Photo: Cole Barash

Louie Vito is a bulldog of a rider; compact and powerful. He’s been flipping and spinning his meat helicopter through the halfpipe contest circuit for the past few years: he was the overall halfpipe winner of the Grand Prix Series in 2008. On any given winter weekend, Vito is battling it out at all the major pipe contests. Lately, he has been evolving into Big-Mountain Louie; but before he morphs into a full-on backcountry badass, we asked him a six-pack of questions about the U-pipe.

Where would you like to see halfpipe riding go in the future?

I hope to see different runs and tricks. Bring back the alley oops and slow down on the 1260ºs. I would much rather see or do an alley-oop like Heikki’s in the ’02 Olympics than a 1260º that is only grabbed for half of the spin.

How could the pipe format be changed to make it more fun for the riders?

Get rid of those whack bibs. They are pointless to wear and look stupid. Other than that, I don’t mind most contest formats.

Who is your favorite pipe rider of all time?

My favorite would have to be Danny Kass.He’s got good style, has about every trick in his bag, and he always adds creativity to his runs and grabs, from 270º drop ins, alley oop bs7s to cab 10, indy-mute double grabs, 2 Olympics silver medals, he’s been handling pipe riding for days.

Why do you think pipes at most mountains are empty so often?

Different reasons—there are only a few mountains that maintain their pipes regularly, if they have one at all. And learning and falling on an icy pipe isn’t too appealing. 

What does it take to win a pipe contest these days?

Spinning, landing, and the main thing is amplitude these days. It depends on the contest because sometimes the judges like certain things more than others.

Which non-pipe pros do you think rip the pipe hardest?

Jake Blauvelt, Pat Moore, Andreas Wiig, and Torstein Horgmo.

photo: Yür Maum

Vital Stats

Age: 20

Sponsors: O-Matic, Nike, Monster, Spy, Grenade, Vestal, Volcom, Kicker, Boost Mobile, Skullcandy, Neff, Utility Boardshop, BME Click

Learn more about Louie on his website: LouieVito.com