Shaun White picked up his Epic Pass yesterday after signing on to make Northstar-at-Tahoe his home resort and agreeing to represent all six of the Vail Resorts properties (including Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge here in Colorado) in what Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz says is a multi-year partnership agreement.
"This feels like a homecoming, because I have spent so much time riding at most of Vail Resorts' mountains," said White in a statement released yesterday. "With Northstar as my home mountain, I now have the ideal place to train and continue to grow as an athlete, and I am looking forward to all the possibilities this partnership brings."
White, who previously called Park City, Utah, his home mountain, appears to be in a wheelin' and dealin' mode recently: At the summer X Games last month in Los Angeles, he announced he was leaving Red Bull, a longtime sponsor, and shopping for more lucrative deals. Details of yesterday's deal have not been disclosed, but it seems fair to guess that the the resort partners at Vail were the only ones who could afford to have him.
Home is where you hang your halfpipe, it turns out: Under the new agreement, White will help design the 22-foot superpipe at Northstar to his personal specs. The last time he had that kind of input was at Silverton Mountain in Colorado, where a private halfpipe was erected to help him train and learn new tricks in secret on his way to claiming Olympic gold. Colorado locals can look forward to seeing him in action here in December, if not sooner: Breckenridge will have one of the first 22-foot pipes in North America this season as it gears up to host the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour, December 15-18.
"Shaun White is the ultimate personification of the new energy and vibrancy we see across the mountain resort industry," Katz said in a statement released yesterday, noting that for each Epic Pass sold this season, Vail Resorts will donate $5 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, White's charity of choice. Vail Resorts will also be selling a limited-edition Shaun White Epic Pass to mark the occasion (the Epic Pass, $649/adults, $329/kids, includes unlimited snowboarding or skiing at all six Vail Resorts mountains).
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"We are excited to partner with Shaun and are thrilled to start our collaboration with a promotion that allows us to celebrate his creativity and commitment to give back to those in need," Katz said.