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Video: 100-foot snowmobile flip ends all too predictably

Video: 100-foot snowmobile fli...
Levi LaVallee lands a five-story high, 100-foot long snowmobile backflip. What did you do with your Saturday?
Levi LaVallee lands a five-story high, 100-foot long snowmobile backflip. What did you do with your Saturday?
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Levi LaVallee's 100-foot snowmobile backflip
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Levi LaVallee's 100-foot snowmobile backflip
A sizeable crowd turned out for UpsidedownTown
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A sizeable crowd turned out for UpsidedownTown
Levi LaVallee lands a five-story high, 100-foot long snowmobile backflip. What did you do with your Saturday?
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Levi LaVallee lands a five-story high, 100-foot long snowmobile backflip. What did you do with your Saturday?
Levi LeVallee prepares for the jump
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Levi LeVallee prepares for the jump
Upside down and a long way up
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Upside down and a long way up
LeVallee is not unhappy with his achievement.
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LeVallee is not unhappy with his achievement.
The Polaris snowmobile LaVallee flipped.
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The Polaris snowmobile LaVallee flipped.
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It's not every day you get to see a 500-pound snowmobile do a 5-story high, 100-foot long backflip. Minnesota native Levi LaVallee took advantage of the Superbowl circus to stage the crazy stunt over Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall.

But you, dear readers, get a chance to experience just that, from multiple angles, in the following video, which is mercifully light on tedious extreme sports hype and gets straight into the stunts. Enjoy!

Levi Levallee's 100-foot snowmobile backflip for Polaris

If I'm going to be honest, this kind of thing is starting to suffer from over-professionalization, in my opinion. There wasn't a second during that video where I feared for LaVallee's safety. He's done the same thing a hundred times into foam pits. His ramps are designed by men with CAD programs, and he's probably managed to satisfy Polaris's insurance company he's worth covering.

It's a terrific demonstration of practiced skill, and a great example of a huge, heavy vehicle being taken way outside the envelope it's designed for. But honestly, these things are starting to look like physics demonstrations to me. They hold the same amount of will-they-won't-they drama as watching Neil Degrasse Tyson drop the big pendulum and try to act all dramatic about whether it'll come back and bop him in the nose. I think I get more excitement watching my toddler trying to balance on a waist-high brick wall, because that looks like somebody working at the absolute outer limits of their capability, with no guarantee of success.

Upside down and a long way up
Upside down and a long way up

I think the time is ripe for extreme sports stunt teams to start taking things to a new level - by working on making things look hairier. Perhaps the problem is these kids think they're too cool. And heck, it's hard to argue when they're doing 100-foot snowmobile flips. But the great stunt guys of old, the Jackie Chans and Buster Keatons and whatnot, had a way of making far simpler and less technical stuff look far more exciting, because they have a great way of looking out of control, even when they're not. Showmanship, they used to call it.

You certainly don't want to go back as far as the Evel Knievel approach, in which ramps were designed more or less by eyeballing the jump, and every other attempt would end in shattered bones and ambulance rides. And I don't even know if stunts of this physical magnitude can be done in any other way than by the book.

But the world could very well get extremed-out if things keep going the way they are. Still, here's to those goons that put their time, energy and focus into such things. They give us a glimpse of what life might look like without fear, and for that, we gotta give it up!

Source: Polaris

View gallery - 7 images
6 comments
DOC HOLLYWOOD
Pretty tough of you to show such a high tolerance for risk...with his body. Did you post this after a coupla 3-4-5-6 beers?
WolfeSA
Wow, I didn't think that was possible. Amazing skill. I'll bethe sid suffer a few times when he wiped out during ewrly attempts, if that helps.... ;-)
Gregg Eshelman
Jaguar did their spiral jump the old fashioned way, with lots of trial and lots of error. Despite their claims of it being a "production vehicle" it was obviously highly modified. Even with all that they didn't do as well as the original Astro Spiral Jump seen in "The Man with the Golden Gun" and for years in the Joey Chitwood stunt driving show.
Jaguar used a dirt landing ramp and the vehicle came down half sideways. So did Chevrolet's much modified Sonic in their "kickflip" spiral jump.
The original was developed with what would be considered nowadays a very primitive computer, yet they did it perfect the very first time and landed straight on the exit ramp, driving off without any sideways skidding. Why not simply copy the original?
Martin Hone
Whilst I agree that what were once death-defying stunts now seem commonplace, there is still a lot of guts and skill involved.... certainly more than you and I have... :-)
toddzrx
I couldn't agree more with the author. Physics demonstration indeed!
Riaanh
If you don't appreciate this, then rather go to Youtube, where there are far too many guys with too much Testostorone attempting to disprove basic physics.