Jul 12, 2013, 7:25 AM EDT
Shaun White continued his Big Apple tour Thursday with an appearance on David Letterman and a gig with his new band.
On the “Late Show,” White talked more about the new Olympic event of slopestyle, discussed a 14-year-old prodigy from Japan and poked fun at his crash at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City, Utah, earlier this year.
The two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion conceded he’s got “a little catching up to do” in slopestyle before the Sochi Games.
He finished fifth in the event at the Winter X Games in January, failing to land a clean triple cork. It marked his first appearance in the slopestyle finals since he won the event in 2009.
“I tend to take the time off to compete in the halfpipe in the Olympics because slopestyle wasn’t in there,” White said. “Now, I’m playing catch-up from the last Olympics, where I haven’t been riding the slopestyle, and I’m catching up to these riders and hopefully learning tricks to surpass them.”
Letterman also asked White, 26, about the silver medalist in the superpipe from the Winter X Games — 14-year-old Japanese Ayumu Hirano.
“He’s tiny, so I think he can flip faster than me,” White said of Hirano, listed at 4 feet, 9 inches, by worldsnowboardtour.com. “I see a lot of what I was doing (at that age) in his riding.”
Letterman had an idea to hold off the teen phenom.
“You should take him out,” the host said.
“Naturally, yes,” White joked. “He’s cute, but … “
Finally, White was shown video of his first run at the U.S. Grand Prix in Park City in February.
“Yeah, that’s not going well,” he said upon realizing which run it was. “See that wasn’t really a mistake. I was just really hungry … for snow. There’s no food at the top. Famished. … Mouth full, satisfied. There’s a smile under the mask.”
Oh, and in case you’re ever looking for Wi-Fi in the Letterman studio …
Before the “Late Show” aired, White was on stage at Santos Party House in lower Manhattan for a $15 show with his band, Bad Things, opening a 12-city tour.
NBC Olympic researcher Alex Goldberger checked it out and shared this photo of White performing on Instagram.
Wearing his Les Paul Studio guitar with a sunburst, White was just another guy in a band he formed with three childhood friends. He stood to the side of the stage, looking coolly coiffed wearing dark pants, a breezy button-down short-sleeved shirt and black dress shoes.
For once in his life, White wasn’t the center of attention, which is exactly the way he wants it. The Los Angeles-based band recently signed with Warner Bros. Records and will release an album later this year, but White wants to keep his two pursuits separate. A representative from Warner Bros. said White doesn’t want stories about the band intertwined with his snowboarding.
Bad Things plays Brooklyn Bowl on Saturday then hits other Northeast cities, Canada and the Midwest, wrapping up Aug. 9 in Minneapolis.
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