The North Face has welcomed four new athlete ambassadors to their team (Skiers Tom Wallisch, Nick Martini and Mike Riddle, as well as snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington), which currently consists of more than 60 professional global athletes, including rock climbers, mountaineers, and ultra runners.
Here’s the skinny on all of them, via cross post from Never Stop Exploring (The official blog of The North Face Athletes and Community).
Kaitlyn Farrington grew up on a ranch in Bellevue, ID learning to ride at Baldy Mountain and traveling to ASA contests, her parents selling some of their livestock to fund her early snowboard trips. Originally a skier, the first time Kaitlyn went snowboarding, she struggled with catching her edges and everyone laughed at her from the chairlift. Since then she’s been quietly honing her skills, and well, she’s the one laughing now. Kaitlyn had a stellar 2010 season in the pipe, taking home gold at the European Winter X Games, securing the overall Dew Cup halfpipe title, taking second at the U.S. Burton Open and graduating from the rookie to pro U.S. Snowboarding Team. With a solid bag of tricks including Cab and frontside 900s, McTwists, and switch and backside spins, Kaitlyn has quickly established herself as one of the world’s top female halfpipe competitors. Kaitlyn spends her summers training in New Zealand and has her sights firmly set on an X Game gold in Aspen. MORE ON KAITLYN: Click here
Originally from Winchester, MA, Nick Martini began skiing at Cannon Mountain, NH. Though he grew up racing, once he was exposed to freestyle, he hung up the race skis and headed to the park. His passion for skiing brought him to Colorado where he attends school in Boulder in the fall and skis all winter. At just 20 years old, Nick has proven himself as a heavy hitter in the world of freestyle skiing, placing sixth in the Dew Tour Slopestyle at Mt Snow, fifth in the Dew Tour Rail Jam in Portland, and tenth overall for the Dew Tour in 2009. He also received the 2009 Alpha Dawg Award as one of the top Dew Tour athletes age 18 or younger. When he’s not competing, Nick is busy filming with Poor Boyz Productions and running his own movie company, Stept Productions, with his brother Alex. “When I was given the opportunity to work with The North Face I couldn’t have been more excited. The fact that The North Face is dedicating so much to this side of the sport is great.” MORE ON NICK: Click here
Tom Wallisch grew up in Pittsburg, PA, about as far away as you can get from the mountain resort scene. Tom was introduced to skiing on family trips to the local hill and quickly became obsessed, skiing every hour of the day on the weekends. After graduating from high school, Tom headed west to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah and take his skiing to the next level. In just a few short years, Tom completely reinvented what it meant to slide rails on skis and quickly became the “it” kid of slopestyle skiing. 2009 was a breakout year for Tom, with a slew of major first place podium appearances and finishing as the number one ranked slopestyle skier in the world. In 2010, Tom won gold in the slopestyle at the European X Games and grabbed first place at the Snowbasin stop of the Dew Tour. Tom is currently filming with Level 1 Productions, Field Productions and the 4bi9 crew while traveling the world for photo shoots and competitions. “I would have never thought it was possible for a kid from Pittsburgh to make it in the ski industry, but it is. So everyone out there with a dream, stay true to it and follow it wherever it leads you! Good things will come.” MORE ON TOM: Click here
Known throughout the industry as an athlete who sets the standard for style, Mike Riddle’s trademark is his ability to make the most difficult maneuvers look easy. Originally from Alberta, CA, Mike has been a member of the Canadian Halfpipe Ski Team for the past seven years and now calls Whistler home. Talented yet modest, Mike’s hard work and dedication to progression have begun to pay off during the past few years with impressive results including first place at the 2009 Breckenridge stop of the Dew Tour, fourth place at the 2010 European X Games and fifth place overall in the 2010 AFP World Rankings. Though he is best known for his skills in the Superpipe, Mike is solid all-around rider that is starting to turn heads on the slopestyle course as well. When he’s not competing, Mike is busy filming with Level 1 Productions, dialing in new tricks and coaching the next generation of rippers. MORE ON MIKE: Click here