The last time we heard from X Games gold medalist Tom Wallisch was when he announced he had torn his left ACL and would not be competing in the Olympics. The news came as a huge bummer to ski fans everywhere, as Wallisch has legitimately put the sport of slopestyle on the mainstream map over the past few years.
However, the blow was lessened a bit this week when I Ride Park City released their newest edit featuring Wallisch. The Pennsylvania native looked smooth, stylish, and, more importantly, healthy as he rolled off of Park City’s vast array of features. For a moment, we saw a glimpse of what could have been at Sochi this year—Wallisch skiing as if nothing had even happened to his knee.
But then reality sets in a bit. Wallisch lands every trick backwards, or switch, not because he thinks it looks cool, but because without an ACL it’s the only way he can land safely. By landing backwards he eliminates the jarring force on the part of the knee that the ACL connects, thus preventing further damage to the area. It’s a huge risk, but Wallisch somehow makes it look easy.
It’s kind of a bizarre feeling watching the slopestyle star operate at half strength (especially since his half strength could still land him on competitive podiums), but it’s comforting to see him on snow again. He has a long road of recovery ahead, but clips like this ensure that he’ll be back soon to carry the flag he raised in the first place.
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