The closest thing that snowmobiling has to a rock star made a rock star-like splash on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno Wednesday night, mugging for the cameras, joking with the host and then launching his snowmobile high into the air on the NBC back lot.
Wearing his snowmobiling gear, including a special Red Bull jacket and matching pants and an Alpinestar neck brace, Levi LaVallee calmly sauntered onto stage and shook hands with the current king of nighttime talk shows. Leno warmed up his young guest with talk of his Northern Minnesota hometown.
“Where is Longville,” Leno asked.
“Longville is a town about 3, 3-and-a-half hours north of Minneapolis,” LaVallee replied. “A town of 180 people. There’s probably more people in this room…”
“No, there ARE more people, not probably – there are three towns,” Leno interjected.
Conversation then turned to LaVallee’s youth.
“I grew up riding snowmobiles, from the time I was 12 years old on I pretty much rode my sled everywhere,” LaVallee said. “We would ride our sleds to school and the principal was gracious enough to let us drop our gear in there and whatnot. Then after school, I would go outside and the snow banks were all pushed up and they worked really well as a little ramp, so I would put on a little show for the kids.”
Answering Leno’s questions, LaVallee talked about jumping a little four-wheeler starting when he was four before turning attention to his famous X Games double-backflip and the process of practicing for such a unique jump – the show even aired footage of LaVallee practicing using a foam pit.
Ultimately, LaVallee was on the show to hype his planned New Year’s Eve dual jump with dirt bike freestyler Robbie Maddison as a part of the Red Bull New Year’s No Limits show on ESPN. And that led to discussion of his dramatic crash while practicing for last year’s event. He explained what happened, but didn’t discuss his injuries.
“Unfortunately, I had a carburetion problem,” LaVallee said. “Basically you run the sled up and down [when flying through the air] with the gas and brake, so I brought the front end down by hitting the brake but when I went to get on the gas to keep it on that plane it kind of gurgled and never picked up.” The show then aired footage of the crash.
Next, LaVallee fired his Polaris 600, drove it out the back door of the studio, launched himself off of a ramp, performed a Superman while in the air and then returned to the studio. It was great TV, and excellent exposure for himself, his sponsors and his sport.
Complete footage of the appearance is available to watch now at Hulu.com. It is broken up into two parts: Here are the links: