Shaun White announced today that he is now the major stakeholder of the Air & Style.
The Air & Style events are legendary as far as snowboard contests go. The stadium big air events, held under floodlights with explosive riding and a seriously sick atmosphere, have been going for the past 20 years and have paved the way for many of the big air tricks we see today - Rippey Flips and the first ever competition double corks being just a couple of many, many memorable moments.
With the event cancelled this year, many questioned whether it would be the end of the event as we know it. Enter Shaun White.
Shaun won the Air & Style in 2003 and 2004 and went on to host the expanded event in Beijing alongside his sponsor Oakley and supposedly has been excited by the thought of bringing it to the Americas. After talks with Air & Stye founder Andrew Hourmont, Shaun figured that the only real way to make it happen was to go ahead and buy it:
I've always loved the event. I competed in it when I was younger. It was one of my major wins when I was first coming up. So I went from a competitor to hosting it out in Beijing and then we were just thinking, why isn't there one in the U.S.? And we got into talking about trying to get ownership for the event in the U.S. Once that door was open it was like, why not buy this thing? Let's do it. Let's really commit and make it into something special, not that it isn't already. It's a great event. But I feel like there's such a potential to combine music and other things to make it an even more attractive event.
With Shaun's new involvement, the Air & Style will be rolled out in the United States with plans to add more of a musical element to the whole shebang. We'd hazard a guess that White's band 'Bad Things' will be getting involved at some stage or another...
Here in Europe, original founder Hourmont remains CEO and we're optimistic that we'll be seeing the return of the event in some shape or form next winter.
What are your thoughts on Shaun White literally buying a piece of the snowboard competition circuit? Will the credibility and atmosphere of the whole event series be affected by its new owner or will the deal inject a much needed new lease of life into a classic but fading snowboard event? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Here's the full press release from Air & Style:
Los Angeles/CA, Innsbruck/Austria (January, 13 2014): Shaun White announced today that he has acquired the majority share of Austrian Air & Style Company GmbH. With this move White has laid the foundation in a planned expansion of the Air & Style event series to the Americas. Shaun’s passion for music will play a major role in the new concept with plans to add a musical lineup to the events. The current 2014/15 season of Air & Style has planned stops in Europe, China and the U.S.
"Andrew & his team have always done a great job with Air & Style, it's always been one of my favorite competitions." says White. “I'm excited at the opportunity to shift from athlete to host and work on expanding the reach of the event while adding a little more flavor with some of my favorite bands and musicians."
Air & Style founder Andrew Hourmont will remain involved with the company as a shareholder, global strategic consultant and CEO based in Europe. The present Air & Style team, with its unique experience and knowledge in event production and marketing, will stay in place in the new company.
“After 20 years of Air & Style I am very happy to make the next big step together with my friend Shaun." says Hourmont “We share a common vision of bringing snowboarding, music and lifestyle to the world ́s youth. I could not imagine a better partner for growing Air & Style and the sport in total."