Tahoe’s David Wise has been taking pipe to a whole new level lately, to be arguably the no. 1 in the world as we head towards the first ever Olympic pipe showdown for skiers. Snow Action’s Freestyle Editor Jodan Cook skied with him on a camp as teenagers a few years back, and caught up for an update on how far he’s come in that time, as a skier & person
It has been years since we chilled and skied together back in Tahoe and David has been a busy busy man since then, putting together mind blowing runs and collecting medals from world class events across the globe. If that isn’t enough he has also started a family and has already brought the next generation of Wise skiers into the world with daughter Nayeli.
Q. Dave, last time I saw you we were doing a shoot at Sky Tavern just outside Reno, chilling and talking about what we would do after school, can you give us a breakdown of how you went from respected local shredder to global superstar skier man?
A. Ha ha, well, I guess it was all just a journey. There was never exactly a defining moment when I said: “Wow, now I’ve really made it.” I just tried to improve a little bit every single day. If you continue to improve on a daily basis, you will eventually reach the top.
Q. How do you manage to balance having a young family at home and having such a demanding schedule for comps and increasingly hectic filming requirements?
A. It is all about balance. I am passionate about all aspects of skiing; competing, filming, and just skiing. But to be a good family man I have to be equally passionate about my family. I have to make sure that I don’t give too much of myself to one thing and ignore the other. Being a professional skier has its perks and drawbacks. I spend a lot of time away from my family, but when I am home I have a lot more time than a normal person would have to hang out with them. It’s a trade off.
Q. Filming with Warren Miller must have been a crazy experience! How did they get in contact with you and what was it like filming with such a legendary filmmaker?
A. I heard from a friend that Warren Miller was going to be filming at Northstar, and I basically just talked to the producer and invited myself. I shot with Tom Day for one afternoon, and we got so many good shots that he invited me back the next day and told me to invite some friends. I t really was a case of “right place, right time”, but I gave the shoot everything that I had because I was so excited to be filming with Warren Miller.
Q. How do you feel skiing has changed you? You have to deal with some huge life events, pressures and setbacks. Do you think skiing has changed your perspective and strengthened you throughout your life?
A. Skiing has taught me many things, but most of all perseverance. While I will admit that it was a lot of fun, no part of this journey was ever easy. I had to work hard and get over a lot of obstacles. Through skiing I’ve learned that if there is something that you want with all your heart, you have to keep fighting till you get it.
Q. You came out of the blocks swinging on the 4FRNT switchblades to win your first X-Gold. How is it being a part of the 4FRNT family and being involved in designing your own pro models and seeing how things happen from the inside of a ski company?
A. 4FRNT really is a family. It is such a cool company, that it is easy to support them with everything that I am, and they support me in return. Designing my own pro model with those guys has been a blast. The first pair of prototypes that I skied blew my mind, and every ski has gotten a little better since.
Q. What is next for you? What can we look forward to from the coming season? More big movie segments, events you’ll be hitting, new tricks you’re working on?
A. For the first half of the season I will be making a huge push for the Olympics. That means a lot of pipe skiing, training, and competitions. After the Olympics in February I plan to spend the majority of the rest of the season filming, and getting into the other aspects of skiing that the pipe circuit has taken me away from for the last couple years.
Q. Where is your favorite place to ski pipe, park and all round? What has been your favorite trip so far?
A. Skiing in Tahoe has always been, and always will be my favorite. Northstar always has amazing parks and pipes, and the powder days we get out here are unmatched. I think going to Japan was my favorite trip so far, they have a very interesting and cool culture and some of the best skiing in the world.
Q. How long until you get your little tacker on skis? Will you be hoping Nayeli gets into freeskiing?
A. Too late for this question, we already took her skiing this year. She was 15 months old at the time, and she mostly hated it (we all know how much ski boots suck at first), but as soon as we got going fast and the wind was in her face she started laughing.
Q. What is running through your head before you drop in for your run?
A. Before I drop in I am probably just thinking about the subtle things that I need to focus on in my run to pull it off. I try not to focus on anything outside of that. For one moment I am thinking about nothing else except skiing.
Q. What keeps you motivated to keep pushing yourself in the gym and on the snow?
A. I’ve always been obsessed with pushing myself to new limits, not just in skiing, but in life. If I ever spend too much time without learning something new or improving something, I start to get internally frustrated. I don’t know why, thats just the way that I am.
Q. For the coming season who do you think is going to be on crushing it?
A. Torin Yater Wallace, Mike Riddle, and Kevin Rolland will continue to crush it, and I think that Justin Dorey is going to make a serious comeback this season. There are so many good guys out there now that it is hard to name them all.
Q. Can you give some tips to the young readers out there on how to keep healthy, progress safely and how to get to the next level with their skiing?
A. Progress is good, but you don’t need to learn too much too fast. Be calculated. Learn things in baby steps, and be satisfied, even if the progress that you’ve made seems small. It is totally possible to break things down and learn them on the trampoline first so that you don’t have to slam yourself the first time you try them on snow. That being said, if you keep pushing the limits, at some point you are going to crash, during those times is is really key to be strong and flexible. I spend my entire summer in the gym and on my mountain bike getting ready for the ski season.
Q. How do you feel about skiing’s split between the grungy Tanner and Henrik style vs. the jock-like Bobby Brown and Nick Goepper syles? Where do you see yourself on that scale?
A. I enjoy the different styles of skiing. I think that is what makes skiing cool, there is no right or wrong way to do something, there is just preference. On any given day each person is free to go out and ski exactly the way that they think looks good, and it is up to the people who watch to decide what they like. I guess I would hope that I fit somewhere in the middle of that scale: I try to be steezy and unique on everything that I do, but I do wash my clothes from time to time.
Q. What is your favorite Australian animal? Remember, we don’t ride kangaroos to school!
A. Hands down my favorite Aussie animal is the Koala Bear. I’ve liked them ever since I was a little tacker.