I'll admit it, I thought Shaun White's time had passed. The kid was far and away the best competition snowboarder on the planet for a time, but I thought he was beginning to be surpassed by up and coming riders like Louie Vito and some of the Europeans on tour. I was wrong. Really wrong.
Enter the geniuses at Redbull. This is how I envision things went down in the corporate conference room:
Rad Guy 1: "Should we build a superpipe in the Colorado backcountry for Shaun White, complete with foam-pit?"
Rad Guy 2: "It's never been done before, and I'd imagine it would be fantastically expensive."
Accounting Geek: "Fantastically expensive doesn't begin to describe how much this could cost! Given the current state of the U.S. economy, I have to recommend against this idea."
Rad Guy 1: "Dude, let's do it. We can apply for bail-out money later on if necessary."
Rad Guy 2: "Good call. I'll get Shaun. See you there?"
Rad Guy 1: "Word. We should probably keep this a secret. Let's call it Project X."
Rad Guy 2: "I like it. Let's go reinvent snowboarding."
Accounting Geek: "Can I come?"
Rad Guys: "No."
Still with me here? Good. So Red Bull goes out into the backcountry and, with the assistance of explosives, builds a perfect superpipe complete with foam-pit for learning new and ever more difficult tricks. The footage that came out of those sessions is, to put it lightly, mind-blowing. Front Double Cork 10. Switch Back 900. Rodeo Double Back. Cab Double Cork 10. I could burn an entire page just trying to explain those tricks, but you'll be better off watching for yourselves. While you're at it (it's Friday, people - you and I both know you're not working), watch the videos of the halfpipe and foam pit being constructed. It's wild stuff!
So what does this mean for the upcoming season? One thing - Shaun White is going to be a force that I'm not sure the rest of the riders on tour will be able to deal with. If he's able to put the tricks he recently learned down on snow, he may be unstoppable this season. Olympic gold, X-Games gold, Grand Prix titles...you name it, he'll be laying claim to them. Just remember, you heard it here first!