Wallisch Leads Tahoe Dew Tour Slopestyle Prelims

Feb 21, 2009

Author: SBC Staff and Justin Broglio, Dew Tour

Six Canadians in Top 20  – If you don’t follow freeskiing, I’m sorry you’re missing out because what went down Friday in the Slopestyle Prelims at Northstar-at-Tahoe Dew Tour was something of pure beauty. To say the least, everyone here at the media lounge is flipping out with excitement for Saturday’s Men’s Slopestyle Final.


Pittsburgh native Tom Wallisch stepped into the start tent Friday morning and never looked back. His heat-one score of 91.17 grabbed the top of the board and didn't budge all afternoon. Some of the industry's most well known, accomplished and respected riders tried and tried again to hack away at Wallisch’s perfect run. In the end, even Winter X Games 13 Gold medalist Simon Dumont, whose 88.83 stood a fat two points below Wallisch. In third place came Canadian Alexis Godbout, who was nearly out of the mix before nailing a right 9 into switch 1260 on the last two hits; for his tech work in his second and final run, Alexis stood in a close third-place finish at 88.50.

Tom Wallisch Men's Slopestyle leader after prelimns

What’s astounding to say the least, is how Wallisch didn’t have much to say about his flawless performance today. “I don’t know. I’m just having fun,” he said in the Winter Dew
Tour Athletes' Lounge. “The course is not very big, but the features are super fun, and there’s a lot of room for variety," he said. "I switched up my run the second time and I guess that did it.”

Wallisch, who rose to fame after winning the Level 1 Superunknown
contest IV three years ago with a YouTube video of his skiing, did indeed “switch up his run” by tossing in a Rodeo 6 and Rodeo 9 off the first rail and cannon pipe and a smooth (and I mean baby’s bottom smooth) switch right 10 to switch left 10 on the last two hits.

Fellow Slopestyle Prelim skiers standing course-side during Wallisch’s second run were nothing short of hyped. They proclaimed Tom's run "amazing”, and his style “heavenly”. Others took it a step further: “He’s a god”, “why don’t they just give him the cash now?”

Beyond Wallisch, the first heat featured Kiwi Josiah Wells' perfect
450s onto the metal and Aussie Russ Henshaw's rightside cork 900
into double cork 1080 with the mute grab (the latter which he learned only two months ago). Dumont, who was fighting back the flu all morning, tossed in a 1260 on the last hit after cranking 10’s all morning. And Derek Spong, 18, whose techy switch left 10 into switch right 10 nearly rivaled Wallisch's.

Trying to calm myself from the madness I witnessed during heat-one, I
smashed down a PB&J (yeah, I make my lunch at home) and a Dew Voltage
before heat two began. It didn’t work.

Nick Martini sparked off heat-two with a 85.33-earning run, which included a Rodeo 6 to Right 7 to 270 Disaster to Left 9. By finishing off with back-to-back switch 10s, he slid himself into fourth place, just behind Wells.

The last five riders of the day launched the battle for third place. Surge leader 23-year-old Canadian Charles Gagnier snagged an 86.17, who was followed closely by Mike Riddle--yesterday’s Men’s Superpipe number-one qualifier--who threw down a run that included his version of the flat 540. Let's slow things down here a sec; Riddle's signature "Barrow" is a combination flatspin truck driver grab which he tweaks out to make it look as if he's shooting a bow and arrow mid-spin). Riddle’s 86.50 edged out Gagnier just before Sammy “The Crow” Carlson dropped in with a 450 disaster. Carlson moved to sixth, from where he pushed Philip Casabon out of contention, and Anders Backe to tenth place.

The ultimate run--and one of the best all day--belonged to Alexis
Godbout. His switch backlip 270 on the first rail and right 900 to
switch 1260 on the last hits were just a few of Québécois's exploits that led the judges to award him an 88.50--a score high enough to send Anders Backe hiking home to Vikersund, yet ultimately three-tenths below Simon's 88.83.

Today (Saturday) the 10 men below will battle it out with slopestyle top
pre-quailifers Bobby Brown and Per-Kristian Hunter added to the mix. JF
Houle, who was recently injured during X-Games practice, will be absent
from the California slopes, which leaves open not only an extra entrance to the Final, but another spot on the podium, as well. As for
who’s going to fill it? It’s anyone’s guess. As for me, I'm heading straight home to a cold shower.


1. Tom Wallisch, USA (Skull Candy, Amplid, Spy, Kombi, Jiberish)  91.17

2. Simon Dumont, USA (Red Bull, Salomon, Oakley)   88.83

3. Alexis Godbout, CAN (Salomon, Scott) 88.50

4.  Mike Riddle, CAN (Smith, DaKIne, Skull Candy)  86.50

5. Charles Gagnier, CAN (Salomon, Spy, Bula)  86.17

6. Josiah Wells, NZ  (Atomic, Oakley, Monster, Nike 6.0, Skull Candy, Giro) 85.67

7. Sammy Carlson, USA (Rockstar, Salomon, Oakley)  85.50

8. Nick Martini, USA (Salomon) 85.33

9. Russ Henshaw, AUS (Volkl, Red Bull, Marker) 85.17

10. Matt Walker, USA (Salomon, Scott, Skull Candy)  83.00

11. Anders Backe, NOR (Electric, POC, Level, Skull Candy) 82.00

12. Philip Casabon, CAN (Orage, Oakley, Armada)  81.00

13.  Gus Kenworthy, USA (Smith, CoreUPT, Skull Candy) 80.50

14. Derek Spong, USA (Fischer, Oakley) 80.33

15. Oscar Scherlin, SWE (Head, Oakley, Kombi, Red Bull) 79.17

16. Henrik Harlaut, SWE (Ninthward, Scott, Salomon, Jiberish, Skull Candy) 79.00

17. Sean Jordan, USA (Lib Tech, Bern) 77.50

18. TJ Schiller, CAN (Monster, Orage, Armada, Dragon) 76.50

19. Banks Gilberti, USA (Line, Orage, Anon, Red, Level) 74.17

20. Matt Margetts, CAN (K2, Orage, Smith) 73.33


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