Halfpipe snowboarder Louie Vito, 25, is famous for a lot of reasons. He’s a 2010 Olympian, a five-time X Games medalist, and has won multiple U.S. Grand Prix and Dew Tour events. He also starred on the hit show “Dancing With the Stars” in 2009. With sponsors that include Red Bull, Nike, Sprint, Toyota, Spy, Smucker’s, McDonald’s, and TD Ameritrade, Vito’s face was all over the marketing campaigns for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. But the one place you didn’t see him was on the slopes.
Sadly, after a great start to the 2013 season, Vito failed to qualify for the 2014 Olympic men’s halfpipe team. As one might imagine, it was a big disappointment for Vito. “It meant a lot to me going because where I grew up in Ohio there are no mountains, a very short winter season, and not one halfpipe in the entire state,” Vito told GrindTV.
But the disappointment certainly didn’t mean the end of the road for Vito. In fact, just days after he failed to make the Olympic team, Vito served as an on-air host for ESPN’s Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, where he also competed and won a silver medal. “Keep pushing forward,” he says. “It’s not if you fall—it’s how you react when you get back up.”
We caught up with Vito, who currently lives in Utah with his rescued pit bull, Gucci, and asked him to share a bit about his coping strategies and what it’s like to be pro snowboarder in the spotlight. Here is what he had to say.
When I feel overwhelmed, I … Land the run I have been working on.
When I can’t snowboard, I … Like to catch up with friends and family and unwind.
Before I drop in on a run, I always … Put my music on, take a deep breath, and do the sign of the cross.
I am superstitious about … The song I listen to for my contest runs.
When I need to relax, I … Call some friends and catch up. Sometimes I just grab my buddies, grab our boards, and head to the park. Letting off steam on the halfpipe is like nothing else in the world. It reminds me to always have fun with it and keep everything in perspective!
I am inspired by … My family and my friends. I love riding with my best friends (who are all great riders) and get inspired and pushed by them to ride better. Big things can happen when you pursue your dreams! You just have to really want it, commit to being unstoppable, and give it your all—these guys (and girls!) do that every day.
My favorite workout is … Running and jumping steps with weights. It really challenges me.
Three things that are always in my backpack, or carry-on bag are … First, a hat. Second, my computer or iPod and headphones with my favorite three music artists on my playlist—Meek Mill, T.I., and Yelawolf. Third, of course, are Uncrustables, because you always need good food on the road. Plus, they’re easy to stash!
Books on my reading list … I have been reading a lot of James Patterson lately.
My new year’s resolutions are … Stay more positive and focus only on the things I can control.
Foods I can’t live without … My family’s homemade pasta, sushi, and Uncrustables—those things are addicting! I always keep a few boxes in my freezer; my friends love them.
On contest days I always make sure … To be totally rested and have plenty of snacks and water, and, of course, my music.
When this season is over I will … Get my body put back together for “off the hill” workouts and “chase the snow,” and do lots of summer riding.
When I can’t sleep, I … Put a movie on my iPad or computer—this does the trick!
One place I’d really like to snowboard, but haven’t is … Somewhere abstract, like the Middle East.
On the plane do you choose an aisle or window seat? Window seat—always. This way I can fall asleep without leaning on some stranger.
Guilty pleasure is … taking a day off the slopes to veg out on the couch with my dog, Gucci.
The dance step I am most glad to have learned on DWS and still occasionally bust out is … My rise and fall from the Foxtrot! Ha ha.