By John Clary Davies
When Sun Valley’s Wing Tai Barrymore won the U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Friday, it was a big surprise. Barrymore, grandson of the legendary filmmaker Dick Barrymore, had finished 10th in the Grand Prix qualifying round, and, at 19, he’d won just one other professional event—a small competition in La Plagne, France last spring. Powder.com recently got Barrymore on the phone after Dew Tour training in Breckenridge to talk about continuing the family legacy.
Powder.com: What was it like growing up a part of the Barrymore family?
Wing Tai Barrymore: It’s pretty cool. My grandpa was in-and-out of town. I got to hang out with him a bunch, but he spent most of his time near the end of his life near Baja surfing, and I kind have just grown up hanging out with mom and dad in Sun Valley.
Did you get to ski with him much? I grew up skiing with him and my dad. I didn’t start competing until I was a junior in high school. He was a great skier, but he didn’t ski too much in his older days. The year before he died, actually, he went on a trip to Chile and skied with some of his old friends. Then he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Have any of your grandfather’s films been influential to you? It really inspires to me to think of how awesome a lifestyle he lived and how he made things happen. Being able to put budgets together and travel the world to go skiing is pretty awesome, and to have the footage to prove it. That’s the main thing I’ve seen in the films, all the cool places they went and extreme, awesome filming stunts they did back in the day.
Were you surprised to win at Copper? It was a pretty big surprise to tell you the truth. I was in la-la land for a bit there. I was pretty stoked. It was my first actual big win, ever. It felt great. Just super stoked to be a part of that rank, of competing with top-level guys and to actually win was a dream come true.
Take us through your run. I drop in on the skier’s left wall into a left side 900 lead tail grab, and then into the left side alleyoop double flatspin 900, to the left side cork 5 truck driver, right side 900 lead mute grab, into left side 1080 normal mute grab.
How’d it feel at the bottom? I was really curious to see what score they’d give, because it was the best I’ve ever skied.
What are your other goals this season? I’m really hoping to get in to the X Games this winter. That’s definitely a bigger possibility now, to get a spot. I just need to do well again here at the next Dew Tour.
What’s the story behind your name? My mom was born in Hawaii and my great grandma, Dick’s mother, her maiden name was Blanche Winger before she married Bill Barrymore. And my mom wanted to name me Tai, so they brought up Wing Tai, and Wing Tai in Chinese means “forever peaceful.”
What other plans do you have? I don’t think I’d ever go to college. I’m kind of just an average ski bum right now that‘s kind of made it work.