Fantasy camp: Shaun White to work with kids at coach’s camps
Maybe the best way to ride like Shaun White is to learn from Shaun White.
The world’s most famous snowboarder agreed to a deal with his coach, Bud Keene, to work with young riders at his Keene’s BK Progression Camps around the United States and the world.
Keene and White have teamed for two Olympic gold medals and 13 Winter X Games titles over the past 12 years. Keene has been running his snowboarding and freeskiing camps for the last three years, and starting in 2015, White has agreed to join him for a handful of camps.
”We’ve had so much success working together,” Keene said. ”We’ve learned so much about each other and the process and we want to bring that to more boys and girls. It’s not just about winning the X Games and Olympic gold medals. It’s the process of self-discovery, the effort, the reward, the accomplishment and the challenge. We’ve both learned a ton together.”
Though White is nowhere near retiring, he has long been cultivating his out-of-competition career – with sponsorship deals, his band, Bad Things, and, most recently, the majority stake he took in the Air and Style snowboard and freeskiing event that he once competed in.
Working in Keene’s camps is another part of that – and something White is doing to help give back to an industry that has made him a multimillionaire and a household name. He’s doing it at a time when some figures show snowboarding’s once-exponential growth to be slowing, and with industry leaders trying to make it more kid-friendly.
”I definitely want to do what I can to grow winter sport participation,” White said. ”When people are introduced to snowboarding or skiing in the right way and have good experiences, it’s more likely that they’ll love it and stick with it.”
In addition to elite camps, Keene also runs camps for beginners and intermediates.
”There’s a thrill you get when you help that 14-year-old girl or boy unlock things within them that they didn’t necessarily know they had in them,” Keene said. ”I get that 100 percent as much from working with a 6- or 12-year-old as much as I do with Shaun.”
White finished fourth on the halfpipe at the Olympics last year – a result that came after a tumultuous winter filled with injuries and schedule changes. The setback, Keene said, hasn’t diminished his competitive spirit.
”He’s still, hands down, the best halfpipe rider in the world, and not by a small increment,” Keene said.
White’s 2015 contest debut could come later this month at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
Meanwhile, he’s in training and could show up, at any time, at one of Keene’s camps.
”For a long time, Shaun and I realized we have something special and it really has nothing to do with the X Games, the Olympics or the gold medals,” Keene said. ”There’s an energy and synergy involved in bringing out the best in him. That’s something of value to any of these kids.”
On the Web: http://www.budkeene.com/bk-progression-camps