Thursday, January 9, 2014

WE ADAPT an Interview with Louie Vito

by Daniel Gale


Evan Strong, Amy Purdy and I had the chance to hang out with Louie Vito earlier this season at Dew Tour. He's as humble and enthusiastic as ever. He's particularly enthusiastic about the AAS adaptive crew and the upcoming opportunity at the Paralympic Games for all adaptive snowboarders.

He went on the record for me, well...for you.

Louie V and Amy P - Team Toyota mates
What’s it mean to wear the USA Jersey and how motivated are you to put on the “Stars and Stripes” again?

I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself this year because I know how it feels and I’ve been there. I just finished of the podium, not the result I wanted, but wearing that jersey is like nothing else. I know what’s at stake, I’ve been on the team and I want it more than ever.

What advice would you offer to our Paralympic hopefuls looking to wear the USA colors for the first time?

Do what you normally do, ride how you always ride, keep your eye on the prize but take one event at a time. Don’t loose sight of Sochi but just look at the event that’s in front of you. One event at a time.

Have you ever had to adapt your snowboarding due to injury?

I’ve never had anything dramatic like Travis Pastrana at X Games but injury is always there. My back is jacked!

Is it?
Yeah, I’ve had a torn disc in my back for the last year and a half that just got settled. You always have aches a pains, maybe a torn ligament, a tweaked ankle; usually adrenaline is enough to get me through all of that. Certainly mentally you also have to prepare if you are injured.....I'm always beat up.

This is a historic year for the Paralympics. It’s the first year that it will be televised live and it’s the first year that snowboarding will be in the Paralympic Games. Will you be watching?

Absolutely! I think it’s great. I’m a huge fan of Parlympians and the Paralympics.

Every Paralympian I’ve ever met……my dad and I were just talking about this…..every Paralympian or adaptive athlete I’ve ever met is always smiling and so stoked to be out on the mountain. It’s all about getting out there and doing what you love and adaptive athletes are great examples of that kind of motivation and resilience. They’ve adapted and are making the absolute best of their lives. It inspires me. I love surrounding myself with good people like that who are really living life.

Louie at Dew Tour - Photo
Yeah, and I think it’s great that snowboarding has been accepted into the Paralympics. I think it’s great for snowboarding to have Paralympians now representing the sport. It’s their time to show the world how they do what they do and open minds to what’s possible. Who knows, maybe an injured veteran or a kid who thought snowboarding wasn’t a possibility will see the games this winter and it will change their lives forever.

I don't really know how to put it in words but it definitely affects me to watch and be around.

I know what you mean and I know our athletes and friends will appreciate it. Thanks for the support.

Yeah, no problem. Good luck to your athletes, well all of the athletes and we'll see you in Copper.

Visit to follow Louie's run at Sochi and the US Olympic Team.