Last night COED.com was invited to meet some of today’s greatest United States freeskiiers and Olympic team hopefuls (left to right: John Teller, Maddie Bowman, Aaron Blunck, Devin Logan, and Tom Wallisch) as they helped to reveal The North Face’s official freeskiing uniforms for The 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Normally reserved for competitions like the X Games, the 2014 Sochi Olympics will mark the first time that freeskiing events are included in the games. So who better than The North Face to design and provide uniforms for the 2014 U.S. Freeskiing Team? The North Face is quite literally the first brand to have sponsored a freeskiier in the history of the sport (Scot Schmidt).
It’s now been 30 years since Scot first signed that contract and the sport of freeskiing has transformed from small potatoes into one of the world’s most exciting sports (point and case right here). We got to talk to one of the United States’ best freestyle skiiers Tom Wallisch on what it means to hopefully represent his country, his favorite on-mountain meals, and why he’s amped to have The North Face in his corner.
COED: Keeping our fingers crossed,Tom, how does it feel to be a heavy favorite to represent the US in Slopestyle–an event that’s going to be in the Olympics for the first time. When you were skiing as a kid did you ever imagine that you’d be in the Olympics?
Tom Wallisch: No definitely not. I mean when I grew up skiing I got into free skiing because I didn’t like racing. I didn’t like moguls. I never thought the Olympics were possible. Free skiing was never a sport that was in the Olympics. So for me the X Games were the coolest thing. Going and skiing out of a helicopter that was like the coolest sh*t you can do. But now it’s crazy to see the sport come full circle. The Olympics is this insanely huge thing and bigger than all of us and it now wants us. Action sports like freeski, slopestyle, halfpipe, snowboarding. It’s scary.
It’s a huge opportunity. And it never was a dream or a goal but now it’s what I really want to do. I really want to go out there. The Olympics are an event from ancient Greek times. This is a really cool thing. It’s surreal.
Who are some of the countries that are going to give the United States a run for their money in the freestyle skiing events?
I mean there’s a lot of good guys. There’s a lot of Central European countries like France, Scandinavia, Sweden, Norway, Finland. A couple of good guys from down in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand and Australia. People from all over the world.
You know obviously freestyle started here in North America so that’s where a lot of the talent comes from. I don’t know man, the sports is so worldly now. So many talented people. Everyday it’s different. Every slope course. The weather. Who knows? It’ll come down to who’s on that day.
Obviously you’re a better skier than I am but we all have to eat eventually. What’s your favorite on-mountain meal?
I usually do a big breakfast. I’m a big fan of not stopping in the middle of it. Big breakfast with lots of coffee to get pumped up and then I usually just ski until I want to drop dead. And then I’m a burger and fry kind of guy.
No mountain chilli?
No I wouldn’t hit the mountain chili. I’d probably get the cheeseburger and fries and a nice cold beer to cool off apres ski on the porch a little. Have fun.
What’s it like to have North Face on your team?
It’s amazing to be working with the North Face and to be a part of the development of these uniforms. And to be able to wear that clothing in Sochi, it’s amazing. It’s such an amazing company that’s been around supporting free skiing since literally the first free ski contract was ever signed. Scott Schmidt 30 years now, it’s amazing to be supporting something that big. They’ve done such a great job and I can’t wait to wear the red, white, and blue and the TNF symbol.
Inspired by the theme of “Rebel Americana,” The North Face incorporated the ideas of a counter-culture attitude into the U.S. Freeskiing uniforms. They’re baggier than what you’re used to seeing on Olympians, ballsier, and have been tried and tested by the best freeskiiers in the sport.
Every single attention to detail has been paid, from making sure the colors are visually appealing to judges in rain, sleet, or snow; to talking with the athletes about which fabrics performed the best for what they needed.
But in addition to all the modern technology and fabrics, there’s still a nod to The North Face’s history and involvement with some winter sports. Every single 2014 U.S. Freeskiing Competition Uniforms include a piece of an expedition-worn Everest Himalayan suit embroidered with the slogan “Bigger Than Me,” a sentiment carried by each of the athletes who spoke to us. The athletes who make the US Freeskiing team will represent their sport, their country, and their passion to the entire world.
To get a glimpse at the incredible uniforms our athletes will be winning in, peep the gallery below.