Oct. 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM ET
Want to win the heart of an Olympic hopeful? Bake some cookies — and make sure he gets them.
At just 17 years old, free skier Torin Yater-Wallace has already been extremely successful, and that means fame, sponsorship money — and of course, attracting the ladies.
“Everything has changed,” Yater-Wallace told TODAY.com. “Four years ago I was in high school, not making any money — just a rookie skiing 'cause I loved it. Now it’s been a world championship medal, six X Games medals, so much success and so many sponsorships. My life has completely turned around.”
The Aspen, Colo., native says he’s also got some dedicated female fans.
“I guess it’s been kind of a boon with the ladies,” he said. “Especially on social media. I’ve gotten some pretty picture collages that girls have made of my face …I was pretty flattered by it, it was pretty funny.”
But one fan left him wanting more.
“One girl made me cookies one day at summer camp to bring up, but she never ended up finding me on the hill so I didn’t get them, which was a bummer,” he said. “I didn’t know her but it was through Twitter, she said she was bringing up cookies, but those cookies never ended up getting delivered. To that girl, I’d still love those cookies.”
But there are also downsides to success. Yater-Wallace, who now has a tutor and does online schooling, says he misses some of the typical teen rites of passage.
“I’ve never been to a high school dance or anything like that,” he said. (We’re guessing it won’t be long before one of those dedicated fans will make that a reality.)
Yater-Wallace is training to compete in a new Olympic sport: the ski halfpipe, which is similar to the snowboard halfpipe.
“You have two skis compared to one board, so the grabs are different,” he explained on TODAY. “You can do more variations, I suppose, but it’s about the same — just on skis.”
The Olympic hopeful has five qualifying events through mid-January, and his fate will be determined by the two best results.
While he’ll likely continue to have luck with the ladies, there’s one woman who’s decidedly unlucky for Yater-Wallace: Taylor Swift, whose calendar dons his wall, but whose songs Yater-Wallace will never listen to before or during competition. The last time he did, he said, he fell and got a concussion, so she’s out of the rotation.