Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito started his path to stardom in an unlikely place. He grew up in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where his first ski resort consisted of a 300-vertical-foot "mountain." His dad owns a radio station and his mom owns a jazzercise studio. Not the typical recipe for an action sports phenom, right? Vito, now 23 and living in Salt Lake City, eventually found a more fitting home in Vermont where he went to high school and developed his talents on east coast mountains. 
He's now one of the most versatile and well-liked top snowboarders, able to excel in slopestyle, pipe, back-country, and on the rails. He barely missed history in the 2012 Winter X Games this past month by missing his landing on back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubles, but is coming off two second-place finishes in the Dew Tour and is looking to grab that first this weekend at the Toyota Championships in Utah. He was nice enough to take some time with Complex and talk about his developing relationship with budding rapper Yelawolf, his experience doing ESPN The Magazine's body issue, and why he thinks neither Shaun White nor anybody else should ever get a perfect 100 in the X Games. 

What’d you think of the Super Bowl?
I’m not a huge Eli Manning fan for some reason, but I like [Victor] Cruz and [Hakeem] Nicks, and they got a player named Chase Blackburn that is from the town next to me in Ohio. One of our family friends is married to him. I was happy it wasn’t a blowout. Watching championship games in any sport if it’s a blowout is just a bummer. It was a good game, and I was happy with the outcome. I made some friendly bets that ended up paying out.

How’d you pick the Giants?
My dad is from upstate New York, so growing up before I had my own team to pick, I was always New York. I like the Giants defense. I like teams with good defense. I’m a Bengals fan if I have to choose, but because I didn’t have a team, I picked New York. I went to school in Vermont, so there were a lot of New England fans and I was tired of hearing about the Pats and Red Sox, so I had to stick with New York. Whoever I’ve been rooting for lately has been losing, so I got a little nervous. I have been having the worst luck and I wasn’t sure if I should say something on Twitter. It was one of those things where I was happy with the game, but it would have been nice to mix it up a little instead of New York and New England again.

Did you watch the halftime show?
We didn’t really watch it, but I saw an awkward moment between Madonna and LMFAO, and I was like what is going on right now!? You gotta give LMFAO props, though. The Super Bowl? That’s big. And MIA too, she’s big and all, but I never would have expected that. It was cool. Personally, I think that was a good move for her flippin’ off the camera and everything. I can’t knock their hustle.

What is your go-to song or artist?
I go through phases, but right now, I've been running Yelawolf’s stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of Meek Mill. I think I have maybe five songs of his on my playlist. From that song with Jim Jones, that one with B.o.B. on his latest mixtape and some off that Dreamchasers.

We’re big fans of Yelawolf here, too.
Yeah, we’ve been snowboarding a few times. I brought out Yelawolf during Christmas time in Colorado and then we went to Utah. He’s been snowboarding quite a bit and is super stoked to do it. It’s really cool to have an artist you listen to doing your sport.

How’d you get involved with him?
He was friends with Rob Dyrdek and the Fantasy Factory, so I saw him a couple times one summer. He was on tour with Wiz and he came to Utah, and I talked to him and we saw each other around. We had the same mutual friends. I talked to him about snowboarding and I had an X Games party that he performed at. It’s been about a year and a half to two years now that I’ve known him. I just really back his music, and to see how big he’s gotten is awesome, because he’s still the same person. His shows are amazing. I hate going to a show where people are rapping over their lyrics and then talk to somebody midway through the song. His shows are so good and it’s cool to see. He’s picking up a huge following now.

It was a great move for Shady to pick him up.
Nobody is going to want anything to do with Shady Records. Nobody should ever say anything about them. You can’t mess with them. With Slaughterhouse, Eminem, and Yelawolf on there, nobody would survive. Everybody needs to keep their mouths shut.

What was the last thing you googled?
I couldn’t figure out this app I just got called SpyCalc.

What’s that?
It’s like a calculator, but you can hide stuff in the calculator. I was trying to delete pictures out of my SpyCalc, because I had doubles.

Got some secret stuff, huh?
You know, you have people going through your phone that you don’t want to be checking out your business. [Laughs.]

What is your favorite fast food meal?
I wish I’ve even had fast food. If I had it, it’d probably be a double-double at In-N-Out. If I want to eat quick, I’m a huuuuge waffle house fan. If it’s not a drive through, I have always liked Waffle House. I would eat there all the time going snowboarding with my dad. When I’m home, that’s the first place I go. It’s crazy how cheap it is. I’d rather go there than Morton’s. I just love it. It’s so funny because they always make you feel so welcome. You have the ladies like, “Hey, honey, how are you doing?" Scattered, smothered, covered, whatever it is, that’s what I want.

Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Can I name like five? It’s too hard just to name one. First one is Mila Kunis, because who isn’t in love with Mila Kunis? Victoria Justice, because she’s a babe. Willa Holland. She’s the girl that was in The OC, I think. It was Marissa Cooper or whoever the main character was, her sister. I don’t watch a lot of TV but if I see you on something, I’d look her up and see what her deal is. If you’re pretty, I’ll probably have a crush on you. I have a lot of crushes.

Where is the best place to snowboard?
I love riding at home in Utah because I live here and they have great snow. You can go to the worst mountain, but if it’s with good friends and has good snow and good weather, it can be anywhere. It can just be anywhere, as long as you have the combo.

What is your dream car?
I’ve gone through a few different ones. I guess it’d be a Bentley, because if you’re driving a Bentley, you’re doing big things.

What’s your favorite car that you have or have had?
I have a Toyota Tundra that I’m obsessed with, as far as trucks go. I just got it last year and that thing is sick. it drives smooth, it’s fast, and it sounds good. And what’s cool about it is that their mid-cab still has four doors, which for me is awesome. In the winter it’s so annoying to let somebody in and out. It’s in between the two door and the full-size cab. I live in the mountains, so the truck is perfect. You can throw all your gear in the back and you’re ready to go.

What was the most awkward moment when you were doing the ESPN body issue?
I think getting naked in front of people was the most awkward spot. You’re standing there taking test shots with clothes, and they were like, “Okay, we’re ready.” I had just signed a new publicist and I just met her five minutes before. I told her, “I guess I'm a slut,” because she saw me naked within five minutes of meeting me. It was just the initial shock of that at first. It wasn’t awkward at all after the fact.

How have things changed for you since you signed with Red Bull?
It’s cool just to see the support that they give their athletes. If you come up with an idea or if there is something they can do to help their athletes, they are in it 100 percent. We are shooting our webisodes right now, and they come out every other Wednesday. It’s just cool to have their support. We’re doing a lot of stuff in the Spring. I’m definitely happy with the choice and I’m stoked for the future.

What’s the Red Bull team like?
Red Bull has premier athletes in every sport that they touch. They have Blake Griffin, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, DeMarcus Ware, Robbie Maddison, Ryan Sheckler, Simon Dumont, Tanner Hall. Everybody. They do stuff with people at the top of their sport and it’s cool to see that. Robbie Maddison has done three Red Bull No Limits on New Year’s. Those are just ideas he comes up with, takes it to Red Bull, and they do it. They make his ideas and dreams a reality. It’s cool to have a company that really listens to any idea. That Crashed Ice that they do, like c’mon! Who would ever thought you could make that happen. They’re into it. If they think it's going to be cool, they make it happen. It’s really rare but awesome to have a company that is more than a sticker. It’s a partnership.

How has the snowboarding scene changed?
It’s definitely a lot more mainstream now. It’s not necessarily good or bad. It was always such a rebellious sport. You could party hard and snowboard hard. Where the tricks have gone, you have to take it a bit more serious. It’s a lifestyle, more of who I am than what I do. Yeah, I train for it and work out, but I do it to be a better snowboarder and to be able to snowboard more and more. If I have to go to the gym, then that’s what I’m going to do. As long as there are people who care about their sport and want a say in it, then it’ll be in good hands.

We were able to talk to Sarah Burke right before her accident. Did you have any sort of relationship with her, and how were the X Games with that?
She was such a personable person. You'd see her at all the contests. I was friends with her. I wasn’t super close, but always said hi. With Dew Tour being snowboarding and skiing and most of the contests I do the same way, we saw each other a bit. She was such a genuine person and had such a beautiful smile and was just friendly to everybody. It was nice to see everybody come together at X Games. It was nice to see her family there and see the support and the effect that she had on the entire action sports world, not just skiing. There was a crazy outpouring of love and support.

Talk about your performance in the X Games.
I felt like I took one step back to take two steps forward. I went in there and did a run that I wanted to be the first person to do four doubles in a row, because it’s never been done before. I did it, but I messed up at the end and didn’t get my last hit in. It’s X Games; I don’t go there to do a third-place run. Who goes to a contest and is like, “Yeah, I’m going to go for third place.” It was something that was a risk that I wanted to take. It gave me taste of what I wanted it to be.

What was your personal reaction, what was the atmosphere like when Shaun White did his final run?
I think it was a little ridiculous that they gave him 100. You’re pretty much putting a cap on the progression of snowboarding. I think it was a little too much. He put down a good run. 100 shouldn’t be possible because snowboarding is always evolving. You should never be putting a cap on the progression. They didn’t need to do that. He had a 94, and his run was like a 20% difference in score. I’m pretty sure he hand-dragged. He put down an amazing run, but I just don’t think you should ever be able to get a 100 in snowboarding.

How is he viewed?
A lot of us have grown up together and are super close, but he’s never really hung out with our crews, so I can’t really speak on him. He’s always been doing his own stuff. That’s my political answer. [Laughs.]

You took second at Killington. What’s your plan for this last Dew Tour stop?
I’ve got two second-place finishes at the first two Dew Tour stops. I just want to go in and put down a run I’m happy with. If I put down a good run, then I have a feeling I’ll do well. I can’t control what anybody else does or what the judges do. If I do a run I’m happy with, that’s all I can control.
Vito will be signing autographs and meeting fans at the Team Toyota Tent in Festival Village at the Toyota Championships in Ogden, Utah. Stop by the Toyota Tent on Saturday from 2:30-3:30 to meet him.

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