He’s just turned 23, he’s already a legend and he's heading for his second Olympics. Shaun White talks about staying on top of his game, plus the joys of having your own halfpipe and digging up dead cats...
Hi Shaun, how have you been preparing for the new season?
Shaun White: I've been trying to just not think about the upcoming season. With the Olympics coming up, there is a lot of pressure and a lot of attention on this year. All that attention can easily distract you from the fun and enjoyable side of snowboarding. This year I’m just going to take it easy, focus on my goals, and try to have a blast.
What new tricks do you have up your sleeve?
SW: Last season Red Bull helped me build a halfpipe with a foam pit for safe landings. It was an amazing experience that really helped me learn some new tricks that I had floating around in my mind.
What’s the best thing about having your own private halfpipe?
SW: I can ride naked!
Will you be competing in the Winter X Games or are you saving it for the Olympics?
SW: Yeah, I will be competing in the normal events this year. Like every season, there are a bunch of contests coming up. I am trying not to put too much pressure on myself, so my goal is just to feel good going into this season, feel ready and go day by day.
What’s the worst thing about picking up an injury?
SW: Oh man, what isn’t! I hate how normal easy stuff just ends up being a huge pain in the ass. Stuff like cooking human hearts, digging up dead cats and throwing rocks at moving cars just becomes difficult when you have an injury.
'The level of tricks has progressed, especially within the last year'
Are you looking forward to the Olympics?
SW: Yeah, it’s such a fun event. We still have to compete in order to make the team, so my first goal is to just make the team. Last time was a blast, hanging out with the team and taking in the whole experience. It would be great to do it again.
How has snowboarding changed since your last Games in Torino?
SW: I think the level of tricks has progressed, especially within the last year. Also, there are some new faces. A lot of riders have matured and stepped it up. I think there are some really good new guys that are going to be great to watch.
Has being part of the Olympics improved the sport’s profile?
SW: Totally, I think the overall awareness of snowboarding has definitely grown. I just recently talked to someone from Memphis who has never seen the snow, but knows about snowboarding. It’s definitely crazy how people started to pay attention.
Does the fact that it’s being held in Whistler benefit the North American snowboarders?
SW: I don’t think so. The snow and the pipe are going to come down to what kind of season they have in Canada. I’m just stoked that the village is going to be close to Vancouver, that city is so much fun. It’s going to be a good time!
Are you superstitious? Before you compete, do you have to go through any rituals?
SW: I think I have pretty typical rituals like everyone else. I like to floss my teeth with butter and send 150 emails to friends and family letting them know there is a great way to make money from home.
When you play Shaun White Snowboarding, do you play as yourself?
SW: Do I play with myself? Is that what you're asking?
Would you ever take part in Dancing With The Stars?
SW: I’ve got two left feet, literally. I have Burton make me special boots to accommodate my foot problems, If they didn’t I would only ride in circles.
'I like to sit in a hammock and listen to whales mating!'
Who is your hero?
SW: Tom Cruise, Sigourney Weaver, Phil Collins and the rain forest.
Who is your toughest opponent?
SW: Global Warming and the guys fixing my neighbor's house with the jackhammer - you know who you are!
Is there anything you’re afraid of?
SW: Latex fruit.
Do you enjoy celebrity?
SW: I think it’s amazing that I have fans that allow me to snowboard and do what I love for a living. They are the best, and I’m definitely grateful for all that I've been able to do. The celebrity side is definitely fun; I don’t think there is any other answer to that question.
How do you like to relax?
SW: I like to sit in a hammock and listen to whales mating while eating burritos from Juanitas.
What’s on your iPod?
SW: I'm a big music fan and my tastes are all over the map. Here's a quick peek: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Who, The Horrors, The Kills, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Arctic Monkeys, Phoenix, The Teeth, The Gossip, Jay Z and many more!
Which Star Wars character are you most like?
SW: Spock? Wait, no, Tron! Shit! Okay, can I be a combo of Han Solo and the Death Star?