Shaun White buys majority share in Air & Style, looks to bring a stop to the US

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

Shaun White now owns a majority share in the Air & Style contest series, an event he used to compete in, and is now investing in. The series currently holds events in Innsbruck, Munich & Bejing, and White is hoping to bring a stop to the US. Find out more on the deal, and what it could mean for the contest, in the press release below:

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – For years, Shaun White has owned events through his snowboarding dominance. Now he owns one — literally.

White recently purchased a majority share in Air & Style, a series of events in Europe and Asia that combines a big air snowboarding competition with live music in major stadiums.

“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,” he said this week in the U.S. Grand Prix. “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.”

White has a history with the event, winning it in 2003 and 2004 and hosting it along with sponsor Oakley in Beijing from 2010 to 2012.

Andrew Hourmont created Air & Style in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1993 and it’s been held in Innsbruck, Munich and Beijing. White plans to expand it to the USA. Hourmont will remain a minority shareholder as well as a global strategic consultant and CEO in Europe.

Hourmont said White first approached him two years ago about licensing an event in the USA, but the time wasn’t right to relinquish control. He had been approached with several offers to buy the event through the years but called the deal with White a no-brainer.

With White’s burgeoning music career — his band, Bad Things, releases its self-titled debut album Jan. 21 — it made more sense when he returned in the spring.

“I just felt it’s time for change, for someone younger, fresher to take over my position,” said Hourmont, 47. “You’ve got someone like Shaun White interested, and it’s like who better can there be in the world to take over and bring it to the next level and add his vision, his fresh energy to Air & Style?”

Hourmont said he and White shared the same vision for Air & Style — rock and roll with more bands and bigger bands as well as a bigger platform for snowboarding. It has included among its past champions Kevin Pearce, Mark McMorris, Sebastien Toutant and Peetu Piiroinen.

Although White was closely involved with securing the deal, his focus for now is on the Olympics. The two-time defending gold medalist in the halfpipe is trying to qualify for the U.S. team in two events — halfpipe and slopestyle, which makes its debut in Sochi.

White has already reached the objective criteria needed to make the teams and is in good position to do so in both events. Once he returns from Sochi, besides touring with his band, he’ll be involved in the Air & Style expansion.

“I’m sure right after this is when we’ll dig in and make it all happen,” he said. “It’s just such an exciting thing and can carry on years after I retire.”