaho; all over the West following the snow, looking for new rails and new features to hit.
What was your favorite trip in 2016?
Last winter, my favorite trip was a trip to Japan I went on with the whole Good Company crew. We skied pow every day, ate sushi, chilled out. It was more of a vacation than anything else. It was a fun trip, we were filming, getting shots, but it was also so relaxing and so fun after a full two months of filming urban for the X Games Real Ski event.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
I’m really looking forward to a trip we have coming up to Scandinavia. We’re going to Finland and Stockholm to film rails and to film a whole story about how accessible urban skiing is and how you can go ski in a city, have a fun day without buying a crazy lift ticket. You can take trains and public transport to get around. It will be a really fun and interesting trip.
Got any projects / side hustles we should know about?
Been filming all season with Good Company, filming for a new movie dropping this Fall 2017. At the same time, been filming for the X Games Real Ski event. I put together a 90-second all urban video that’s going to showcase on ABC. It’s been fun so far.
You've been on the GoPro program forever; what do you love about the cameras? How do you use them in the streets?
The GoPro cameras are insane. It’s so fun to use in different ways and capture moments and points of view that you can’t see any other way. Recently we’ve been using them to see a point of view hitting an urban feature that’s never been seen before, whether the camera is spinning on your head or just simply wearing the camera just to show, "Yeah, it’s kinda the same as hitting a rail in the park, but there are real obstacles and things in your way like the stairs…" The POV you can capture with the cameras is just cool to showcase urban skiing.