January 27, 2010
If you were wondering why human video game character Shaun White can perform snowboard tricks that no one else has even considered, maybe it's because he has his own one-of-a-kind private 550-foot superpipe carved into the side of a 12,000-foot high mountain in Colorado. Just a hunch.
Take that, Shaquille O'Neal and your boring in-house basketball court.
The private ramp is the first of its kind and was created in collaboration with one of White's principal sponsors, Red Bull. Located in secluded Silverton, Colo., White's half-pipe is tucked away where only a snowmobile or helicopter can reach. According to Red Bull, it's "the perfect spot to keep Shaun's work under wraps."
It took two months, 30 shipments of helicopter-delivered snow and 8,000 pounds of welded steel to build the world's first on-mountain snowboarding pit, which allows White to perfect his never-been-done-before tricks safely before trying them in competition.
Dubbed "Project X," the half-pipe was kept a secret until completion. Then, White spent two months reinventing snowboarding, culminating in his victory in this month's U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix.
Rumor has it that White will be debuting even more tricks at the Vancouver Olympics. He certainly will have had a chance to practice them before the games.