Rand: Q&A with X-Games athlete Levi LaVallee

  • Updated: February 6, 2013 - 6:44 PM

It was a long road back for snocross competitor Levi LaVallee, but it was definitely worth it.


Levi LaVallee celebrates during Snowmobile Freestyle at the X Games Aspen 2013. Photo courtesy of Red Bull.

It was a long road back for snocross competitor Levi LaVallee, but it was definitely worth it. The Longville, Minn., native won two gold medals at the recently completed Winter X Games in Aspen, the first time he had competed in the event since 2010 because of serious injuries. Lavallee chatted Wednesday with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand about those gold medals and the dangerous nature of performing high-flying flips and tricks on a snowmobile, which was driven home by the death of fellow competitor Caleb Moore.

Q Two gold medals -- how does that feel after the comeback?

A It felt amazing. I really didn't have much expectations going into X Games in that I had been out for the last few years. I practiced trying to get things back ... and everything went perfect. I couldn't have asked for anything better. It took a lot of hard work. I hadn't hit freestyle ramps for a couple years. I have some friends back home (at his training compound near Longville) who helped me out. They were awesome, just making sure everything was good and that I was comfortable.

Q Was it tough for you to go back to riding after your 2010 crash-related injury, which included broken ribs, punctured lungs and pelvic fractures?

A I think your natural instinct is to be nervous coming off injury. You have to believe in yourself and your talents, that you can do it. Fortunately I have a great group of people around me, and anytime I was feeling bummed they said, "You've got this, you can do this."

Q How hard was it to watch Caleb Moore's accident and absorb the news of his death?

A It was a very hard hit for snowmobiling and all the competitors in general. His crash was a pretty big crash, but at the same time it wasn't something we hadn't seen before. Unfortunately, it was a worst-case scenario. The trick he was doing was one he had done a hundred times. He just shorted the landing. We saw him get up and walk off with the medics. Once you see that as a competitor, you think, "He's OK. He might have some injuries but nothing major." Then to find out things weren't going very well, it shocks you. ... We have to learn from it. What can we do to make it safer and protect the riders better?

Q Does his death add a level of apprehension to what you do?

A When Caleb passed away, you obviously think about what you're doing in snowmobiling, but it made me appreciate life in general. ... It makes you look at life and say, "appreciate every minute you have because you never know."

Q What's next for you?

A Unfortunately I partially tore my lat muscle at Winter X games. ... I'm hoping to be back to finish out the season in the snocross series, and from there we have some cool things going on with Polaris and Red Bull -- contests where winners get to go ride with me up in the mountains. It will be fun to have some relaxed rides.

  • related content


    Wednesday February 6, 2013

    Star systems and rankings are fun when it comes to national signing day in football, but the time to really evaluate the incoming class of 2013 is around 2016.


    Wednesday February 6, 2013

    HOW ROMANTIC According to eonline.com, Bears QB Jay Cutler re-proposed to girlfriend Kristin Cavallari via text message and sent her engagement ring in the mail.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Marshall 52 FINAL
Northern Ill 23
Navy 17 FINAL
San Diego St 16
Central Mich 48 FINAL
Western Ky 49
Fresno State 6 FINAL
Rice 30
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech


question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Twins' offseason moves so far?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters