"Yo What's up!? My name is Tom Wallisch and I'm a professional freestyle skier. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, skiing at a small resort in Maryland called Wisp. I graduated from Chartiers Valley High School in 2006 and moved to Salt Lake City to continue my education at the University of Utah. I am currently living in Salt Lake City and still attending classes at the University.
I travel all year long for ski contest and filming. I have the opportunity to ski all over the world and experience many different cultures. I absolutely love skiing and everything about it. I love skiing at new resorts, sliding handrails in foreign cities, and everything in between. Skiing is my life. And I love my life, friends, and everything in it. I wouldn't have it any other way.
So hopefully everyone enjoys the page, It's just a little insight into my life, and the things I do!
Pickup a copy of The Wallisch Project in iTunes today -- https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-wallisch-project/id679550099
Why did you pick the music that you did for the video? Instead of say the normal tupac?
KD: If we went with a Tupac track we would have immediately went over budget on the project and wouldn’t have a single ski shot to show. We also wanted to freshen things up and not go with the stereotypical park/urban edit to hip hop.
TW: Love Tupac for sure, but sometimes it’s nice to change it up and add some different style to what we’re doing.
If you had cameras on you right now and were standing at the top of the in-run to Chad's Gap, with a limit of 30 seconds to get yourself together (the heli is low on fuel), what trick would you throw? Would you pussy out or huck your meat?
TW: Well of course I’d be #ALLIN Gotta go big or go home right!?
How was filming in Calgary with JP/Sherpas? Was that the first time working with JP? It's a super cool seggy.
Are you going back to filming with L1P/Field etc this year, or are you going to be cutting down due to Sochi this winter?
What was the dynamic at the spot when you were filming for TWP, and the rest of the crew was filming for Partly Cloudy/etc?
KD: We invited some Level 1 friends tag along on a few trips because we simply like working with guys like McChesney, Ware, Niklas, etc.
TW: JP/Sherpas shoot for Into the Mind was really cool. Crazy different from most urban shoots I’ve ever been on. It’s cool to switch it up and showcase urban skiing in a different way. The crew for TWP was cool, we got to invite a lot of our good friends out to shoot and feature then in other flicks like “Partly Cloudy” and “All Damn Day”
What has the shift in your life been like, going from a skier winning online video contests, to someone that we straight up see on prime time TV commercials?
TW: Haha I guess it hasn’t changed all that much. All the new coverage and exposure is great but I’m still doing the same stuff as before. Skiing all day everyday, partying with the crew and enjoying life.
WHAT YOU GOTTA SAY TO ALL THE HATAZ?
KD: Nothing. I’ve learned over the years its not worth getting fired up about the small stuff. Do you and they do them. Most of the time its someone who has zero perspective or experience about the point they are “hataz” about.
TW: Haters gotta hate
To date, how many "copies" have you sold?
KD: We’re very satisfied with the numbers and the response giving enough reason to do more projects in the future.
Was there any financial support for the making of TWP? If so, how were you able to pitch the idea to sponsors and get them to back a single rider and filmmaker's idea?
KD: The sponsors are supporting Tom on a similar financial level as they would have if he was involved in (usually several) movie segments. The difference is Wallisch has control of his project budgets which gives him more flexibility to work with solely around his schedule. Rather than having their logo placement in a mix of other brands (often competitors) they are the exclusive (ski, clothing, etc) sponsor. The sponsors have access to an unfiltered library of premium content which is often the most valuable benefit we can offer. Since Wallisch owns the footage, we’re able to distribute it to media outlets like NBC, ESPN, ABC, etc without any complicated and expensive licensing deals. This ups Wallisch’s own exposure as well as his sponsors exposure to new heights past just the project. Everyone wins because all interests are aligned.
TW: ^Holy crap Kyle, great response right there! We had great support for the project and without The North Face, Monster, Scott, GoPro, and Skullcandy it never would have happened!
It's hard to argue that there's a better rider out there that could pull off such a project other than Tom. Do you think there will be a trend of more 1 rider/filmer flicks on the scale of TWP in the future, or would you say TWP will remain unique for years to come?
KD: I’ve been approached and I’ve spoken with a crazy number of athletes that are either doing projects or have the desire to go that route. Obviously it doesn’t work for everyone because the cost of traveling and producing premium video worthy content isn’t cheap.
TW: I think we’ll definitely see more of this type of film content. It gives the rider and filmer so much control over what they’re producing.
What was the difference in dynamic and mood getting shots for this movie compared to level 1 films? Did you hit these spots with a crew or just you and Decker?
TW: The biggest difference was simply that Kyle and I did literally whatever we wanted. Most of the time film trips and athletes are chosen long in advance. This season we just followed the snow and drove/flew to wherever we thought the conditions would be best to capture the footage we wanted. We had a crew for a lot of the film spots, but sometimes it was just me and Kyle.
Tell me whats better. Your 9 minutes of pure Bangers or Miley Cyrus' new album Bangerz?
TW: Wow, tough one
Which is your Favourite ns nickname, if any?
1. Tommy wallnuts
2. Tom wamstick
3. Tommy whalefish
TW: Probably just Walnuts or Wally
In all seriousness, a lot of ns members complained that the project was too short, after spending a season on creating the project do you feel that the project was shorter than you expected? Or was it the appropriate length.
KD: Wallisch and I sat down in November before we started shooting and talked at length about what he wanted. Did he want talking, documentary style, length, etc. He specifically said he wanted a 6-10 minute segment, no filler, no talking, etc. I’m confident that shorter is almost always better. I’d much rather watch a 30 minute ski film than a 60 minute ski film.
TW: Well we can’t possibly please everyone. Yes we could have put in more behind the scenes, more interviews, more shots of police, more crashes, more skiers, and more whatever else. But we wanted to do something different. The plan was to create a segment short and sweet that could satisfy the viewer. I wanted the video to be something kids could watch on the chairlift on their smartphone to get hyped. Something you could watch in class, right before going skiing, or simply when you had a few minutes to spare. The amount of locations and features filmed did take all season and thousands of hours of hard work, but we wanted to showcase only the absolute best moments.
Are you planning on filming BC more once the olympics are over? (pretty, pretty please)
TW: Of course. Hell I just want to simply get out and ski/sled in the backcountry more. Way more to come. Don’t worry.
What is your favorite RoundtopRiders edit?
TW: Haha, hmmm… Probably the Zoolander edit at mammoth, or maybe A weekend at Tammy’s made by the one and only Tom Warnick. RIP buddy.
Why did you feel the need to reuse Ike's Mood? I mean caaaahm aaawwwn. Was sick though. - taj.
KD: Caaaahm aawwnn….. really? ha. Do you honestly think we were aware of it being used and still moved forward? Ike’s Mood worked perfect and complimented beggin’. Honestly this wasn’t on our radar at all, I didn’t know it was used until someone brought it to our attention upon release. I got input from quite a few skiers an industry folks throughout the summer and no one noticed it or brought it to our attention.
Do you see other skiers branch away from the traditional 3 minute segment in a movie and venture on into the year-long projects like you did yourself? Maybe even a full-length feature from skiers? - Deebieskeebies
TW: Definitely. We’ve heard from a good bit of people that are moving in the same direction.
10 years from now... Do you see yourself still filming urban and park? Or more backcountry and big mountain? - marco92ns
TW: Hopefully still doing both. I would love to do way more backcountry, but I can’t leave the park and urban behind. Rails are my roots and I’ll always love filming urban.
Was editorial a 2 year process, or did that primarily come at toward the end of filming? - Holte
KD: This was a 1 year project.
Will you ever come back to PA and ski your home mountain? - Krabby_Patty
TW: Heck ya. I just don’t really know when
What made you decide to join the triple club at the TNF shoot in Whistler? - jromero
TW: It’s just fun to try new stuff and push your own limits. Why not?
After seeing all the new films that dropped this fall, is there any particular feature in a skier's segment that you wish you could have hit? What film/feature, and what would you have thrown down? - runnerboy1
TW: I just wish I could have watch Tim Mcchesney crash for two days straight on that INSANE rail closeout to opp wallride in Level 1’s “Partly Cloudy” That shot was wild!
Will you ever trust someone when they say "the landing goes on forever" ever again? - life_is_hood
KD: Go big or go home I saw that on a T-Shirt somewhere.
TW: Ha probably
After seeing what others have put out this past season in terms of urban segments, do you think you could've pushed it harder? - FredyFerl
KD: Its not a competition. Do what you do best keeps skiers unique and films unique.
TW: Umm. I thought i did just fine. Sorry
How did you go about balancing college and skiing? - psiemens
Tuesday/Thursday classes and a lot of late nights studying. Just have to balance each day
If you had a chance to ski with one skier, who is no longer around, who would you choose? Why? - Aaron_
Shane Mcconkey. Out of all the legends we have lost in this sport, he’s one of the only ones I never actually got to shred with. RIP
After seeing your disaster 270 in, pretz 270 out at the beginning of the 2nd song, i gotta know if you sold your soul to satan? If yes, how do u get a hold of him? - GangstaHop
KD: I’m confused.
TW: 666-666-666 Good luck
Did the movie do well from a sales perspective? I'm curious to hear if its revenue was comparable to that of launching a full movie, or if it was dramatically lower. - Mr.Bishop
KD: The movie did better numbers than most traditional full movies.
What is your favorite shot you have gotten from any movie, segment, or edit? - One.2
TW: Probably the Down-C-Down rail from 4BI9’s “Beggin for Change”
What was the worst crash you had while filming The Wallisch Project? - Dode
TW: The Backcountry overshoot in the credits. Holy Sh** was that scary
Every single trick in that edit was very impressive, but it blows my mind every time i see that 2 pretz 2 on that gap to red down rail. How do you pretzel so darn fast? - simon.k
TW: Practice makes perfect!
Could you please define the what "snake" means? http://statigr.am/p/394964032338568560_2836576 - t_rob
KD: We found the spot on our own and set it up on our own, we even had to cut a lock on a trash can to make it hitable. Chris Bradshaw and his crew rolled by and everyone was friendly and we were nice enough to leave it setup for them. He took the picture as they were waiting for us to finish up. We noticed that on instagram later. Nothing gets snowboarders more fired up than ski hate… Well…. at least he got 1 shot on that feature.
TW: Haha, just some snowboarders we let hit one of our features after us. You’re welcome guys!
Do you ever miss just skiing with friends? Not being as intense, just having fun. - notch
TW: Luckily I get to do this all the time! Everyday at PC and elsewhere in the world, I get to do this!
How do you feel about being sponsored by a company who people say aren't supportive of freeskiing and got in the freeskiing industry just for the money? (north face) - BlakeR
KD: North Face is supportive of freeskiing. This project wouldn’t have been possible without their support. They were very supportive of this project and could have easily been against it. Lets be honest some of the shots in this project are high risk and if they were in it just for the money wouldn't they want Wallisch to avoid these type of situations. Ever heard of skiers like Scott Schmidt?
TW: I just want to chime in here and say, TNF not only sponsors Wallisch and other athletes, but also the only Open series in freeskiing, film projects like The Wallisch Project and Stept, and have been supporting athletes like Sage, Ian Mac, and Ingrid Backstrom, as well as all of their film projects,for years. Freeskiing is not just contests and Olympics, it is everything, and North Face supports every aspect of the sport, and has been for a long time.
There were maybe 2 clips of bails. How many times do you actually take a slam before you get the shot? for example the last clip in the film. - Lukegnar
TW: There were definitely a lot of bails, and a lot of mess ups. Most of the shots in the film took many many attempts to accomplish. Last shot was one of the scarier rails I’ve ever hit and falling from that high sucks!
@Tom. After completing TWP and producing what I regard as the best short ski film ever, are you looking at doing TWP 2.0 next season or returning to filming more with Level 1/Field/etc?
@Kyle. Same question as Tom's, but also curious to know if you are looking at doing a similar project with any other athletes if another one with Tom isn't feasible? Also I am a huge fan of your motion shots. Thank you for being so good at them. - skicowboy
KD: Thanks! I’m still in the works of planning my upcoming season.
TW: Definitely looking forward to doing bigger and better things like TWP in the future! Just gonna have to wait and see I guess
How do you deal with cops? Any crazy stories about getting busted during filming this project or sometime during your career? - john18061806
TW: It’s just something the goes hand in hand with urban skiing. Some cops are cool and like to watch what you’re doing, other times you get kicked out or ticketed. Sucks :(
I remember watching a few interview videos of you explaining how you balance skiing and school. You said that you knew skiing wouldn't be possible for you to live off of forever. Out of sheer curiosity... What are you studying? What do you plan to do with that degree? Where do you see yourself job wise in 10 years? - happygaper
TW: Business Administration. I plan on using my degree to simply excel in life hopefully. I plan on still skiing and putting out films 10 years from now, but who knows what will happen. A degree is something just good to have.
Thanks for all the questions everyone!! Have a sick season!