Louie Vito is one of the best pipe riders on the planet. His consistency and style make him a threat to win any contest he enters. With the contest season about to start, Louie is ready to get down to business.
I caught up with Louie right before the first contest of the year to get his opinion on the current state of halfpipe riding.
What are you plans for the season?
Every year is pretty much the same. I just want to land as many runs as possible, stay consistent and stay healthy. I want to keep taking steps in the right direction and keep progressing.
What are your feelings on straight airs and their place in contests?
We will get a better idea at the first World Cup if people will do them. I am going to Sochi in February for my first World Cup and that will be the first indicator of how things are going to go. Once the World cups get going, we’ll get an idea about the judging and how they will like it if you do a straight air.
Are you planning on doing one in your runs?
I’ve always been a technical rider, but I’ve been working on going bigger the last couple of years. It depends on the pipe and how I am feeling, because at the end of the day sometimes your runs flow better with a straight air and sometimes they flow better without. It really depends on the judging that day. Snowboarding is a subjective sport, and day-to-day the scoring might be different.
We’ve seen the triple cork become more of a reality. Are they possible in the pipe?
I don’t know man. It’s a pretty risky move. On a jump you have quite a bit of landing to work with. In the pipe your landing has to be precise and you have the coping that can get you. You can’t really land sideways or else you will catch your edge. We have seen the tragedy of landing sideways on a double cork, so with a triple the risk goes up. It really kind of depends if you want to take the risk, and if the reward is worth the risk.
As a Stratton Mountain School alum, how do you feel about the US Open moving away from Vermont?
I always liked going to Vermont because I went to school there and it was fun to see some old teachers and be back on the mountain. It is March in Vermont and you never really know what to expect from the weather. You can get all four seasons in one day. As far as weather consistency goes, it will be better in Vail. But it’s kind of crazy that after 30 years in Vermont it is going to be gone. The other thing is that we have no East Coast contests this year. There are a lot of East Coast fans that are pretty bummed there is no contest out there.
Do you think style is being overlooked for progression?
First off, style is subjective. Second, most of the time the riders who have been doing well in contests have good style with their tricks so I think there is still a lot of love in that. It is definitely something that we need to watch as snowboarders and judges so that we don’t lose focus on style.