Velocity Basin, a 12,300-foot bowl close to Silverton, Colo., at the foot of Storm Peak, has become the top-secret training ground for snowboarding’s reigning U.S. king, Shaun White. The high-altitude half pipe is close to Silverton Mountain. This was a rumor in Durango’s trusty weekly, The Telegraph, but was confirmed in late Feb., by Silverton Basecamp blogger Matt Lanning via the Denver Post.
I took my six-year-old to Durango’s Jet Center, adjacent to Durango’s Regional Airport, on Feb. 27. We usually time our weekend Jet Center visit for 4-o’clock sharp, when both the United and Frontier planes come in. We got there late. … The guy manning the desk at the Jet Center was more than cordial. “What time is the next one coming in?” I asked. He looked at my son, and back at me. “Shaun White’s Red Bull/Oakley film team helicopter is parked in our hanger right now, do you want to see it?”
My son and I looked at each other, and began to resemble a Road Runner cartoon as our eyes rolled back and forth to match the timing of our shaking heads. “Um… yes. please.” my son stammered. I felt good that he used his manners.
One of the beautiful things about living in a rural area is our small airport. We can literally walk around the tarmac and check out Piper Tomahawks, Beechcrafts and Cessnas. Local pilots love to educate my son on how to decipher what type of plane a is by its wing configurations. We know the planes in the hanger. But a helicopter? Affixed with a video set up? For Shaun White? We’re used to P3’s during fire season, but this? I was just as awe-struck as my son!
Shaun White. We’re fans. Red Bull and Oakley love him because he goes so continually huge. YouTube Red Bull Snowscrapers is what the Ice Capades were for my early 80’s youth. But doing the highest-altitude pipe on record in Osprey’s backyard? It’s done. The beautiful thing is that we don’t see Shaun White around Durango or Silverton, there are no blog posts citing his whereabouts. He’s completely incognito — a tough proposition for White, we’re sure. Just one more thing to make us proud to be Four Corners’ locals.