“IF YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH THEY CAN’T IGNORE YOU.” - Louie Vito
INKED: So when you were first starting, were you ever nervous or afraid of doing a trick?
LOUIE VITO: You always have a little bit of a fear in you, but that’s what makes it so much better when you accomplish it. It’s like anything you accomplish, whether it’s fear or something physical. Any obstacle you have, if you overcome it, that feeling you have is so priceless. If it’s kind of a gnarly trick you might have more nerves before you land it, but you can’t even put into words how good it feels. That keeps pushing me in snowboarding. You want to keep going with that feeling because it’s so priceless.
For instance, you were the first one to do the backside 1080, which you did at just 17.
Once you get the taste of the contest, you want to keep on achieving that. I always shoot for the top and settle for less. You always want to set your sights high and your goals high. You want to work hard to be the best, be at the top.
What is the real difference when you’re out there between first and third place? Is it a mental game?
No one remembers second. I don’t want anyone to beat me in anything I do; I’m one of the most competitive people. If we’re playing Monopoly, I want to win. If we’re playing basketball—I’m 5 ?5 ?, I’m not Kevin Durant—I want to win. I suck at tennis, but I love playing tennis. I want to win. It’s just how I’ve been raised, and it’s how I am, pushing myself to be the best. I don’t want anyone to beat me in anything.
Does that ever come into trouble in your romantic life?
My dating life has been pretty relaxed. I travel so much that when I did have girlfriends, [they knew] that snowboarding is number one. When I was younger, the chance of me marrying [a particular] girl was pretty slim, and snowboarding was what was paying the bills. It’s getting me to where I want to go. I just want them to know I’m not going to skip a snowboard contest to hang out. I’m not going to go skip something that’s important because you want to go on vacation. The only time it has hurt my dating life is if they don’t understand that and I can’t make plans three months in advance because I don’t know what I’m doing three days from now.
When do you start planning for the 2014 Olympics?
It’s always there to keep you motivated, but you might not be training for that one thing. There are a lot of contests in between and I want to do well in those contests. But if I do well in those con- tests, it keeps me on the right path going in.
Do you have a pre-competition ritual that you do?
Normally I have this song that I strap in to. They usually tell you to get ready three people out, so I have one song that I listen to when I’m strapping in and one song that I listen to when I snowboard the actual contest. I listened to the same two songs every contest last year.
What are the two?
The song I listen to when I strap in is “Bad Meets Evil” by Above the Law, and the song I snowboard to is “I’m a Boss” because— well, one, because you got to keep telling yourself you’re the boss and you’re the best because then you’ll have the confidence to do it. Then there’s a line in the song that is: I’m only 23, I’m the shit now look at me. And I was 23 all last year.
Are you planning any tricks that you can tell us about?
No, I’ve learned a new trick over the summer, another double, so now I have five doubles that I can do and I just want to make up a good run. And it’s not necessarily one trick that will make a difference; it’s a combination of all of them.
I know your dad has a lot of mottoes. Do you have ones you hold dear when training?
One he came up with and one I live by is: “If you’re good enough they can’t ignore you.” I had friends going to snowboard school who would not really be in the scene, and the next thing you know they’re the biggest thing in snowboarding. I’ve always taken baby steps. If I do something, it’ll be like, meh. If someone else does it, it’s like the second coming of God. It’s like, I already did that. How come I don’t get any love for that? Just keep being you, things will come. That’s one quote I’ve always embraced. Another is be happy but don’t be satisfied, because if you’re satisfied, you plateau. At a contest, I’m stoked if I win—but if I lose, not even a Snickers will satisfy me.