Three Days With Shaun White

Photos by Chris Owen

Shaun White’s snowboarding presence will outlive us all. His life has been under the media microscope since before the voice change and definitely before the growth spurt-and let’s face it, he hasn’t flinched once. Why would you when that’s all you know? However, White’s obviously more than just another freaked-out child prodigy-he’s grown up and come into his own, in a way that’s surpassed everyone’s feeble hopes for him but with his own weird little twist (like the giant red mane of his adulthood that, truth be told, really looks like a wig).

Anyway, so where does late January find Mr. White? In June Mountain, California, filming for the Volcom video and hanging out with good friends like Bjorn and Erik Leines, Pat Moore, Billy Anderson, and of course, his brother Jesse. Downtime and a chance to ride for the fun of it are a rare thing for Shaun, and these few days were as close as it gets to that-a brief calm before the violent X-Games hurricane hits.-Jennifer Sherowski

What were you working on during this time?

It was right before the X-Games, so I was just concentrating on getting some good pipe riding in. I really wanted to work on my Cab tens that week, but the pipe was a little laid-back, so we didn’t get the goods we were hoping for. I ended up just chilling out, not thinking about the contest too much, and focusing on getting the filming done.

What were you listening to?

Man alive, what was I listening too? I was rocking some Led Zeppelin. Pat was there, so we were listening to The Doors. Plus whatever weird music my brother had on.

What were you reading?

I was definitely doing some homework. It’s rad chilling with Pat ’cause he’s in school, too, so we just sat down and busted it out. There’s nothing more fun than coming back from the mountain to some geography and algebra.

Did you have any goals for this season?

One of my main goals was doing the four different nines in a single run. I tried all last year to get it done, but there were no jumps-so when I got to the Vail Session, I had to do it. I tried it on my third or fourth run. It was crazy just going at the last hit and stomping. I totally freaked out-it was such an insane feeling.

What was making you happy?

I was stoked on meeting up with friends and meeting new people. I met a bunch of kids my age this year. It was rad being able to chill with people I could relate to. It’s always nice not being the youngest.

What was stressing you out or bothering you?

This was a tough year because I bit off way more than I could chew. I ended up filming for five different movies, plus doing a bunch of contests, and then trying to get better when I wasn’t doing one or the other. It was totally my fault, too-I picked the contests and movie crews in advance at the beginning of the season. But it was a lesson learned: never again will I take on that much.

What number was dialed most often from your cell phone during those three days?

Ha, home for sure. It’s always nice to call home and talk to the family. Oh yeah, United Airlines would be up there, as well.

What are some of your other recent obsessions besides snowboarding?

I’ve been getting more and more into design. I have an outerwear line coming out with Burton, so I pay a lot of attention to what people are wearing-like how things are constructed, colors, et cetera. I’ve been checking out artists, musicians, getting all cultural.

What are the top five things you spend your money on?

Hair gel, conditioner, shampoo, blow driers, and my prized, pearl-handled, gold-inlaid hair brush.

When was the last time you thought you were going to break under the pressure?

This year at the Vans Cup in Tahoe-I got stressed out and took off. I was so homesick and worn out. I couldn’t concentrate, and I was blowing it. I fell on two of my pipe runs, so I took off the next day. It was nice to go home, but I had to leave for Japan two days later anyway.

When was the last time you were scared to death?


What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in life so far?

If you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself. That, or don’t touch anyone with a rash. It’s a toss-up.