(Photo above: The rough and rugged Toyota Tacoma can withstand all types of abuse including the weight of pro snowboarder Louie Vito. Photo: Wilder)
Out of the snow and into the sand, Louie Vito took the weekend off from his snowboard Superpipe training in the mountains to mix it up with motors in the sand dunes off the Oregon Coast.
Louie was among select snowboarders in attendance for the second assemblage of Hotel Tacoma, Toyota's invite-only camping trip of a lifetime. It began last year as a trial get together for adventure seekers, but was completely blown away in scale for its second iteration. From the epic swag, to the toys to test, and every accommodation along the way, athletes and other invited guests were treated to a weekend of exciting new experiences.
Whether it's linking consecutive double corks in a Superpipe, or linking casts back and forth on a fly-fishing rod, Louie gets excited to progress at all things outdoors. Taking full advantage of the setup at Hotel Tacoma, one day Louie found himself relaxing on a massage table in between fly-fishing and side-by-side ATV rides, and the next day he test-drove trucks before catching coastal winds with a paragliding kite.
We hopped from boat bench to the backseat with Louie, and when all was said and done we stopped to recap everything he just did and how the weekend came to be.
Fly-fishing—have you ever done it?
I'd never fly-fished before, but I know Curtis Cizek, E-Jack, John J, and they're all super into fly-fishing. So, I've always wanted to try it. They're always talking about it, and I'm always seeing them on Instagram doing it.
For me, it's the kind of fishing where you're not just sitting there, You've got to be active. I was stoked to try it. I'm not good by any means, but I definitely saw progress, and I caught a fish!
We rallied brand-new Tacomas during the Ride-N-Drive. How did that compared to the vehicle you typically drive?
I have a Toyota Tundra Platinum and a Prius. I love them. But the Tacoma is dope!
We drove it on every type of terrain possible out here on the Oregon Coast, the only thing we were missing was snow. It was cool to take the truck into the sand dunes, over rocks, into rivers and into the ocean.
It's just fun to test it all out and not have to worry if a branch scratches it up—it was nice not having to worry about that.
What other activities have you done this weekend?
I went paragliding with wind off the coast. The sand dunes–which I had never been in before– driving side-by-side [ATVs], the trucks and dirt biking was great. They had fly-fishing at the lake, deep-sea fishing and crabbing in the ocean, and then we went surfing. There are so many things you can do in literally a mile radius. It was insane.
In your own words, what was the purpose of the weekend?
For me, Hotel Tacoma is a place where like-minded people from all over the [outdoor activity] spectrum gather to hang out, make new friends, and do fun and different activities. Having like-minded people just makes it that much more fun. You're making friends while you try new activities, because Toyota is putting on a great event and not pushing anything.
When they say: "Hey, we have these brand new Tacomas, and we want to take you around in them. You're going to do all of these awesome activities with cool people from all over. What do you think?" You say, "hell yeah!"
"The Tacoma is dope! We drove it on every type of terrain possible out here on the Oregon Coast."
As a snowboarder, what is it like having Toyota as a partner?
I've been with Toyota for six years now, and they're a great partner. Obviously, a company that makes vehicles I already use every single day that are reliable to drive me to the mountain through snowstorms and blizzards, or if I want to go to the beach it can get me there. Of course, all of that stuff makes sense.
But Toyota is one of the founding sponsors of Dew Tour, which to me is very important. That is supporting snowboarding, not just jumping in to support something when it is hot. They have been in since the beginning and have been helping to create such a great event. That's very important to me. Toyota wants to support everything we want to do, and I feel very fortunate to ride for them. It's cool that they put you into different scenarios and you are able to do more than just go to a contest and slap a sticker on your board. It's a true partnership in every sense of the word.
(Just a few of Louie’s favorite features inside the 2017 Toyota Tacoma truck. Video: Wilder)
What's on tap for you before Dew Tour?
With Dew Tour being the contest of the year for [snowboard Superpipe], it means there's going to be a lot of snowboarding this spring and summer. I will personally be doing a lot of riding. About three weeks on and one week off, pretty much through next winter.
I ride with Hannah Teter and Ayumu Hirano, and Elijah Teter coaches us. We have a good squad. Elijah is super fun to work with and is always hitting me up to go ride, even if it is not necessarily the halfpipe and to go rip powder. He has a stoke about snowboarding that he passes along to all of us.
Riding with Ayumu, who is obviously one of the best halfpipe riders in the world, is great. I am very happy to be able to ride with him and get pushed by him. Hannah and I go way back, and I have always enjoyed riding with her since I was much younger. We have a good squad, and I am going to be spending a lot of time with them this season.
Pushing myself and my riding, that's pretty much that my focus. To ride as much as I can this spring and summer. Learn some stuff, put some new things together and be ready to ride come this December.
More from Hotel Tacoma
Snowboarders Gather on Oregon Coast For Hotel Tacoma