Inaugural U.S. Freeskiing team taps Yater-Wallace

By Real Aspen
Real AspenJune 16, 2011
High-flying local Torin Yater-Wallace is landing on the first ever U.S. Freeskiing national team.
Torin Yater-Wallace

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) this week formally announced that Yater-Wallace, of Basalt, is among nine skiers invited to a dryland training camp at the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City. The announcement comes on the heels of a decision by the International Olympic Committee to add halfpipe skiing to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Over the winter, at the age of 15, Yater-Wallace turned heads at the ESPN Winter X Games in Aspen when he electrified the home crowd with a silver-gold-winning performance. Just a freshman at Aspen High School, he became the third youngest male to ever compete at Winter X and the youngest competitor at this year's acclaimed event at Buttermilk Mountain.

Yater-Wallace, now 16 years old, quickly followed up his breakout X Games performance with a World Cup win in the halfpipe competition in La Plagne, France, in March.

Athletes invited to the first U.S. Freeskiing Pro Halfpipe Team for the 2011-12 season include X Games champions Jen Hudak of Salt Lake City and Simon Dumont of Bethel, Maine. All nine of the athletes were invited based on competition results from the past season. The selection process for the inaugural Olympic team will be determined over the next two years with that team being named just prior to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Simon Dumont working out this week at USSA's Center of Excellence in Park City.
Sarah Ely/U.S. Ski Team

"These are the best American athletes competing in the sport today," said U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing Director Jeremy Forster. "They have played a key role in the formation of their sport and helped influence the IOC decision to include halfpipe skiing through their skills as athletes."

Under the new Pro Team program, U.S. Freeskiing will provide support for the athletes at both dryland and on-snow camps, plus competition programs including the U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix, X Games and other events. Athletes will also have access for training at the USSA Center of Excellence.

In addition, USSA halfpipe coach Mike Jankowski of Portland, Ore., will provide support for U.S. Freeskiing halfpipe athletes just as he does for the U.S. Snowboarding Pro Team.

"Mike is one of the most knowledgeable halfpipe coaches in the sport and has a long track record of athletic success," said Forster. "His knowledge and leadership will be an asset for our U.S. Freeskiing Pro Team athletes as an adjunct to the programs some of them already have in place on their own."

The USSA has already announced a series of major partners with the new U.S. Freeskiing brand, including The North Face, Delta Air Lines and High Sierra. The North Face will play a major role leading up to 2014 as official uniform supplier for the U.S. Freeskiing Olympic Team.

"Freeskiing is a rapidly growing segment of the skiing market worldwide," said USSA's Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson. "It provides us an opportunity to build further scale in our sport to attract partners to support athletes and to grow the overall base of skiers in America, as well."

Here is the nominated roster for the U.S. Freeskiing Halfpipe Pro Team:
Jen Hudak works out in the USSA Center of Excellence in the U.S. Freeskiing Pro team's first dryland camp.
Sarah Ely/U.S. Ski Team

Simon Dumont, Bethel, Maine
David Wise, Reno, Nev.
Torin Yater-Wallace, Basalt, Colo.
Tucker Perkins, North Hampton, N.H.
Gus Kenworthy, Telluride, Colo.
Devin Logan, West Dover, Vt.
Jen Hudak, Salt Lake City, Utah
Jess Cumming, Beaver Creek, Colo.
Brita Sigourney, Carmel, Calif.

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