Pro snowboarder Louie Vito made a calm and understated exit when he was eliminated after six weeks on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" late in 2009. Therefore, viewers did not truly appreciate the competitive nature that Louie Vito carries within his 5-foot-5-inch, 150 pound frame. "I'm not going to lie, I felt like I just lost a huge snowboard contest," Louie blogged afterward. "I knew I wouldn't be the happiest person when we got kicked off the show, but I didn't realize I would be THAT bummed. ... Yes, I had a lot of fun during the course of the show, but regardless of that, I still hate losing, no matter what it is."
Louie Vito is still only 21 years old and preparing for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but he's a veteran. He was only 17, competing at the Australia Open, when he became the world's first snowboarder to achieve a "backside 1080" maneuver. Then, last year on a New Zealand halfpipe, he performed a "frontside double cork 1080." Louie's compact size helped him to complete the three full revolutions in the air, but still these are incredible accomplishments. He says his training as a gymnast has been put to good use.
Most top snowboarders are from the Mountain West or the Pacific Northwest, but Louie Vito hails from humble Columbus, Ohio. Most of Ohio is flat but the state's southeastern portion features the Ohio River Valley, and Louie spent his formative years on the slopes at Mad River Mountain. His family, impressed with his skills, sent him to Vermont's Stratton Mountain School. The investment has paid off with rich dividends.
Still, Louie Vito doesn't forget his roots. He has relocated to Utah to pursue his pro snowboarding career, but to welcome the New Year he hosted the Rail Jam at Mad River Mountain. The 2010 event drew 300 riders and nearly 1,000 fans, with Louie signing everything from posters to T-shirts, all for the benefit of regional Ohio charities. Louie Vito may not have made the final cut on "Dancing with the Stars," but he's a winner just the same.