Shaun White’s event brings music, action and snow to the Rose Bowl
AP National Writer
If there’s one man who can make it snow at the Rose Bowl, it would be Shaun White.
The world’s most famous snowboarder is bringing his newest enterprise, the Air and Style music and action sports festival, to the grounds outside the stadium in Pasadena, California, on Feb. 21 and 22. Earlier this week, construction began on a 16-story snow jump for 32 snowboarders and freeskiers.
Those athletes will share center stage with 18 bands for a weekend of sports and entertainment.
White calls it a “sports, music, Coachella thing” that he’s hoping will take the so-called lifestyle sports of snowboarding and freeskiing to a new level.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve thought about it, but I’ve never really had the time,” White said.
Air and Style began 21 years ago in Innsbruck, Austria. A second event was added to the Bird’s Nest in Beijing five years ago.
White, born and raised near San Diego, bought the event last year and decided to bring a third leg to his home state.
He’s been so busy getting the Los Angeles event off the ground that his snowboarding has taken a back seat.
At the Winter X Games last month, he competed for the first time since last year’s Olympics. His finish both times: fourth place, hardly what fans expect from the 28-year-old, who has two Olympic gold medals and 13 Winter X titles.
“I was there to say ‘hi’ to fans, promote my events, be a good partner with the X Games and ESPN,” White said. “They’ve supported me over the years. But I wasn’t throwing my hardest tricks, or doing the things I could’ve done. I wanted to show face and be part of it all.”
White said he’ll focus more heavily on competition in 2016 — with the goal of being on the halfpipe for the next Winter Olympics, in 2018.
For now, though, he’s finding different ways to entertain.
His band, Bad Things, will appear at Air and Style, though not as a headliner.
“We’ll be in the appropriate time slot. I didn’t want to be vain, or anything,” said White, who believes his guitar skills are steadily improving.
Kendrick Lamar, Steve Aoki and The Flaming Lips are among the bands getting top billing.
And the list of athletes is impressive, too. Olympic medalists Sage Kotsenburg, Joss Christensen and Mark McMorris are among those competing for a $100,000 prize purse.
While, yes, there is some money to be made by staging an event like this, White also views it as a way to draw more young kids into his sport.
“I got introduced to snowboarding on a whim,” said White, who got interested when he saw his older brother riding. “That’s what I’m hoping this event might do for some other kids. You attend my event, see what’s possible, what’s incredible. Maybe it inspires the next generation.”
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