Oakley and Shaun White Celebrate Snowboarding in the Most Unlikely of Places

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From the hustle and bustle of Beijing the Chinese countryside offers a stark contrast with fields that extend uninterrupted out to the horizon.

It’s an hour-long bus ride from the city out to Huai Bei when suddenly, hidden in the otherwise brown hillside, appears the Haui Bei International Ski Resort. Complete with three chair lifts and a custom Oakley Snow Park, the resort is one of the oldest ski resorts in Beijing and host of the 2012 Oakley Rookie Challenge.

Now in it’s third year, the Oakley Rookie Challenge is a park event for local snowboarders in China and this year the field came out on fire, dropping heavier tricks and getting bigger airs than this contest has ever seen before.

The field of 15 riders was quickly narrowed to a final eight from which the winner, Ke Zhang, was crowned. All of the final eight competitors won tickets to the Oakley and Shaun White present Air + Style event, which takes place in Beijing’s Olympic Stadium later this week.

Before the contest officially got under way however, Oakley hosted a BBQ luncheon for Shaun White, who was on site to do an exhibition for the Rookies, and a few lucky guests in the most unlikely of places: a turret on The Great Wall of China.

Towering over the ski resort is a private section of The Great Wall at Huai Bei. This portion of the wall is not open to the public and features the one and only rectangle turret of the entire Wall. While hiking up the rugged hillside, the owner of the resort, Mr. Wang, explained the history of this engineering anomaly. Three builders attempted to construct a square turret on jagged cliff face and failed; a mistake that inevitably cost them their lives. Finally, a fourth builder was tasked to complete the turret. Rather than follow in the footsteps of his predecessors he approached the problem from another angle and successfully completed the Great Wall’s first and only rectangle turret. Listening to the history of the landmark, it quickly became apparent that this was indeed a fitting place to celebrate one of the world’s most innovative snowboarders alongside a brand that pride’s itself on solving problems athletes didn’t know they had.

“It’s a surreal experience to be standing on the Great Wall of China,” said Shaun White. “I’m hoping the rest of the week will be unreal just like this!”