This week’s conversation is with snowmobiling legend Levi LaVallee, a 13 time X Games Medalist, Snocross Champion, and World Record holder

Levi first tasted podium success in 2004 when he won the HillCross snowmobile event at the Winter X Games, in Aspen, Colorado and then made the switch to Freestyle competition.

At the 2008 Winter X Games, Levi took gold in both the Speed & Style and Freestyle events and was later named Best Male Athlete of the entire competition.

He also made history when he became the first person to attempt a double backflip on a snowmobile at the 2009 Winter X Games.

After soaring more than 15m into the air, he went long on the landing and was thrown from his sled upon impact. The attempt was so tantalisingly close to succeeding that many people considered it a great achievement.

The X Games medals weren’t enough though — in 2011, he took the torch from Travis Pastrana, Robbie Maddison and Rhys Millen for one of his greatest feats – Red Bull New Year No Limits.

Levi jumped across the San Diego Bay on a snow mobile, setting a new world record of 412ft (125m).

And that sets the tone for this conversation — it’s about what led up to that world record-setting moment that gave Levi the confidence, the courage, the hunger to go for that type of feat.

Levi is a student of progression – he’s organized his life that way from a young age to now and it becomes evident how that’s allowed him to succeed at just about anything he’s put his mind to.

“If you want something you gotta go for it. Give it everything you’ve got.”

In This Episode:

  • Got into snowmobiling early, dad trusted him to figure it out despite his young age
  • His attitude…. committing to being all in, wanting to prove others wrong and doing whatever it took
  • How does he get good at getting on the edge?
  • What’s his purpose? Why’s that make him more comfortable taking risks?
  • His process for getting clear on goals
  • How does he earn self-trust?
  • Being resourceful… why it’s important
  • Who has been influential in his life?
  • How has Travis Pastrana made an impact on him?
  • What was the single most difficult moment in his life… loneliness, isolation in high school
  • Learning to adopt a positive mindset no matter what
  • Almost losing his life training for Red Bull New Year No Limits… what went wrong?
  • How was he able to come back from catastrophic injury
  • What’s the key to confidence?
  • Why he’s always been a student of growth
  • His definition of mastery

 

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Quotables:

“I committed to being all in and that’s held up through my racing, distance jumping, and freestyle. As soon as you go upside down, there’s no in between doing a back flip, you either go all the way or you land on your head.”

“There are situations where you’re trying to do a flip trick and if you’re not fully committed, it turns really bad. It’s really groomed me to this fully committed state in anything I do. Even in business. Go all in on this. That pattern has led to success.”

“When you’re learning a new trick, whether it’s on a skateboard, a bike, a snowmobile, or anything else, you’re just progressively pushing yourself right to that edge. You keep going there and you get to the point where your confidence has grown so much.”

“You go to that point where you’re like, you don’t know if it’s going to work, if it’s going to happen, and you finally just build up enough courage to say, I’m going to go for it.”

“How do you better at taking risks? It’s a constant pursuit. You get better and better. It was the 5 ft jump to the 10 to the 50 to the 90 to the 412. You are constantly consuming yourself with anything and everything that is what you’re after.”

“I’m a firm believer in working hard, practicing, and just building your confidence up. The more you prepare for the task at hand, the less risky it becomes.”

“The way that I’ve always looked at it is I’ve always thought of it as, okay, I’ve done everything I can to prepare and now it’s just trust. Trust what you’ve done, trust your ability, trust the work and just go and do it.”

“I think being humble is a huge thing but at the same time you have to have the confidence in yourself where you’re just like, man, I can do anything.”

“A lot of times I go, well, what do I need to know and how can I learn it? Where can I learn it? And I’ll figure it out. It’s like I feel I’m capable of doing anything.”

“I remember writing down what my ultimate goal was… to be bigger than the sport of snowmobiling.”

“I have this thing that I just tell myself, I’m like, all right, first be aware of the problem, come up with a plan and then do it and do it. It’s very simple.”

 

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The last of the great crossover athletes, Levi LaVallee has 13 X Games medals in six different snowmobile disciplines, and 14 appearances, making him one of most successful athletes in X Games winter event history. He and his wife now run Team LaVallee Snocross Racing.