Shaun White Says Lifestyle Brand Whitespace Allows Him to 'Still Enjoy' Snowboarding 'In Another Capacity'

"I think it's just kind of ingrained in me just like when I was competing. It's just the endless pursuit of progression," White tells PEOPLE

Shaun White Whitespace launch
Photo: courtesy Shaun White Whitespace

Shaun White's competitive snowboarding career may be behind him, but he's still finding new ways to make an impact on the sport he loves.

These days, the 36-year-old retired athlete wants to "blend the function and fashion" of snowboarding culture through his lifestyle brand, Whitespace.

Along with his brother Jesse White, and exclusive retailer Backcountry, the Olympic gold medalist has designed a collection of apparel and accessories that address "all of the little details" snowboarders want in apparel — without sacrificing style.

White says, "Everything's been really looked into, all those fine details for performance, and then it's our own take on the fashion side of it."

Shaun White Whitespace launch
Matt Robertson / Whitespace

"What can I really wear around the city that's going to have the same quality to take and actually ride on the mountain? That I can kind of still represent my culture of the sport I love and still be looking good," White explains.

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The Olympic gold medalist calls working with his brother on the brand "exciting" because of their creative freedom.

"My brother and I are pretty much the driving force behind the line, and we worked together ages ago," White explains.

"Now we've kind of rejoined forces to do this and it's been so enjoyable on so many levels just to be working with family and having certain success together."

Shaun White Whitespace launch
Matt Robertson / Whitespace

White has been spending time in Switzerland as he works on a future release of Whitespace snowboards. "It's a trip because all of my competitors are here, my ex-competitors, everybody's here to train for the upcoming season and it's so fun that I'm actually still here...for another reason."

The Olympian says it allows him to "still enjoy the sport, just in another capacity."

Now, he gets to enjoy snowboarding with friends and more time with his girlfriend Nina Dobrev.

"I've got Nina coming out and normally I would just kind of go, 'Hey, I need to focus," but I can actually just enjoy being here."

Shaun White Whitespace launch
Matt Robertson / Whitespace

"Not that I didn't enjoy it before, but I was on a mission, I had a timeline," White explains of his competitive edge pre-retirement.

"I had things I had to accomplish, but now it's a little more lighthearted."

White appreciates that his new project continues to challenge him in new ways.

"I think it's just kind of ingrained in me just like when I was competing. It's just the endless pursuit of progression. What's next and new? How can we deliver something better than the year before?"

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