White creates private park and pipe in Australia
Two-time Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White has a new private training ground at Australia's Perisher Resort to help him prepare for his bid for gold in halfpipe and the newly-added Olympic slopestyle event in Sochi.
"GoPro worked with [park and pipe builders] Snow Park Technologies to build a custom halfpipe and slopestyle features for Shaun's Olympic training," GoPro spokeswoman Katie Kilbride confirmed, noting that video of the private training session will be online this week. "GoPro and SPT scouted many locations across the globe. The spot in Australia was chosen based upon conditions and timing."
Four years ago, the training time White logged in his private Red Bull Project X halfpipe and foam pit at Colorado's Silverton Mountain helped him master the double cork spins that secured his victory in the Vancouver Olympics, and set off a domination streak in the halfpipe that has yet to be broken. At Perisher, White will have exclusive use of a new halfpipe, airbag and slopestyle course.
Perisher is the home mountain of Torah Bright, also a 2010 Winter Olympic halfpipe gold medalist, and top-ranked Australian rider Nate Johnstone. Neither are training at White's private setup, according to a local report from News.com.AU.
Perisher Resort has not publicly commented on White's private compound on the mountain, but on Wednesday sent out a press release announcing that it had acquired a ZAUGG 22-foot superpipe cutter. This is the same brand of cutter that will be used to shape the Olympic pipe. The resort also plans to file a development application with the New South Wales Department of Planning and Infrastructure to construct a pipe built to international specifications for next season.
"It's a fantastic project for Perisher and one that will offer a truly world class facility for our athletes to train and develop their skills to showcase on the international stage," said Perisher CEO Peter Brulisauer in the release. "It's been a long time in the planning and is nice to see this dream start to become a reality."
Perisher became a popular training ground for snowboarding and freeskiing athletes during the past few months of Australia's winter. Snowboarders Mark McMorris, Torstein Horgmo, Chas Guldemond and Sebastien Toutant, and skiers PK Hunder, Tom Wallisch and Keri Herman were among those spotted training in the resort's park.
White is a favorite to make Team USA's halfpipe team but has not yet earned the FIS qualification points to qualify for the slopestyle team. He'll need a top-20 finish at one of the upcoming FIS World Cup events to be considered.