Levi Lavelle is a natural showman who loves the big stage, He goes big, bigger than any one actually 412 feet to be precise is his world distance record, hes Won Multiple X-Games medals, Filmed in Alaska for sick video parts and Levi just also happens to be the only person in history to attempt a double backflip in a comp on a snowmobile, nearly landing one in WX ’09 Next Trick. Levi owns 3 WX gold and 5 WX medals total and received 2008′s Athlete of Winter X. At WX ’10, He competes in all four SMB disciplines at X-Games can flip a dirt Bike and even shreds on a wake board Jack of all trades master of more than some Levi is one of the greatest athletes in Action sports period we sat down with him and talked about Long Distance Jumping behind FMX legend Robbie Maddison , Filming in Alaska , Travel and and life.
Name: Levi Lavellee
Sponsors: Mystik Lubricants, Loctite, Polaris, Parts Unlimited, Arctiva, Fox Shox, Woody’s, Earth Inc, Unequal Technologies, Oakley, Red Bull.
Home Town: Longville, MN
B.O.B : Where were you born and how did you originally get into riding a sled?
Levi Lavellee : I was born in Park Rapids, MN and I originally got into riding sleds from my family. I started riding 4-Wheelers when I was three-and-half years old and my family rode snowmobiles, so I eventually got into it through them.
B.O.B : What are you doing right now? Its summer in the US – what do you do on your down time? We hear you wakeboard a lot and ride dirtbikes?
Levi Lavellee : Yeah for sure. I dirtbike and wakeboard, they are my summer passions.
Photo: Garth Milan/Red Bull Content Pool
B.O.B : Would/have/can you flip a dirt bike?
Levi Lavellee : A dirtbike was the first thing I ever flipped, way back in 2006 filming with Nitro Circus. Travis (Pastrana) is always a motivator when it comes to flipping things.
B.O.B : You’ve won a fair few gold’s in the X Games in multiple disciplines of snowmobiling. Can you tell us how you got into racing a snowmobile?
Levi Lavellee : I have won four Gold, two Silver and one Bronze. I have medalled in all of the snowmobile disciplines that have been at Winter X Games. I started off racing snowmobiles when I was 12 and still race to this day. I later added the freestyle end of things in 2008.
B.O.B : Are there any sled racers you’ve yet to win that you want to win? And does racing still give you that same buzz it once did?
Levi Lavellee : X Games is one I would have liked to have won in Snowcross, and I nearly did in 2006 – when I lead 13 of 14 laps and crashed with one lap to go. I took home a silver medal that year, which is bittersweet. And yes, I still get that same buzz – racing is in my blood.
B.O.B : How did you originally get into Freestyle snowmobiling?
Levi Lavellee : In the fall of 2007, X Games told me they were going to try a new event called Speed & Style, and if I could prove to them I could do some tricks, I could enter. So it all started there. I got a ramp, started learning tricks and within two and a half months, I won X Games gold in Speed & Style and Freestyle at Winter X Games 2008.
B.O.B : You came so close to landing a double back flip at X games a few years ago. It seemed like you landed quite flat and with a better and bigger landing you would have stuck that shit really easy. Is the double backflip still on your radar?
Levi Lavellee : It’s still an open book, and I’d like to close it . . . someday.
Photo : Chris Shonting/ Red Bull Content Pool
B.O.B : Where do you see the progression of Freestyle sledding going in the future? With front flips being landed and double back flips can it be pushed beyond that?
Levi Lavellee : I think anything is possible. It’s just a matter of figuring it out. I am sure someday we will see triple flips, barrel rolls . . . you name it. Someone will dream it up and figure out a way to do.
B.O.B : Can you tell us how the New Year’s Eve jumps came about? How do you approach Red Bull or do they approach you for this stuff?
Levi Lavellee : I told Red Bull years ago that I wanted to try a distance jump. A year or so went by and asked if I still wanted to do a distance jump. I said yes and it all went from there.
B.O.B : From a snowmobiling point of view, what was the first thing you had to figure out when you started preparing for the big jump? Jumping 300 feet + must require some pretty epic mental preparation, does it not?
Levi Lavellee : The first thing that we worked on was figuring out what the sled would do at that speed. So Red Bull got us into a wind tunnel to see what kind of lift we had. Because of how wide the sled is it catches a lot of wind and that was a huge concern jumping 100+ mile an hour. Mentally it’s all about focusing on the task at hand and building on each jump – we started with smaller gaps, built the confidence up to larger gaps and just kept praying.
B.O.B : Can you tell us about the big crash you had during practise for your 2010 jump? (On Friday December 17, 2010 Lavallee suffered a broken pelvis, and punctured lung during a practice run for Red Bull New Year No Limits)
Levi Lavellee : On Dec 14th, 2010 – it was my first night jump. We had a carboration problem. So when I hit the gas in the air, the sled hiccupped and the nose went down. From the impact I ended up fracturing my pelvis, fracturing three vertebras, punctured and collapsed both of my lungs, broke a bunch of ribs and I was knocked out for three days.
B.O.B : How long did it take for you to come back from that physically, and more importantly, mentally?
Levi Lavellee : Physically, I was back on my sled two months later. But mentally, that probably took about nine months to feel better about doing it again. I did brain training with Red Bull and that helped me a ton.
B.O.B : What was your initial response to the idea of jumping side by side with Robbie Maddison for the 2011 jump?
Levi Lavellee : I thought it was awesome because Maddo (Robbie Maddison) is the man. He is a legend when it comes to Red Bull New Year. No Limits. And it was an honour to do the jump with him.
B.O.B : Having known Robbie personally for a number of years it seems to me that he doesn’t really show fear and it seems like he’s so natural when going that big. Did this rub off on you in any way after spending time with him?
Levi Lavellee : I was confident in my own ability and in my equipment. But I was scared to death.
B.O.B : You jumped 412 ft. next to Maddo, that’s pretty fucking far. Do you think you can go bigger than that?
Levi Lavellee : I do think the sled I was on can surely go farther. It’s just the matter of having a longer run-in and going faster.
Photo : Rich van Every/Red Bull Content Pool
412 Feet ? Just another day at the Office for Levi!!
B.O.B : Ok now onto a different field. Can you tell us about any video parts you’ve had? And, do you feel that video parts are or should be a big part of a snowmobiler’s career?
Levi Lavellee : I have done a couple of video things, years ago. I had a blast doing it but with racing, there isn’t a lot of time to do it.
B.O.B : Have you ever filmed with the Sled neck guys or been freeriding up in Alaska?
Levi Lavellee : No, I have not filmed with the Sledneck guys, but did film in Alaska with Turnagain Hardcore in 2006 & 2007.
B.O.B : What about natural terrain flips and freestyle/freeriding? Does pushing the limits in this area of the sport interest you?
Levi Lavellee : It would probably be fun and I would enjoy it, but right now, with snocross and freestyle – I haven’t had time to pursue it as much as I would like.
B.O.B : What’s your favourite country on planet earth?
Levi Lavellee : The one I live in – USA
B.O.B : Which country do you think has the hottest women?
Levi Lavellee : USA
B.O.B : If we were at the bar and it was our round what would you want to drink?
Levi Lavellee : Something with Red Bull.
B.O.B : You’ve obviously done a lot of amazing things as a human being, is there anything left on your bucket list that you really aspire to achieve?
Levi Lavellee : I want to run with the bulls in Spain.
B.O.B :What’s the best way to Ball on a budget? (I.e. Live a rock star lifestyle without a lot of money)
Levi Lavellee : Pretend you’re cool and maybe someone else will think you’re cool.
B.O.B : Growing up did you have any shitty jobs to fund travel and you’re snowmobile aspirations?
Levi Lavellee : I worked at a grocery store, bagging groceries and moved my way up to the deli department. After that, I was a dirtworker, running equipment but mainly a shovel.
B.O.B : Fav sport other than sledding?
Levi Lavellee : Dirtbikes and wakeboard
B.O.B : Shout outs?
Levi Lavellee : Huge shout out to all my fans and to my sponsors for sticking by me: Mystik Lubricants, Loctite, Polaris, Parts Unlimited, Arctiva, Fox Shox, Woody’s, Earth Inc, Unequal Technologies, Oakley and last but not least Red Bull.