David Wise, 23, crushes the halfpipe. He punched his ticket to Sochi after his win at the third stop of the Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo., sealing his spot on the inaugural U.S. Freeskiing Olympic Team. A former racer, Wise is now a gold medal favorite.
We caught up with Wise to chat about his plans for the Games, down time, and the excitement growing around the sport of freeskiing.
Have you been working on anything special for the Olympics?
I have been working towards a "dream run" ever since it was announced that the sport was going to be in the Olympics. I do have a run that I hope to be doing, but things can always change, and you never know what the conditions will be like on the day of the contest.
What has been your strategy for competitions this winter?
Qualifying for the Olympic team was one of my main goals for the early season. I was focusing pretty hard on the Dew Tour and the Grand Prix. At the same time, freeskiers owe a lot to the existence of the X Games. It was the X Games that originally put freeskiing on the world stage. A lot of people have been asking if I plan on competing in the X Games this year—since it isn’t part of the Olympic qualification process—but I’m definitely planning on competing in the X Games. It will be a good warm-up for the Olympics.
What do you do to train for skiing?
I use a "no stone unturned" technique. I do just about everything that I can think of to keep improving: I hit the gym with my trainer Max McManus; I jump on the trampoline; I visualize the competition for hours on end; I stretch daily and dabble in yoga; I practice balance and improve strength on a slackline; I mountain bike to improve endurance; I write in a journal to improve my competition mindset; I analyze video obsessively with my coaches; I set goals for crazy new runs, and I am always thinking about where I can go next. Then I go out and ski.
What else do you do besides skiing?
I do a lot of things besides skiing. I love sports. I play on a men’s league softball team in the summer, and I mountain bike as much as possible. Cliff jumping, tennis, volleyball, wakeboarding and trampolines are some other favorites. My wife and I also help run the youth group at our church.
What’s your plan after the Olympics?
I'm sure that after the Olympics are over I am going to want to take a breather and spend some time with my friends and family. After that, I am looking forward to doing some filming in the backcountry and on jumps and rails. I want to show my versatility as a skier.
What has you most excited about freeskiing?
I am looking forward to seeing the sport of freeskiing displayed on a true global stage. The sport has come a long way, and I think it will be fun to see how we represent ourselves to the world.