By Lucia Goin
Published: January 28, 2011
For the first time in the Powder Reader Poll's 10 year history, someone other than Seth Morrison or the late Shane McConkey has taken the top male spot. Tom Wallisch edged out second and third place competitors Seth Morrison and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and came in first place this year. Voter turnout in the 2011 Powder Poll was a record high, with readers casting two and a half times more votes than ever before.
This is Wallisch's first Powder Award. Morrison took first place seven times in the last ten years, and McConkey won twice. Wallisch rose to fame through his online edits and with the support of the Newschoolers.com community. The 2009-2010 season is known as his breakthrough year. He went on to win the last stop in the 2009 Dew Tour, took the Dumont Cup in Maine, and after recovering from a broken shoulder blade in January he managed to win the gold in slopestyle in the 2010 European X Games.
"It's insane. I still don't think I really deserve it considering [Morrisson and McConkey] are the greatest heroes from my childhood," Wallisch said after winning. "I had a little bit of an idea, but honestly it's surreal considering they're inspirations to me." Wallisch began skiing in Wisp Resort in Maryland and currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT.
Ingrid Backstrom took her sixth consecutive Reader Poll first place award. Backstrom is a regular at the PVA's—she won Powder's Best Female Performance in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and she claimed Breakthrough Performance in 2005. She is a former Powder Magazine intern and remains a contributor to the magazine in addition to her duties as a full-time professional skier. After consistently dominating the IFSA Freeskiing tour and starring in various Matchstick Productions Films, she remains a favorite for Powder readers not only for her steep, creative lines but also for her down-to-earth demeanor.