Louie Vito Addresses the Haters on Hump Day

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Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

As snowboarding matures, it’s only natural for people to take different paths. And while the number of different ways you can enjoy snowboarding is seemingly limitless, on the business side there are two distinct approaches. One side sees snowboarding as a sport like any other, which can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone, whether it’s watching it or doing it. The other, looks at snowboarding as an underground activity, which should be appreciated only by the corest of the core, and definitely is not about the money. Now we’ve heard all sorts of chatter from the latter, but we figured it was time to talk to someone who’s chosen to embrace the former. Louie Vito has been to the Olympics, Danced with the Stars, taught rappers to snowboard, taken lots and lots of corporations dollars, knows all the celebs and is still one of the nicest guys in snowboarding. Not bad for a kid from Ohio.

I think what you’ve done with your career is super interesting and not a lot of people take that path in snowboarding. What’s it like being famous? Do you get recognized on the street?

I don’t even really think of myself as famous. It makes me laugh when people do. Especially right after Dancing with the Stars time, I used to try and guess when people came up to me whether they knew me from snowboarding or Dancing with the Stars. It started to get to the point where people I thought would know me from Dancing with the Stars knew me from snowboarding and people who looked like they knew me from snowboarding knew me from Dancing with the Stars. But I don’t really think of myself like that. I just always wanted to keep going forward and do more and more. I hang out with people that are real celebrities and there’s a big difference from them getting noticed and me getting noticed.

Do you ever worry about getting to that point where you’re too famous and you need a bodyguard?

Nah, I don’t really see that happening. I think it’s cool to have a bodyguard. I have some friends that are bodyguards and it’s just kinda fun to have a dude that’s massive parting the sea for you when you walk around. But then it’s also kinda like, is this really necessary? I don’t think anyone is trying to get me or anything. It would just be more fun than anything.

Maybe you could get a big black guy and you guys could have a reality show…

Lou and Big!

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Do you have plans to go back on reality TV?

I think what Jamie (Anderson) did on the Celebrity Apprentice was cool, I would for sure do that. I think the show’s cool and the people you meet are cool. It’s kinda like, you work on things and collaborate with people on stuff could really happen. There’s always that life after snowboarding and that’s all like business-related stuff. I think that show is cool and I think it was cool that Jamie did it.

Yeah I was psyched. And a little bummed she got fired so soon.

I’d go on a show like that, but I don’t see myself going on the Bachelor – well, I already did as an instructor – but not as a contestant. Anything in the world is so much about your rolodex. Look at skating too. There’s definitely skateboarders and snowboarders that are really good and just haven’t made it. It’s not about their skill or anything, I think a lot of it has to do with being in the right place at the right time, marketing yourself the right way. Knowing the right people.

They do say, it’s all who ya know.

I definitely think in skating especially, how many times do you show up at a skate spot and you see a kid that is just insane? But there are so many kids that are insane, you gotta be able to separate yourself from the rest.

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How did you get involved in Hollywood stuff?

Dancing with the Stars came from a friend of mine that was an agent who had booked some other people. They were looking for someone that fit what I was all about and my style, so I was like yeah, I’ll take an interview. There’s no harm in that. I never really watched the show. I had just torn my meniscus and I think that was the year we were finishing the Boned Age, so I was trying to keep riding. So I did the interview and it went real well. They told me that they liked me, but it didn’t fit with that season, so I was like they’re just gonna see how I do, see if I make the Olympics. And then they asked me again, and it was like, damn this is real. This could really happen. My dad was like, just say yes until the paper work is in front of you and then we can make a decision. I actually talked to a few people like Todd Richards and some people at Nike at the time and made sure they were cool with it and get their thoughts, too.

I was stoked. It was so different than what I’d ever done before. It was a new challenge and a whole new demographic and the way I looked at it, well there were a couple things. One, you’ve gotta be able to make fun of yourself. I was doing funny things, wearing clothes that you’d never see me in on Halloween, and moving in ways that I’ve never moved in my entire life. So you’ve gotta have fun with it, you can’t go on a try and portray something that you’re really not. People are gonna laugh at me regardless. And then also, 22 million people were watching my season, so if I can take less than a percent of them and introduce them to snowboarding, that would be huge. Get people interested in the sport. It’s like, Rugby is really boring to watch, but you go to New Zealand or Austrilia and watch rugby with someone who knows and they tell you about their team. Then that becomes your team and you’ve got something to root for. And then the other thing was, if I could do this, where I’m so far out of my comfort zone, with a live audience watching, then snowboarding is gonna be a walk in the park. I’m confident doing it, I know what they wanna see. It all worked out and I made some incredible friends from that show who I’m still really close to.

I think it was awesome, honestly I was a little jealous, but not really cause I can’t dance.

It was so hard, so stressful, so frustrating, but so good at the same time. I still laugh when people bring it up. It just makes me laugh. When you look back at it, me, ballroom dancing, was funny. I loved it.

I wanna go back to what you said about introducing people to snowboarding. Do you really think the average, mainstream person doesn’t already know about snowboarding? Or is more inclined to go snowboarding because they see you on TV?

I have some fans that have followed me through Dancing with the Stars and into snowboarding, and started following my friends because they’ve seen them with me. I’m talking about grandmas and old ladies that otherwise, what does snowboarding mean to them? Like nothing. It’s not that they’re interested in going snowboarding, but if they’re flipping through the channels and snowboarding is on they might start watching it. Like Rugby, anything is more interesting when you have a team to root for or know something about an athlete in general. It’s way more enjoyable to watch because you’re cheering for someone rather than just watching it go back and forth. I like to have something to connect me to what I’m watching.

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It’s interesting that a lot of people who do snowboard don’t pay attention to or care about competitive snowboarding at all. Why do you think that is?

You get some people that do. Core riders that watch contests and are up on it, and then there are some that just turn it off, because it’s contest snowboarding. It doesn’t matter anything about what’s happening. There’s no hope for it regardless if it’s the sickest thing ever. What makes it hard is competitive snowboarding is a subjective sport. You can have 10 different riders from across the board watch the same run and you might get lucky and have a lot of them say, this person definitely won. But there’s no way that everyone is gonna agree on everything. I’ll get texts from people who’ve worked in the industry for a long time and hearing what they say compared to what the judges say is always different.

People are anti triple corks in slopestyle. I’m not for or against them, but at the end of the day, you can hate on triple corks but it’s still a triple cork. There’s still a gigantic risk of getting absolutely played doing that trick. You can get played doing any trick, but you have to weigh the fact they’re going upside down three times, and that’s gnarly. People are so subjective watching it themselves – oh that’s whack, that’s cool, that’s not cool. Everyone has their own opinion and that’s how it is in snowboarding. That’s how it was with Dancing with the Stars. I knew I was gonna get hated on doing that, but at the same time, I don’t ever do anything in my career or my life because of what someone thinks about it. That will never change what I want to do.

But that’s kinda the problem with snowboarding. My idea with snowboarding is you do what you want. You can do the same trick, the same grab and make it look completely different – there’ s no right or wrong way. In dancing there was, that’s what baffled me. They would be like, or you can’t do that. it’s not a dance move. Well why not? At some point, someone invented this move, why can’t we just invent the move? In snowboarding you can. Like oh shit, that didn’t come out how I planned but it worked out completely different.

In snowboarding it’s like, oh you do contests? That’s whack. But who cares what I do. I’m snowboarding and that’s all I care about. If you just ride rails in the city – sweet. If you just wanna go up to Snowbird and do laps all day, that’s cool! You’re snowboarding. There’s no right or wrong way. Style is subjective, that’s in the eye of the beholder. There are people who’s style I’m not a fan of, but I’m not one to say you have whack style or you have good style. It’s not up to me. I’m not the one voice above all, no one is. That’s what’s so annoying to me is why do people hate on how other people wanna snowboard? Why do you hate on someone because they want to do contests or double corks. Why is there so much hate?

Obviously Yobeat is known for it’s hate comments…

Yeah, but you guys aren’t like, oh this guy’s a pipe jock, fuck him. It’s more fun. But there are people who are like serious about it, which makes me laugh so hard. Like why do you care?

I tell myself a lot of the hate online is people trying to be funny or kids that just have no idea- but maybe it is just industry people trying to be jerks.

I had someone hate on me the other day, but it’s always over the Internet. No one ever comes up to me at a contest or where I am talking smack to me. That was the whole thing with my glove that said Hi Haters. Anyone that’s hating on me when I’m in a contest, it’s like, where are you when you’re hating on me? You’re sitting at home. You’re watching me on TV. You’re seeing me on Yobeat or Transworld or Snowboarder. Wherever it is. That’s where you see me. I don’t know you. I don’t care, I’m doing me. Why are you hating?

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I think a lot people with their friends talk shit to each other and it’s funny cause you know each other, but then you do the same thing on the Internet and it sounds so harsh. So that’s an issue. 

I just watched the thing on Vice about the girls snowboarding crew. I’m pretty disconnected from some stuff, I didn’t know who any of them were, but at the same time, I’m reading the comments and it’s like, these girls are out there living. They wanna snowboard, they wanna go hit rails. Regardless if they’re 50-50ing a rail or 270ing a rail. Maybe a 50-50 gives them the same rush as a guy gets when he lands some gnarly trick. Why are you trying to rain on her parade? She’s out there doing it. I just give props to people who know what they want to do and just say middle finger to everything and go and do it. Like the one girl who blew her knee and was like, I spent all my money to rehab my knee, because she wanted to snowboard. I can’t hate on that. Her passion is snowboarding and she’s actually doing it. Whether she works all summer, she’s enjoying herself snowboarding all winter long. To me that’s cool. And people are like, oh she sucks. Who cares!? She’s out there filming and you’re watching her video on Vice, that isn’t just some slouch thing.

I back those girls for sure. It’s interesting how people in snowboarding can be so close minded and it’s supposedly this free-spirited activity.

I’ll tell you what’s funny. It’s funny when people go out of their way to say, I would never do that. That’s so wack. But it’s like, you’ve never been in that position where it’s presented itself to you. I know a lot of things that I’ve done or my friends have done that people have hated on, I guarantee if those people were in that same position, they would have taken it. I love snowboarding. I’m not selling out, but if I’m gonna put my life on the line and I can get paid to do it? Why am I not gonna try and get paid? I love to snowboard and I get to get up every day and do what I love, with my friends, travel the world and the mountains every day. That’s awesome. Why is it bad that I’m trying to do that?

I imagine riding for Red Bull affords you crazy opportunities to do stuff too.

People that hate on energy drinks, right. But one of the heaviest, most amazing rail contests that ever got put on was the Red Bull Heavy Metal. I could still watch that today and be super stoked. That rail contest was so sick, everybody was there and it was a real sick set up. Red Bull has been backing action sports for so long. They sponsor things that I didn’t even know were sports.

Like downhill iceskating. Have you seen that?

Yeah I went to one last year in St. Paul and they created their own sport, but I tell you what. People are into it. It was packed and insane. Ali Goulet did it on a bike and that was sick because I grew up watching him as a pro snowboarding. It was sick. My whole theory is you can take some of these big sponsors and take their money without them taking everything from you. You can take their money and use it how you wanna use it. You say how this is how it’s gonna go. Like Ultranatural or the Double Pipe. How is that bad? There are great events that help so many riders and produce so much footage and whole TV shows. It helps everybody, but the money came from Red Bull so you’re gonna hate on it? If Mcdonalds wanted to do more things in snowboarding, yeah ok, let’s do a contests together and I’ll set it up. You can help them help you. You give them the cool factor of being part of snowboarding and do whatever you want with it and make a cool event or a sick snowboard movie. The best is when people hate on corporate sponsors and they’re riding for a company that’s part of Jarden corp. That’s a huge corporation. You’re talking smack about people riding for energy drinks and you ride for one of the biggest corporations there is. Red Bull is privately owned! There’s like one dude running that whole thing. It’s kinda hard to be super core – more companies are owned by corporations these days. Or when people hate on Burton, that one cracks me up too. It’s owned by Jake Burton who’s been in it since the beginning.

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A lot of the companies that support snowboarding the most are the ones that have nothing to really do with it. We wouldn’t have a lot of the cool events, movies or anything if it wasn’t for non endemics. Yet there is all this hate in snowboarding for corporations or energy drinks, do you think that dissuades these brands from wanting to be involved in snowboarding? The vibe that snowboarding puts off can’t be productive.

Yeah, but skating is a way harsher industry on hating on things, and you’ve got lots of guys getting support. I think what scares these corporations more than anything is that they have to answer to a lot more people and when you’re dealing with a corporation you’re a lot more in the spotlight. Like if you were to get a DUI with no corporate sponsors they’d be like, damn well, guess you’re not coming to Canada. But if you were to get a DUI and ride for a mega corporation, there’s a lot more issues that they’re gonna have and you’re most likely going to get dropped. I don’t think they’re scared of athletes not accepting them, it’s more like, is this gonna be the right move or are we gonna have to do a lot of clean up with this person?

Snowboarders are too edgy, haha.

Yeah, they want that, but also don’t want what goes along with it. Really any company could come into snowboarding if they wanted to, to be honest. There’s always gonna be some one that’s gonna be down. But we’ve also had so many bad winters lately, that it doesn’t matter who you are, you have to see if you’re gonna get an ROI on this.

Yeah, all the talk of snowboarding dying, if you’re a marketing manager for some brand, it’s probably not real inspiring to get involved. Have you noticed the bigger brands being less interested?

I think there’s a little less money in some areas. I mean, Nike was doing well as far as snowboard standards but it wasn’t enough for the executives who just look at the bottom line. It’s more budgets than anything, if they don’t sell, there’s no budget. That’s the hard part with not getting snow. But let’s be honest – that’s what some people wanted. They don’t want big companies to be involved. There are some people out there I feel like would be happier if no pro snowboarders were getting paid.

To me it’s like, if it’s dead, was snowboarding dead before it was as big as it is now? Was that considered dead or in its infancy? But it’s still happening. There are still pro snowboarders, still magazines, still movies. I’m still gonna be snowboarding. I have a passion for snowboarding. My dream is to make enough money that when I’m retired I can call up my homies and be like, hey, let’s go to Baldface for the week, I rented it out. Come hang out. How are you gonna tell me that I’m selling out? My ultimate goal is to keep snowboarding as long as possible. I don’t party and I work out and stuff because I want to stay healthy and snowboard as long as possible. A lot of these things that I do, it’s like, you work out? You’re a jock. But I work out so I can stay healthy or if I do get hurt get back quicker. At the end of the day it’s all about staying on my snowboard and if I get knocked off it, how quick can I come back. If you’re healthy it’s a lot faster. Everything I do is based around snowboarding more or less. I want to be able to enjoy it with my friends. My best days are the days you go on a trip with your buddies and just dicking around. Red Bull Double Pipe was so fun because it was a handful of riders, unlimited sleds and you’re just ripping runs. It’s sunny, you got slope style riders, pipe riders, everyone is cruising and your collaborating. I would do that a lot more if possible.

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Why do you hate the term pipe jock?

That cracks me up because most of the pipe riders that I ride with can all hit jumps. I was at Red Bull camp and doing some tricks on jumps and learning some new ones. I’m not saying I was going apeshit or anything, but I was getting some tricks I was happy with and someone was like, how come half pipe riders can jump but it’s not vice versa? Why don’t you call people that just ride slopestyle park jocks? Greg Bretz, Ben Ferguson, Gabe Ferguson, Benji Farrow are all really good jumpers, but most people just see them riding a halfpipe and people think that’s all they can do.

Do you get to snowboard a lot? It seems like you have a ton of shit going on.

This year I did a lot more just snowboarding, which was great. I went to Aspen and rode pow, I went to Silverton and Wolfcreek for a day, which was insane. I went to Vail and came back down and did double pipe. I really only rode 3 contests this year. I rode Park City and bunch and I had a pass at Snowbird so I got to rip there, which Snowbird is insane so I love riding there. I did a lot of just snowboarding, and of course riding pipe to get ready for contests, but I got to actually ride this year. I kinda made a point of that, and it was sick, I was pretty hyped on that.

Do you ever sit back and think, I can’t believe this is my life?

Yeah, all the time! I’m from Ohio. I never dreamed of this. When I would go to Windells when I was little, people would say to my dad or to me, oh your son’s really good. And I was like yeah thanks, but I was still getting middle of the pack at USASA nationals. My season was maybe middle of December or middle of March unless we drove somewhere.

My first year at X Games I remember looking up and around and being like, holy shit, I’m at X Games and competing. This is unbelievable. I used to tape X Games and watch em all the time. Growing up in Ohio you know about the magazines, but I remember going to a book fair and they had a sports illustrated snowboard edition, and I got it and read it cover to cover instantly. I was so into it. But I never thought that I could become a pro snowboarder and now that I am, it’s like, what can I do now? Setting new goals. When I was a little kid I read something that said if you read your goals every day you have a higher percent chance of achieving them. I went home and to this day, it’s still there, I have a sign above my bed that says I am going to be a pro snowboarder. When I was laying in my bed every day I’d be staring at it. That’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t really know what that meant. I was just stoked to get free stuff. I still get hyped, it’s like Christmas!

I remember one time I was at Hood and I was in an ad for Alphanumerics, I think Whitey shot it, with Jeremy Jones nose pressing this rail. I’m standing in the front with this big old helmet on watching Jeremy Jones. I definitely wasn’t like balling when I was younger, we did well enough to snowboard, but anyway, I was like, man, let me buy one of your Nixon watches off you. And he was like, no, no I’ll give you one. He ended up sending me a box with like sunglasses, goggles, hats stickers, a Nixon watch. That was the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me in snowboarding. That kinda set the bar. Jeremy Jones and JP Walker were the two guys that gave me so much attention, so much time that that’s how I set my standard for how I am at X Games with people. One time when we were on vacation in Park City Jeremy Jones and his wife came to my hotel, brought me a copy of the Resistance, hung out for like an hour. I was nobody, just a little grommet from Ohio.

Poor Jeremy Jones, just got dropped.

Let’s be honest. Now a days it’s more about everything. You have to be a good snowboarder but you have to be the whole package and if you’re not selling boards you’re not getting deals. Look at Taylor Gold, he won the Burton US Open and got cut.

Does any snowboarder sell snowboards anymore?

I don’t know, that’s why it’s like, get it while you can. Every time a contract is up you’re gonna be on the edge of your seat, a little bit. Doesn’t matter who you are.

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Tough times. Speaking of, who are you riding for?

Red Bull, G Shock, Toyota, Spy, Kicker Car Stereos, Neff.

What about beef jerky? Do you have a fuck ton of beef jerky at your house?

I did for awhile, I had a deal with Oberto, but they didn’t renew anyone. I think that was just one and done thing for right now. But I still have a great relationship with them so hopefully in the future if something comes up we can work with them again.

65 replies
  1. basshole
    basshole says:

    finally, the first interesting hump day in a lonnng time. still can’t say i really like louie vito much, but he had some really insightful things to say and, whether or not you agree with him, it was actually interesting. not just “i like hitting rails, pass me the weed, lol.” thought he nailed the part about how stupid it is to hate on burton.

    • seriously
      seriously says:

      i can understand hating on burton to some extent but what i find funny is that so many kids hate on burton cause they are big and corporate, which they aren’t, and sponsor contest guys but then turn around and go dude salomon and k2 are dope. those are fucking ski brands getting snowboard money. yeah they have a cool brand and products and the support they give is great but don’t say ill never by burton cause they aren’t core and then buy a salomander.

  2. Spiderman
    Spiderman says:

    Snowboarding is snowboarding, no right or wrong. Get out there, enjoy it, and give zero fucks to anyone who hates.

  3. C'mon Brooke
    C'mon Brooke says:

    You know damn well everyone who’s commenting Brooke. We know you got the IP addresses and shit. Im sure you know this is me too.

  4. energyfizz
    energyfizz says:

    That was really nice to read. I have one gripe on the energy drink hate though and general take all the contracts/money and use it for yourself. The problem is not that it’s a big corporation, it’s that it takes something awesome and uses it to peddle something not as awesome (shit load of sugar and chemicals). Supernatural and Double Pipe are awesome, but it kinda sucks when energy drinks are getting rammed down your throat. I’d rather have quinoa quiches.

    • pol
      pol says:

      Who cares? They make drinks, which give you energy, taste good, and are barely worse than your average soft drink. They don’t take ANY money away from true core snowboarding companies, but put millions of dollars into our sport. You should be bitching about a company like Nike, who bought into snowboarding and took profits away from the core brands that were already here, or going to be in the future.

  5. rap
    rap says:

    you said it yourself:

    “It’s interesting how people in snowboarding can be so close minded and it’s supposedly this free-spirited activity.”

    but you’re a part of that whole close mindedness in snowboarding. i see the funny racial comments ya’ll make on yobeat and shit is not cool. jokes are jokes but c’mon son.

  6. Attentive Citizen
    Attentive Citizen says:

    If it were up to me, Louie would be rebranded as the Beef Jerky Gnome and he would travel on a jet ski to impoverished parts of the world and build them terrain parks made of beef jerky. Just saying.

  7. LAME
    LAME says:

    I was in line at Bear one afternoon (I think it was Grenade Games) and kids were like Hey Louie, Hey Louie…….Louie just mad dogged em–as if they were piss ant kids not worthy of any attention.
    Sorry I got zero respect for Tiny Dancer, not because he went on the dance show, but because he is a little punk, a pipe rider that can barely boost out of the pipe. His riding was technical trickery 2 feet out…..in the pipe game–not too impressive. He will definitely be remembered as an overachiever!

  8. FUCK COMMON APPAREL
    FUCK COMMON APPAREL says:

    Loui Vito needs to learn to hit rails, everyday at Park City its straight to the pipe #pipejock #fuckrails #yobeatsucksdick

    • Zach
      Zach says:

      Brought Louie out one day in Dayton, OH. Got a really steep 40 stair 50 180, a smaller switch 50 180, and tried to 50 a gigantic down flat down flat down unsuccessfully for a couple of hours. That was about 2006 and I think it may have been used in the second “mondopro”(?) video if I remember right? I never got to see it sadly. Anyone recall these shots?

  9. justanotherhater
    justanotherhater says:

    Louie is honestly the most down to earth guy and not fake in the slightest bit. and i could tell that by only talking to him twice on the chairlift. Dudes the realest

  10. Speney Moaks
    Speney Moaks says:

    I think that contests and rails have as much in common as ice hockey and figure skating. They are totally different sports with just the same object strapped in your feet.

    • justanotherhater
      justanotherhater says:

      lol i see louie at park city all the time and he always has a smile on his face… i think he is having fun

  11. Jeffy holce the athlete guy
    Jeffy holce the athlete guy says:

    I honestly don’t give a fuck about this guy at all, he doesnt represent anything cool about snowboarding. go hang with your “celebrity friends” also im gay

  12. god
    god says:

    “Regardless if they’re 50-50ing a rail or 270ing a rail. Maybe a 50-50 gives them the same rush as a guy gets when he lands some gnarly trick.”
    you know god damn well that if they could do a 270 instead of a 50-50 they would.

    • yeah but
      yeah but says:

      I feel like he’s saying that they are doing the best they can, and they get hyped on their best shit, not worrying about others throwing down harder…

  13. Oompa Loompa
    Oompa Loompa says:

    Eh Louie! Great interview, but seriously… does Willy know you left the Chocolate Factory yet??

  14. Doug
    Doug says:

    I’m laughing at all these comments above. I’ve known Louie since I was 5 or 6. He is one of the most humble down to earth guys you’ll ever meet. There isn’t a mean bone in his body. He would do anything for anyone. It’s unreal how people trash people because they’re in the spotlight. Being famous doesn’t automatically make you non human. Lay off him, most of you all talk shit because you wish you led his awesome life. Louie is a great dude and also a great role model for young kids.

  15. Kaitlyn
    Kaitlyn says:

    I think Louie is the best!! I’m from Ohio and am a contest rider traveled over 19000 miles just for the love of snowboarding

    • haha
      haha says:

      Wow this article also ruined my cream cheese peppers. left them in the oven and they got burnt as fuck

  16. flaming microwave
    flaming microwave says:

    i was just thinking that sucks he has to find a way to get boots, boards, and bindings…but then i noticed he gets free trucks.

  17. Marshmellow
    Marshmellow says:

    People that hate on Louie don’t know him! He would do anything for anyone of you dumb asses!

  18. Reality101
    Reality101 says:

    Social Security Supplemental Income is not a retirement plan. Way to go Louie!!! Be loud and proud about financial success, freedom and security. Knees and careers come and go….the list of pros who should have saved more is too long. Start with Gooner:) Bet Terje’s financial portfolio is sweet.

Comments are closed.