Snowboarding, like most extreme sports, lends itself to being dominated by younger competitors. In a sport so taxing on the body with the ever-present risk of a severe injury and also requiring constant progression of tricks as boundaries get pushed further and further, few athletes are able to remain at the elite level late into their 20s and early 30s.
Of the current top 10 in the FIS snowboarding halfpipe rankings, only three riders were born before 1990 (only four were born prior to 1992). Those three are Shaun White (snowboarding’s most famous and most decorated rider), Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland and Louie Vito.
Vito has been around as a podium contender since 2007 and was a member of the 2010 U.S. Olympic team. At age 28, he’s one of the circuit’s veteran riders, but remains a threat to the podium, as he earned a third-place finish early in February at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Resort.
Vito spoke with UPROXX Sports ahead of the upcoming Burton U.S. Open in Vail, Colorado, which can be viewed live on Red Bull TV on March 3rd and 4th, about the challenges of being one of the veterans on the hill, keeping up with young riders, Olympic qualifying, building a brand outside of snowboarding and why Dancing with the Stars is still the most stressful thing he’s ever done.