Freeskier Tom Wallisch walks for MS in ski boots
X Games Gold Medalist and U.S. Freeskiing team member Tom Wallisch joined some 4,500 participants as they “stomped” on multiple sclerosis at the 23rd annual Walk MS Salt Lake City on Saturday (April 29).
The yearly event seeks to raise awareness as well as funds for research and local programs and services to help Utahns impacted by MS.
Wallisch, joined by his aunt Bonnie Higgins who is the inspiration behind his involvement, walked the entire route in his ski boots to help demonstrate the difficulty people with MS can have with just moving as well as to start a bigger conversation about the disease.
“The ski boots helped bring the issue [of MS] to more people and brought it to the ski community too,” said Wallisch after the walk. “The more people that know about MS, the better.”
Wallisch, a 2014 Olympic hopeful, wore the same Full Tilt signature line ski boots he won X Games gold in this winter for the entire three miles on hard pavement.
“I think it’s so great Tom took on this challenge. It touches me so much,” said Higgins who has MS and flew in to walk with him. “Walking in ski boots is a great way for people to see what it’s like to walk with MS. We’re looking forward to how we can step it up for next year.”
Prior to the start of Walk MS, participants from throughout the Salt Lake valley and further gathered at the Gateway Mall meeting friends and turning in funds they had raised in preparation of the annual event. Saturday’s total surpassed $250,000 and narrowed in on the $300,000 target. The event has until June 7 to meet the goal.