The gears of snowboarding’s hype machine spit forth a steady stream of disposable dudes. It’s a relief to know that for all the kids standing in line to blow up, there are others who simply work to become the rider they dream of being. This is Louie Fountain-the reluctant champ.

He’s not your stereotypical pro shred, not a hero or a hellraiser. Louie is just a hard-working snowboarder. Now, maybe more than ever, snowboarders should look within for direction-and we could all learn something from Louie. His dedication and diligence are paying off. There’s no question his ability places him among the sport’s superlative riders, yet his low-profile tact has kept him under the radar-until now.

TransWorld SNOWboarding: Travis Parker says you’re a good Rollerblader, what’s up?
Oh, dude, he gave you the dirt. I used to play roller-hockey back in the day. Then when we went to do the photo shoot for that K2 ad-the one where we’re all on ‘Blades-I busted out a little, rode down some stairs and stuff, and those guys were all like, “Whoa, dude, he’s a ‘Blader!”

You got started on skis, right?
Yeah. I started skiing when I was three and did it for about ten years. We’d rally the whole family to go-maybe five or six times a year. We didn’t live too close to a ski area, so when I started snowboarding, we just hiked the hills around our house, the golf course, and the university campus in our town. I could jump and stuff before I could really ride a snowboard or make turns-just totally copying skateboarding.

Eventually you split Idaho to go after snowboarding?
Yeah, right out of high school-I wanted to live in the mountains and ended up in Wenatchee, Washington. I was a snowboard instructor for a little while at Mission Ridge-it was kind of a joke. I was so bad at it. I also did some odd jobs-like making bindings out of aluminum road signs, cutting them out and bending them around into shape. I ordered tons of these cheap straps that were like five bucks each, too. They were pretty much one-piece aluminum baseless bindings with the highback built right in. I sold a bunch to my friends and kind of paid my way to go snowboarding with that for a little while-for like two winters-I was sixteen or seventeen. The bindings were so sketchy.I also cut people’s boards down for them, too. I had this Sawzall and an angle-grinder-people would send me their boards, and I would trim ‘em and set ‘em up super ghetto. I’d T-nut their boards for ‘em and stuff, too.

Did you come up through local contests?
I did contests for a while, yeah, that’s kinda how I got started. I did the Northwest Series, way back. I did well in those, and then was like, “I could go to Nationals.” It seemed like a pretty big deal-I went to Nationals, and was like, “I can compete with these guys.” Then I entered a Grand Prix, or something, a halfpipe contest at Mt. Bachelor. All the bigs dogs were there, and I was tripping, riding with all those guys, but ended up qualifying. It was around that time I realized I had a chance at really doing it.

Those were the days …
There’re all kinds of memories-when I was on K2, but not really on K2. The first couple times, they were like, “We’re doing a photo shoot, you’re welcome to come along.” I’d go, and Chris Engelsman and Travis Parker would be there, and I’d just be in awe. The first couple trips I got to take-just seeing those guys ride, really stand out. Back then, I went out filming with those guys-Chris and Travis- but I was just kind of there. They were filming stuff, and I was just sort of tagging along. That’s when I first saw Jussi ride in real life.

Has paying the bills with snowboarding been difficult?
I snowboard as hard as I can and try to fulfill my “contractual obligations,” but so far, I don’t really have much to show for it all. I don’t stress, though-it’ll all work out. I’m excited for this year.

Why haven’t coverage and recognition come sooner?
I thi it’s really easy for me to just go out and snowboard on my own … build jumps and snowboard all day-not really worry about bringing a photographer or a filmer. I just go out to learn tricks and have fun-I forget about trying to document it. So I think lack of discipline in the past-realizing that this is a job, too-has been a problem. After last year, it’s not hard anymore, though. Going out and filming with those guys (Robot Food) is like getting out of school for the weekend-it’s the funnest. Right now I’m content with the way things are-coulda’, woulda’, shoulda’-I don’t like to think like that.

You come from a long line of Idaho crop dusters?
Yeah, my family are crop dusters-pilots. My grandfather Pete Fountain, he was pretty crazy. There’re all kinds of stories about him-getting in plane wrecks, totaling the plane and walking away from it, landing in all these sketchy spots. In Idaho where it’s all rolling hills, and there’re power lines to fly under and stuff, being a crop duster is pretty much being a stuntman. He’s kind of a local legend. My dad was a pilot, and my uncle still runs the business-Fountain Flying Service. I’ve been around it my whole life and have always wanted to do it, but never had time. I’d really like to learn how to fly planes.

But aren’t you afraid of heights?
Yes, but it’s different when you’re moving. It’s not that real when you’re flying in a plane or jumping off a cliff on a snowboard. Looking over the edge of something, or standing on a ladder-that’s the scariest feeling I can think of.

What about when you have to look down a chute or spot a landing off a cliff, don’t you stress out then?
A little, but there’s some adrenaline going because you know you’re going to do it anyway-you don’t have time to really sketch out. You have that adrenaline flow and the snow is usually a pretty soft landing, too. It’s different.

Your thoughts on style?
Style is something that’s easy for people to get hung up on-I do. I catch myself wondering if I’m cool enough, and then I snap out of it, and I’m like, man, it’s lame of me. I don’t care about that kind of stuff. It’s cool to see someone ride with really good style, but there’s too much emphasis on what’s in style. People worry too much about that-the right tricks, the right way-and I guess I’m one of those people.Sometimes when I’m riding, like after seeing some rad video part, I think of a certain rider and their style, and in that way I’m influenced by them. Honestly, I just try to progress myself-not really compete with what’s out there. I try to learn a little bit of something every time I ride or take it a little bit farther, just for myself.

You’ve decided to live your life for the Lord?
Yes. I was raised in a Christian family, but it was a decision I had to make for myself. When I first moved to Wenatchee, it was on my heart to figure out what I believed. I researched it a little, and hooked up with some friends who were in the youth group there, and it just felt right on to me. I gave my life to the Lord from that point on. We’re all going to die sooner or later-60 years from now, or maybe this afternoon. I want to know where I’m going when I die. I try to use the Bible as a guideline for life-as a kind of owner’s manual-and try my best to live by that. I know if I come up short, that’s okay, too-we’re only human. I don’t want to sound like an idiot-I’m no different or better than anyone else. I just want to develop relationships with people, there’re a lot more important things in life than having nice things and being a good snowboarder.

But still, you’re playing the game. How do your faith and your job jive?
My faith is most important to me. I’m not an especially outstanding snowboarder or anything. In the process of how I’ve gotten here, it’s obvious that God put me where he wants me. He put the desire in my heart to snowboard, so I don’t think it’s too contradictory to my beliefs. When it comes to stuff like negotiating for contracts, I’m pretty easy to deal with. I’m not too money-hungry-I can’t say I don’t care about it, I just try to be straight up. I’m never going to look back and wish I’d gotten the leather in my car or whatever. It’s the people I’ve met and the relationships I have. I try to look at a bigger picture.

You’re coming from relative obscurity into a season with a major movie part, this interview … are you ready?
Yeah, I’m ready. I’m super excited-this has been a dream of mine since I was little. Man, I am so pumped on the Robot Food movie. At first it didn’t look like I’d be able to film with those guys. It’s a really cool thing that happened-making that video. I was friends with all the Robot Food guys before, but it was really cool to devote 100 percent of my winter to being with them and working on the whole project. It was the funnest thing I’ve ever been involved in with snowboarding. It reminds of the old Bones Brigade videos-a real tight crew, everyone knows how to have fun, and we all get along. At one point in the winter, in Sonora, I was like, “This is my favorite place to snowboard.” We were just hanging out in the town of Bridgeport, California, going out to the Rhino every night and riding every day.

Your wife is about to have twins, how’s that?
My wife Alli is awesome. She’s helped motivate me and keep me organized. She’s really kicked my butt into gear.When I found out we were having twins-it was probably the first time in my life when I felt like I was going to faint-like, fall over. I’ve been married for a while, and we were totally open to having kids-plus, I wanted to be a young dad, so it just kind of happened. It’s a total blessing.

It’s going to be a busy season …
I guess I’ll be working on time management. As far as snowboarding, I just want to learn all the tricks I couldn’t do last year.

hen it comes to stuff like negotiating for contracts, I’m pretty easy to deal with. I’m not too money-hungry-I can’t say I don’t care about it, I just try to be straight up. I’m never going to look back and wish I’d gotten the leather in my car or whatever. It’s the people I’ve met and the relationships I have. I try to look at a bigger picture.

You’re coming from relative obscurity into a season with a major movie part, this interview … are you ready?
Yeah, I’m ready. I’m super excited-this has been a dream of mine since I was little. Man, I am so pumped on the Robot Food movie. At first it didn’t look like I’d be able to film with those guys. It’s a really cool thing that happened-making that video. I was friends with all the Robot Food guys before, but it was really cool to devote 100 percent of my winter to being with them and working on the whole project. It was the funnest thing I’ve ever been involved in with snowboarding. It reminds of the old Bones Brigade videos-a real tight crew, everyone knows how to have fun, and we all get along. At one point in the winter, in Sonora, I was like, “This is my favorite place to snowboard.” We were just hanging out in the town of Bridgeport, California, going out to the Rhino every night and riding every day.

Your wife is about to have twins, how’s that?
My wife Alli is awesome. She’s helped motivate me and keep me organized. She’s really kicked my butt into gear.When I found out we were having twins-it was probably the first time in my life when I felt like I was going to faint-like, fall over. I’ve been married for a while, and we were totally open to having kids-plus, I wanted to be a young dad, so it just kind of happened. It’s a total blessing.

It’s going to be a busy season …
I guess I’ll be working on time management. As far as snowboarding, I just want to learn all the tricks I couldn’t do last year.