Shaun White Joins Forces with Utah Distillery to Protect the American West ($1 Million Investment)

by Simon Naylor | Published: August 31st, 2023 |  Ski News

Three-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Shaun White has partnered with Utah-based High West Distillery on a new environmental campaign aimed at preserving the American West in the face of climate change.

The famed athlete and whiskey maker announced this week that they will collaborate on High West's "Protect the West" initiative, which includes a $1 million commitment over three years to organizations fighting wildfires, protecting winters, and conserving wildlands.

Shaun White

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Having grown up exploring the trails, mountains, and waves of the West Coast, White says he has witnessed firsthand the effects of rising temperatures and melting snowpack. By teaming up with High West, whose distillery is located in Park City, UT, White aims to raise awareness and urgently address threats to the region's natural beauty so future generations can enjoy it as he did.

"High West is all about seeking out adventure, and there’s no better place to do that than the West, It’s so important to me that people have the same opportunity I once had. It’s pretty cool to be able to team up with not just my favorite whiskey, but one that shares my same passion for preserving the West."

- Shaun White

High West Looks to Its Backyard

For the High West, the effort to protect the land is personal. The distillery, located just outside of Park City ( a famed ski and snowboard resort in Utah) sources water from the nearby High Uintas wilderness area and names its whiskeys after iconic Western landmarks. Threats like wildfires and drought pose a direct risk.

"You don't have to look too far outside the doors of our Saloon or Distillery to see the West is in danger. Like Shaun, High West is a team made up of adventurers who appreciate all the West has to offer, which is why the Protect the West initiative hits home for all of us. Our passion for this cause is only growing, and we're honored to have Shaun's support in driving more urgency and action,"

- Daniel Schear

Taking Risks and Pushing Boundaries

Both White and High West are known for taking an unconventional approach in their respective fields. White, 35, is a 5-time Olympian who pushed the boundaries of snowboarding. He was the first to land back-to-back double corks in competition and helped usher in a new era of technical tricks. Since retiring from the Olympic competition after Beijing 2022, he has focused on business ventures, philanthropy, and passion projects like Protect the West.

High West also aims to challenge norms within the whiskey world. It sources, blends, and barrels whiskeys using innovative techniques to create highly rated bottlings. The Distiller of the Year award winner was the first legal distillery in Utah since 1870 when it opened in 2007. Its unusual ski-in distillery and saloon in Old Town Park City have earned national accolades.

"A trailblazer in his own craft, Shaun is known for taking risks and facing challenges head-on. The High West team approaches whiskey with this same mentality,"

- Highwest

Funding Conservation and Firefighting Efforts

Park City Utah
Photo by ian licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Protect the West campaign's $1 million commitment will provide crucial funding for organizations working across three areas:

  • Wildfire fighting and prevention
  • Protecting winters and snowpack
  • Land conservation

Earlier this summer, High West donated $50,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation through sales of its seasonal Campfire whiskey release. It also supported the One Tree Planted reforestation program in 2021-2022.

Further Protect the West partners and projects will be announced in the coming months. White will lend his celebrity profile to raise awareness of key issues impacting the region he calls home. Both collaborators hope the campaign will inspire urgent climate action to preserve the American West's unique outdoor heritage.

Key Takeaways

  • Shaun White has partnered with High West Distillery on a campaign to protect the American West from threats like wildfires and melting snowpack.
  • The "Protect the West" initiative includes $1 million in funding over 3 years to conservation and firefighting groups.
  • Having grown up exploring the West, White aims to raise awareness so future generations can enjoy the region's beauty.
  • High West sources water from the High Uintas wilderness near their Utah distillery, giving them a personal connection.
  • White and High West are known as innovators in their fields who aim to push boundaries and take risks.
  • The campaign hopes to drive urgent climate action to preserve the West's natural areas and outdoor heritage.