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Thursday, December 15, 2011
LaVallee on The Tonight Show

By Colin Bane

Seven-time Winter X Games Snowmobile medalist Levi LaVallee was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Wednesday, discussing his double backflip at Winter X 13 and his plans for the Red Bull "New Year. No Limits" stunt with FMX rider Robbie "Maddo" Maddison.

"New Year's Eve is going to be awesome," LaVallee told Leno. "We're both going to try to break a world record for distance jump, and we're actually going to be jumping over a 300-foot water gap in the process. I have to break my record from last year, which is 361 feet -- and Maddo, he's got to go even farther than that -- so it's going to be pretty insane.

LaValle told Leno he can trace his daredevil roots back to when he was four years old and his father bought him his first four-wheeler, then set up a jump for him, to his mother's dismay. For good measure, he later hopped on his Polaris 600 sled and drove it outside Leno's studio in Burbank, Calif. ("A frigid 61 degrees here in Burbank," as Leno pointed out) to launch a Superman seatgrab over Leno's parking lot "Winter Wonderland" set.

LaVallee is hoping for redemption at the New Year's Eve event this year, which will air live on ESPN: After pushing the snowmobile distance jump record from 301.5 feet to a stunning 361 feet while training for last year's event, a crash in practice runs forced the actual event to be cancelled.

A Winter X Games competitor since 2003, LaVallee missed Winter X 15 and the rest of last season's competitions as a result of those injuries, and says he's hoping to smash his own record this time around to make up for it. "Once I get more comfortable maybe I can enjoy it, but for now just point A to point B safely is the goal," said LaVallee, in a recent promo video filmed while he was training for this year's jump.

To up the ante, he and Maddo will be jumping at the same time as they launch over San Diego Harbor: Maddison, who also spent much of this year recovering from injuries, is aiming to reclaim the motorcycle distance jump record, which now stands at just over 391 feet, set to his closest competitor, Ryan Capes, by pushing it beyond 400 feet.

For more on this year's Red Bull "New Year. No Limits" event, check out Tes Sewell's Q&A with LaVallee.