It’s been ten days since we first wrote about dual Olympic medalist snowboarder Shaun White hiding a halfpipe in Australia and the news, which caused a slight within the Australian snowboarding community prior to Sochi 2014, has only now gone global.
Perisher continues to keep schtum on the project (apparently their silence is part of ‘the deal’ – another rumour) while Australia’s Sochi Olympic hopefuls are training in New Zealand at a Spring Camp at Cardrona heralded by the New York Times.
Why are they not training at home? Because a combination of both funding issues and national park politics has meant Australia has never been able to build a training pipe for our own athletes despite supposedly approved government funding. Another rumour?
Then, who has a spare ‘$2million’ to throw around? Private enterprise, that’s who.
This is the rumoured (get that, there’s another one) cost, originally thought to be $250 000, of the project seen in the gallery of images below from the Snow Flake Gallery Facebook page and Snow Action Facebook page a week ago. But word and conjecture (that’s another word for rumour) is that the Snow Park Technologies pipe was originally being devised in association with Red Bull who pulled out mid year and then GoPro stepped up to the dollar plate and brought Shaun along with it.
No Perisher staff were allowed on the pipe site, though we can’t confirm that either, and the rumour (there it is again) is that SPT paid per hour to use Perisher equipment to complement the 22 foot pipe cutter flown in for the project which we now believe will be returned to North America or will it?
Australia’s snowboarding community took to their facebook pages to voice their disappointment that Australians are forced to train in New Zealand while an American trains on Australian soil. That we can confirm.
We can also confirm Shaun has been spotted in Perisher and Jindabyne on both Facebook and instagram in what is clearly the worst kept secret project in Australian snowsports history. Rumours started mid season with Perisher neither confirming nor denying enquiries at the time.
We do suspect all the negative snowboarder chit chat will now go underground until post Sochi, unless White wins gold then in true Australian style we will no doubt be claiming it by association.