Shaun White still loves to shred the slopes on his snowboard and hit the pavement with his skateboard — it’s just a bit different these days since he’s retired. The 28-year-old duel extreme sports superstar already has accomplished more than many of his peers ever will: The two-time Olympic gold medalist holds more X-Games gold medals, as well as overall medal count, than anyone else. And while he first started skating with Tony Hawk at age nine, his prowess in both skate parks and on mountain slopes allowed him to connect with two vocal fan bases before riding snowboarding’s mainstream wave of popularity into the Winter Olympics.
He’s still touring the world with his Air + Style snowboarding and music festival, which has stops in Beijing on Dec. 4-5; Innsbruck, Austria on Feb. 5-6 2016, and Los Angeles on Feb. 20-21. And he finds time for charity, even if it’s playing video games. The former Ubisoft video game designer recently teamed up with Sony to play Activision’s Destiny online in March with fans and raise money for the Make-A-Wish foundation in conjunction with PlayStation Heroes.
White also has his own synthrock band, Bad Things, which which opened for Jared Leto’s Thirty Seconds to Mars last year, and he designs everything from clothes to sunglasses. In other words, White is as busy in “retirement” as most people are with day jobs. And he took time away from steering his burgeoning empire to field our Lucky 7 questions.
How has technology impacted snowboarding and skateboarding — things like GoPro cameras and snowboard bindings that offer real-time data — from an athlete’s perspective?
With GoPro footage I’ve been able to see the sport that I’ve been doing for my entire life in a whole new way. It’s inspired many people to go out and do something new and exciting that can be shared over the Internet. I’m not that familiar with the bindings so I couldn’t really comment, but I love that technology is been integrated into the sport I think it’s a step in the right direction. But tech just to have tech doesn’t really change things either. Sure, it’s fun to have something that logs the amount of runs on the mountain or distance traveled, but that doesn’t really change how someone like myself would approach the sport differently. I have an idea that I’m actually personally working on something that I think would make a big difference in the sport for the future, but it’s definitely not ready to be applied just yet. So you’ll just have to wait.
What was your first exposure to Playboy Magazine?
My parents rented a cabin up in Big Bear Mountain and we had a roommate staying with us that used to hide the magazines in the couch cushions. I discovered them one day watching TV and I’ve never looked at couches the same.
What movie scared you the most as a kid?
The movie that comes to mind is, Child’s Play because my grandmother used to bring me these collectible dolls and action figures as gifts. It was really thoughtful of her, so I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was terrified they were going to come alive and try to murder me in my sleep.
What was your first car?
It was a Lexus LS 300. And I remember using it to hook up with my first girlfriend. We would tell the parents we needed ice cream, and be gone for like four hours.
What was your favorite mistake in life?
I don’t really have a favorite…I’m pretty thankful for all the mistakes I’ve made in life because I’ve learned so much from them. But then again there definitely were some moments that I didn’t learn much from that I would’ve loved to pass on.
What’s the first song you knew the words to?
Inside the family camper we used when I was younger, we had a little TV with a built-in VHS player. But for some reason we only seemed to have two movies: Grease and The Blues Brothers. I quickly memorized every song in those movies, but the movie intro song “Grease” by Frankie Valli is probably the one I liked the most.
What’s your pop culture blind spot?
Traditional sports — like football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. I appreciate them, but I don’t follow what’s happening. The only person I can name that played at the last Super Bowl was Katy Perry.