All smiles: Q&A with freerider Walter Wood



Walter Wood is always smiling. And at age 16, he should be one happy kid after a stellar season competing against the world’s best freeriders.
    This season the Colorado-based skier nabbed an eighth place at the World Cup in Inawashiro, Japan, and got 10th at the U.S. Open in Vail. Ski Racing caught up with Walter at the Jeep King of the Mountain/48 Straight halfpipe contest in Sun Valley last month where he impressed the crowd by throwing down solid 1080s and finishing seventh. He finished the season, however, on the podium at the U.S. Freestyle Championships in Park City, Utah, with a second place in the halfpipe.
    This summer look for Walter perfecting his tricks at the Utah Olympic Park where he trains with No. 2 world ranked pipe skier Jen Hudak. He also will be showcasing his skills as the youngest skier performing at the Flying Ace All-Stars show.


WALTER WOOD is always smiling. And at age 16, he should be one happy kid after a stellar season competing against the world’s best freeriders.
    This season the Colorado-based skier nabbed an eighth place at the World Cup in Inawashiro, Japan, and got 10th at the U.S. Open in Vail. Ski Racing caught up with Walter at the Jeep King of the Mountain/48 Straight halfpipe contest in Sun Valley last month where he impressed the crowd by throwing down solid 1080s and finishing seventh. He finished the season, however, on the podium at the U.S. Freestyle Championships in Park City, Utah, with a second place in the halfpipe.
    This summer look for Walter perfecting his tricks at the Utah Olympic Park where he trains with No. 2 world ranked pipe skier Jen Hudak. He also will be showcasing his skills as the youngest skier performing at the Flying Ace All-Stars show. That’s where the country’s top aerialists perform for the public, throwing full-fulls, screamin’ seamans and backflips. He regularly hits the biggest jump specifically built for aerials training, but nonetheless, Walter goes off “mongo,” which shoots him 70-plus feet in the air. “To have that much air time, you can do anything you want up there,” Walter said. “That’s what freeride is all about — to push the limits and try new things.”

Ski Racing: What have been your highlights this year?
Walter Wood: I got 10th at the U.S. Open for slopestyle, which was a huge career highlight for me so far this season. I went to Japan and got eighth at the Inawashiro World Cup, which basically got me into this [Sun Valley] competition. Now I’m just trying to do school work and ski, but I can do it.

SR: What do you think about Jeep King of the Mountain/48 Straight?
WW: It’s one of the biggest competitions I’ve been to by far. The prize money is like X Games, it’s huge! … I went out last night to see Swollen Members, my favorite band. To see them live pumped me up for today. I was so stoked.

SR: What’s it like competing with the likes of veterans Simon Dumont and Peter Olenick?
WW: I’ve looked up to all these guys, the big guns — Peter Olenick and Simon — I mean to compete next to them, stand next to them, it’s like ‘Whoa!’

SR: Working on anything new right now?
WW: I’m not learning new tricks right now, it’s just mostly consistency, landing my runs and getting it down. I’m working on 12s. I want to get some 1260s going but right now I’m just keeping it smooth with the 10 at the bottom [of my run].

SR: Getting amplitude is huge in halfpipe. How do you compete as a little guy?
WW: I’m still a youngin’. I’m just trying to work on my skiing skills in the halfpipe, switching from edge to edge, weighting, popping, learning how to ride the pipes — the undervert pipes, the oververt pipes.

SR: You spend the summers at the Utah Olympic Park training at the splash pool, right?
WW: I’m going to Park City this summer and will try to do the shows again. Get some money so I can go to New Zealand [to train on snow].

SR: You’re putting a lot of time in. Do a lot of kids your age do what you do?
WW: Duncan Adams is my biggest competitor. He’s my age. He skis out of Breckenridge. I ski out of Keystone. I see him at every competition and he’s throwing down. I try to step it up. We’re good friends but competitors. He’s a super cool kid.

Comments

comments



skiracingmag's Latest Youtube Favorite


See more Ski Racing Videos in our Video Vault


Ski Racing Magazine LB1