PPOS women’s halfpipe champ Allie Welsh dishes on broken orbital bones and girl power

PPOS women’s halfpipe champ Allie Welsh dishes on broken orbital bones and girl power

The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series’ new digital event format allowed countless up-and-comers to submit their ideal park and pipe run via video edit. This enabled them to get their names out without the usual contest day jitters and pressure. Colorado-native and rising pipe skier—she’s currently 15th in the AFP women’s pipe rankings—Allie Welsh took full advantage, winning the women’s halfpipe category. The member of the Ski Club Vail took some time to talk about her PPOS win and goals in skiing.

Hey Allie, thanks for taking some time to talk.

Thank you so much for reaching out.

You had some favorable results on the AFP tour this season, most notably a first place finish in the pipe at the USASA Rocky Mountain Series and a second place finish in big air at the Rev Tour in Mammoth. How do those competition finishes compare with your virtual PPOS win?

It always feels amazing to find yourself still on your feet at the bottom of the pipe. Winning that first USASA halfpipe contest and throwing a new trick in the Rev Tour big air served as affirmations that I am capable of landing a full run. This is my second year competing in halfpipe and I’ve had a very difficult time finding that “contest day” mental state that keeps me focused through every single hit. PPOS was a motivating win because I had a chance to see the run I want to put together in contest. Taking the number one spot was an incredible feeling even if it felt like I got to cheat a little bit, [by piecing my run together].

Watch: Allie Welsh’s winning PPOS entry.

With this virtual format, skiers don’t have to worry about the weather, or competition day stress levels. How did that impact you while putting together your dream run?

This was paramount for me. Again, I am trying to figure out this insane sport and really get to a point as an athlete where I can tap into contest mode and perform to my highest ability. Until then, it was nice to be able to synthesize the consistency I have been lacking by tailoring the run to those mentally-stable moments where my feet find the ground.

After going through this process, did you enjoy putting together an edit for the PPOS virtual competition, or is linking a run on competition day a better experience, in your mind?

Honestly, the product I put out was a result of serious procrastination. I will say, after submitting my video and perusing through other girls’ entries it made me want to film more. There are so many awesome edits and I don’t know if I had a preconceived notion of the whole process being more difficult than it actually is, but I really would love to film more. I think it pushes you to perform. On the other hand, I really do like the pressure of a competition day; it’s an adrenaline rush for me and balancing excitement with laser focus is absolutely intoxicating.

Judges highlighted your cork 9 as a huge factor in your PPOS victory. Was that a trick you’ve landed before, or was this a first for you?

It’s actually the first trick I ever threw in a pipe. Granted, it’s the last one I have landed and I’m pretty sure dumb luck had a lot to do with those first few, but it’s a trick and an axis [of rotation] I am drawn to. I tend to be more inclined to flip than spin so the cork was a pretty nice balance of the two.

There are only a handful of females throwing cork 9s in the park right now, where do you see the progression going?

Oh boy, where won’t it go? I love that every cork 9 being thrown is different. Maddie Bowman’s, Cassie Sharpe’s, Annalisa Drew’s, Keltie Hansen’s and Brita Sigourney’s all have a different axis and the style side is [getting there]. I think that’s a big emphasis on the women’s side when it comes to progression. The way our side of the sport is developing is very different from the boys’ side and it makes the progression that much more exciting. I see progression manifesting in more amplitude and a more consistent set of grabs with the tricks girls are dialing. I have had a few new tricks brewing in my head for the past few years that I’m excited to try. We shall see what happens.

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