Tom Wallisch will not compete in this week's Winter X Games 15 due to a fracture of his left shoulder blade. The Salt Lake City resident was a gold-medal favorite in slopestyle and big air. But after conferring with two different orthopedic physicians in Park City, Utah, including the U.S. Ski Team's center of excellence, Wallisch elected to pull out of what would have been his second Winter X Games appearance to avoid further injury.
The 23-year-old suffered the injury while sliding a box at Park City Mountain Resort on Jan. 3. He caught an edge on the box and fell hard to the snow on his left shoulder. "I didn't think much of it because I've broken my collarbone twice [the same left shoulder], and I knew I didn't break that again," said Wallisch by phone. "I just thought it was a bruised shoulder or charley horse or something." In turn, he skied the next day, performing a slew of tricks -- "Only 5s and 7s, no double corks or anything like that," Wallisch assured -- while filming for 4bi9 Media. A week and a half later, with the pain persisting, Wallisch went to the doctor and an X-ray confirmed that he cracked his shoulder blade in half.
"I'm definitely bummed I'm going to miss X Games, but I'm stoked it's not something worse," said Wallisch. As of now, he will not do anything active for a week or two to allow the bone to heal, and then he'll perform strength training once the shoulder blade fuses together. Wallisch said he plans to return for the Snowbasin stop of the Winter Dew Tour in mid-February in addition to filming later this winter.
In the meantime, The North Face athlete will attend Winter X 15, performing various duties such as an online live chat on ESPN.com during Winter X, poster signings for his sponsors, and meet and greets with his fans.