We recently had the chance to interview MMCF program alum, Tyler Wallasch, before he flew back to Europe to start training for another busy season of Ski Cross training and competing around the world. He shared how the FLEX program helped start his career along with stories from his experience at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
How the FLEX Program helped Tyler get started
There was no way possible Tyler could have gotten to this point in his athletic career without a program like FLEX. By his senior year at Mammoth High School, Tyler was competing on the World Cup circuit and missed over half of the school year. Without the FLEX program, he would not have been able to compete in the World Cup and train as much as he did. Tyler continues to give back and is always willing to travel back to be a coach at MMCF’s Invitational. He is definitely one of our most popular participants!
Arrival in Beijing
Tyler has wanted to be an Olympian his whole life, and he almost missed it!! As he was catching a flight from Zurich to Beijing, the COVID testing protocols required a green light on his app. One of Tyler’s staff showed green but Tyler and an additional staff, showed red!! They got that straightened out but ended up sprinting through the airport to catch the plane.
They were shuttled in buses, Tyler going to the Olympic Village. . .his staff stayed outside of the village. The roads were empty and it was surreal, if not a bit spooky. There were no other ski crossers on the bus. Turning into the Olympic Village and seeing the rings. . .well that was exciting!!
Most memorable Olympic Experience
His qualifying and first run. . . the wind was howling and the snow was crazy. Stuff was getting knocked over. Tyler was to run 24th out of 32 men. Starts kept getting delayed. He knew at the very least, he had this run. As he stood at the top, he decided to Ski Hard – Enjoy this run! He took off and as he came over the last jump, he was smiling as he skied into the stadium. He was now officially an Olympian!
Thoughts on the Olympic food
When he initially arrived at the Olympic Village, Tyler helped himself to a huge plate of food, essentially trying out everything they had to offer. The plate was so full. . .one of his fellow female competitors commented, “Dude, what are you doing?!” He found the things he liked and that were familiar to him and stuck with those selections, which definitely got old. However, Tyler knows how to prepare for situations such as this. Yes! He does travel with his own charcuterie board for his room!
Before he left for Beijing, he had gone to a German deli and brought with him loads of cured meat to supplement and snack on. Apparently, the deli Tyler had gone to is one of three deli’s that are located near the German teams’ headquarters. The German competitors are quite fond of this particular butcher and his deli selection and had they known Tyler had such an array of these snacks, they would have been hanging out in Tyler's room!
Biggest surprise at the Olympics
The difference between pre- and post-game feelings. Since the Olympic games uniquely happen once every four years, one experiences a lot more emotions. Little emotions have a big impact. . .one’s emotions are magnified. It takes a lot of hard work to get there and possibly the results don’t reflect the exact outcome one might expect. The seclusion of these games was also surprising in comparison to other competitions.
Most meaningful souvenir
It is hard to choose between two: his helmet and a poster.
THE HELMET: Tyler spent a lot of time thinking about what he wanted on his helmet. Under the United States flag at the top, one side represents Hollywood/LA where he is initially from. The other side represents Hawaii, a place where he has spent a lot of time with his family. Mt. Morrison, a mountain near Mammoth, is on the back, to represent his close ties with Mammoth Mountain, where he got his skiing start.
THE POSTER: He has been thinking of doing something like this for years however this time it happened. While waiting in the Beijing airport before leaving for Russia, all of the ski cross athletes were in one place (all except for three athletes that had to leave early because of injury or personal plans). There, in the airport, he saw an Olympic poster with the Olympic Rings. He purchased the souvenir and had every ski cross athlete sign it. It is framed and displayed proudly and endearingly at his family home in Wyoming.