Only three men have won the Powder Poll, an award voted on by the skiers themselves. Shane McConkey and Seth Morrison will be remembered as two of the best skiers to ever click-in. The third, Tom Wallisch, is still in the beginning stages of an already illustrious career. The park skier from Pennsylvania fired off three Reader Poll wins (2011-2013) before being unseated by Morrison at last year’s awards. We caught up with Wallisch while he was taking a break from building a bookshelf in a guest room to chat the Powder Poll, ski movies, and getting back on snow.
Do you remember the first time you won the Reader Poll?
I do. It was unexpected. I hadn’t been to the Awards before or been around for that. It was also my first year at the X Games. There were a lot of things going on that were a little different and out of my comfort zone. To score that one right off the bat knowing only Shane and Seth had gotten it…those are pretty cool people to be in the same league with. Everything was blowing up all around me. That was a crazy, exciting period.
The poll is voted on by skiers, by fans. Does that make the win more special?
It makes it special. For friends, family, and sponsors to see, it’s cooler to be voted on by the readers and by the people. Obviously people do a good job in industry panels, but those people have biases and preferences. It’s cool to win an award thanks to people out there. It gives you a true feeling of what people like and the athletes they like to follow. Those people are out there buying the gear and making the sport what it is.
You were injured last year, so this is the first year in a couple years you’re not nominated for an award.
I’m doing some planning right now, planning bigger things for filming next year. Hopefully, I’ll have a healthy good season this year and be back nominated for a bunch of stuff next year.
Any ski films you’ve watched that you’re hyped on?
The Level 1 movie is good. It’s good to see a whole new lineup of athletes. I’m always impressed with how Berman is able to bring in guys I’ve never heard of or guys who haven’t filmed a full segment before. He’s showcasing new style and new talent.
I was really impressed with the Stept movie, just the overall feel of it and their tribute to Warnick. He was one of my best friends growing up. Seeing how they put together some of his writing with a really cool storyline and filming…it’s different than your average ski movie and it really hits you hard. It’s a well-made film.
How was your summer? Are you back on snow?
I did rehab all spring and most of the summer. Got a lot of boat time in. Then I went to Australia for all of September and got back on snow. It feels good. It’s not normal. It’ll take some time, but by the end of the trip I was doing whatever I wanted on rails and hitting all the jumps. I’m trying to ease back into it.
Will you compete this winter?
Hopefully I’m ready by Dew Tour. I don’t want to come back just to compete and throw a half-ass run. If I come back, I want to have a chance at winning and doing well.