If you are a keen snowboarder and extreme winter sports enthusiast and have been wondering what happened to Shaun White between the end of the 2009 winter season and his re-appearance in New Zealand late August, wonder no further…
This is what a powerful sponsor (redbull) can do to on behalf of a top athlete.
Shaun White is an incomparable snowboarder who has constantly taken the sport to extreme levels. He is the first athlete ever to land back to back double corks and remains the only skater to land the body varial frontside 540 (The Armadillo).
He is also the first snowboarder to win back-to-back gold medals in the Winter X-Games Superpipe. He is the first (and only) person to win both a Summer and Winter Dew Cup. He won the Revolver Golden God Award for “Most Metal Athlete” and he has won TransWorld SNOWboarding Rider Of The Year twice, once in 2003 and again in 2006.
Red Bull, a keen extreme sports promoter, has reason to put their faith in Shaun White.
In February 2009 he teamed up with Red Bull to create a custom-made half pipe in the rugged depths of the San Juan mountains outside Silverton, Colorado. This would allow him to work on a series of new tricks that will change the sport forever
This was Project X.
“I’ve had all these tricks I wanted to try. I just needed a place to figure them out,” said White. Not only the place, but the privacy… not only then privacy but perfect conditions… imagine a half-pipe never touched before by another soul…
It took 2 months and 30 heli-bomb dropped avalanches to get enough loose snow to form the perfect pipe.
Not only 30 heli-bombs to move 250,000 cubic yards of snow, but 300 man hours, 7,200 foam blocks and 8,000 lbs of welded steel were used to create the world’s first on-mountain snowboarding foam pit to allow White to practice his death defying tricks.
“You have to keep pushing yourself as an athlete” he says, and in his vocabulary this means pushing himself beyond what has been, to date, considered possible.
He aerial assaulted the foam pit trying out trick after trick allowing the conditions to give him the freedom of seeing whether the tricks in his mind could actually be carried out. And when he had perfected them in the pit, he took them to his very own pipe.
And so, with help from Red Bull, he has taken the sport from today into tomorrow…
A front double cork 10, a switchback 900, double back rodeo and cab double cork 10 are all things to look out for when White performs this year.
That formidable training has already born fruit. He won the NZ Open World Cup late August by pulling off a frontside lein air, backside 900, frontside 720, cab double cork 1080, to a front 1080 in his first run, and a straight air, backside 500, frontside 720, cab double cork 1080, front double cork 1080 on his second run.
With Project X, Red Bull demonstrates how the company is ‘changing the game’ when it comes to investing its marketing dollars. While some brands are investing millions of dollars in signage and presenting sponsorships, Red Bull is radically changing, owning, and creating sports properties and unique concepts of its own.
With Project X, Red Bull takes athlete/partnerships/endorsements to a new level. Both brands (Red Bull and Shaun White) will clearly benefit from this campaign – and this will also help Red Bull’s exposure leading into the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The might and power of Red Bull allowed this dream to become a reality for White and perhaps one day Silverton too will benefit from Project X. The half pipe is completely visible from the ski area so perhaps one day it can be used by everyone…
You can see more about Project X here: www.redbullprojectx.com