By Julia Lull
November 3, 2015

Shaun White’s love for danger and adventure began at a young age. He went pro as a snowboarder at 13, and at 17 added the title of professional skateboarder to his résumé as well.

Now, as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, White holds the record for X Games gold medals. But it is his constant innovation and willingness to try almost anything that has set him apart from his competitors.

In the winter of 2009, he holed himself up in southwestern Colorado for an endeavor he called Project X, where he spent months honing his skills working on new tricks. After months of training, he emerged and took the 2010 Vancouver Olympics by storm, winning the gold with his first run and then topping his own score the second time down by debuting a new trick, the double McTwist 1260.

Watch the video above for White’s account of what it’s like to slice through the air on the half-pipe.

Write to Julia Lull at julia.lull@time.com.

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