A New Face? – The North Face Skiers

The North Face adds three new skiers to their global team

The North Face has signed Tom Wallisch, Nick Martini and Mike Riddle to their team, signaling their hope to win the hearts of park, urban, pipe and backcountry skiers everywhere. Upon hearing the news, I caught up with Wally, Riddle and Martini as they were wrapping up their first trip with their new sponsor in New Zealand. Despite a busy itinerary and crappy Internet service, we chatted briefly via email about penguins, the Mc Murda and their part in The North Face’s new direction.
-Mike Rogge

Tom Wallisch

Hey Tom, how’s it going?

Yoo Rogge! It’s going great! Finishing up the last few days of my trip down under. Stoked to head back to SLC soon.

How was New Zealand? I heard you saw some penguins in the wild and did some skiing.

New Zealand has been spectacular. The weather has been on and off which is pretty common down here, but it’s given us some more time off hill to go do cool stuff like visit the penguins! It was awesome to see some yellow-eyed penguins just chillin in the wild. Oh and ya we’ve skied a little bit too, it was fun. Haha

Let’s get right to it…. Why The North Face? How did this deal come about?

Why The North Face!? I guess just because of how great of a company it is. I’ve always admired all the products they make and the other athletes they support. It’s one of the biggest and most respected companies in snowsports, and you can’t really beat that! I guess the deal came about sort of randomly. The North Face is releasing a new freestyle park/pipe specific clothing line this season and wanted good athletes to represent it. I just sort of fit the mold I guess.

What are you hoping to accomplish with your new sponsor?

All types of things. I’m super excited for this coming season, knowing that I have the support of a company that will support all of my different endeavors. I’ve got some big plans for this season, and The North Face is going to help me fulfill them.

You were on Sweet Protection for a few years. Was it a hard decision to leave?

Well I didn’t fully leave Sweet Protection. I’m still going to be wearing their helmets, just not the clothing anymore. It was definitely a hard decision for me. I’ve been riding Sweet Autonomy clothing now for almost 4 years. I love the stuff and felt like I had the chance to see the clothing transform over the year from basic outerwear to stuff I was really proud to wear. In the end though, I felt I’d rather work with a clothing company based in the US, with the resources and people necessary to support me and all my future projects.

Speaking of future projects, will The North Face be involved in any upcoming 4bi9 projects?

Definitely! The North Face is stoked to support 4bi9 and all my film projects. They’re stoked on every aspect of my skiing, competing and filming. I’m stoked to do some big things next winter with all my friends at 4bi9 with the help of The North Face.

Mike Riddle

How did the TNF deal go down?
When I heard they were interested from my agent it was a no-brainer. They have been a mountain sports brand backing skiing for as long as I can remember, making some of the sickest gear out there. what’s not to like?

What are your thoughts on The North Face getting into this side of skiing?

TNF has been backing the most badass skiers forever so to expand into the newschool market was a natural progression for them and I couldn’t be more stoked to be part of the family.

What are you hoping to accomplish with your new sponsor?

I want to continue to push it in halfpipe competitions and ideally go to the Olympics in 2014, ski/film some backcountry in between events and get back into the slope game. And maybe go on some crazy expeditions!

What’s one thing, aside from skiing, that you have in common with Sage Catibriga-Alosa?
We both like to mess with Photoshop (Thanks to Todd Jones at TGR for that info)

Nick Martini

Hey Nick, how’s it going?

I’m doing awesome! Been down in NZ shredding with my friends on The North Face team.

How was New Zealand? Do anything crazy like zorbing or bungee jumping?

We had a chance to go see some penguins, which was tight! And I believe bungeeing is in the schedule so I’m pumped for that but the skiing has just been all time, and filming with the TGR crew has been crazy. They are on some next level cinematography.

Why The North Face? How did this deal come about?

The North Face has always been a huge company in snow sports and when they decided to get involved with our side of the sport this year I couldn’t have been more excited on the opportunity.

Salomon has been your outerwear sponsor for a few years. What were your thoughts on leaving them?

Salomon has supported me more than anyone in the past, and it was definitely hard to make the switch. But I will still be on Salomon skis, bindings and boots, so they will still be one of my biggest and most important sponsors. That being said, I would also like to thank Jenny Naftulin for all her help over the years helping me get where I am today.

What are you hoping to accomplish with your new sponsor?

The North Face has already offered us so many opportunities that it seems like the possibilities are endless. They have an expedition program that the whole team is involved in which is going to be crazy. Also they are interested in supporting my film interests, which is sick!

Despite being known as a big mountain brand, Biggie raps about The North Face. Are they also a gangster brand?

TNF has always been big in the mountains and on the streets. They are well known for the “Mc Murda” otherwise known as the big black puffy – Biggie was up on that for sure.