Levi LaVallee was injured on Tuesday, December 14, while practicing in Southern California for his planned world record snowmobile distance jump at this year’s Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. event, set to take place in San Diego on December 31 and telecast on ESPN. LaVallee was immediately transported to a local hospital where he is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. As a result of this incident, however, it has been decided that Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. will be cancelled this year.
The safety of Red Bull’s world-class athletes is paramount, and all precautions were taken during LaVallee’s testing sessions to ensure he could perform in the safest-possible setting.
Leading up to the event, LaVallee, 28, from Longville, MN, worked with athlete performance experts, aerodynamics experts and engineers, in addition to his core team, in an effort to get the most out of his body and snowmobile. During testing, LaVallee jumped an astounding 361 feet, eclipsing the existing record by 60 feet. This jump will be submitted for world record certification.
LaVallee has had a very successful career in several snowmobile disciplines. A snocross racer for more than 15 years, he took up freestyle in 2007, and at Winter X Games 12 in 2008, he won the gold medal in the Freestyle and Speed & Style events and was named Athlete of the Games. In 2009, he won the Pro Stock Snocross championship and came thisclose to landing the first-ever snowmobile double backflip at Winter X 13, garnering global media attention. Earlier this year, at Winter X 14, he took gold in the newly-created Snowmobile Knock Out event, his seventh Winter X Games medal.
LaVallee was to be the fourth athlete to star in Red Bull’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration on ESPN, which highlights extraordinary athletes pushing their physical, mental and technical limits to break boundaries and records. Robbie Maddison jumped his motorcycle 322 feet over a football field in Las Vegas in 2007 and followed it up in 2008 by jumping onto and off of the 96-foot-tall Arc De Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas. Also in 2008, Rhys Millen backflipped an off-road truck. Last year, Travis Pastrana jumped his rally car 269 feet over water, landing on a barge in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor.