Shaun White is enjoying his downtime as he continues his quest for a third Olympic gold medal.
But don’t worry, even though he may be enjoying his time off, White’s still focused on his quest to make it back onto the podium, after his fourth place finish in Sochi four years ago.
“Excited for halfpipe Semi Finals tomorrow,” he added. (The event takes place live Monday evening into Tuesday early morning stateside.)
White sat down with PEOPLE ahead of the competition and opened up about his relationship with rocker Sarah Barthel, 34, who is one half of the electro-rock band Phantogram.
“It’s funny: We actually met backstage at SNL,” said White. He was in New York City several years ago apartment-hunting, and Barthel, a native of upstate New York, was living in Brooklyn.
White explained that the two had mutual friends on the sketch series, and “and we just bumped backstage and became friends, and then over time it kind of turned into something.”
Later, as White was training before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, their relationship deepened thanks to a “really terrible” home Barthel and her bandmate, Josh Carter, had rented “way out in East L.A.” while they were recording.
The house was listed as having a dog, and Barthel “loves dogs” — but this one turned out to be “like that old angry dog, the don’t-touch-me dog,” White said.
“They didn’t really know the landscape and I was like, ‘I got a house, there’s a house, you got a car, just take it, I’m training for the Olympics, I won’t be home,’ ” White added. “So her and her bandmate and some others came and stayed at my place and that’s kind of how things got going.”
Barthel, who lives in the L.A. area with White, will join him in Korea before he competes on the halfpipe. Should he advance to the finals in that event, he’ll be snowboarding for gold on Valentine’s Day.
Asked about a possible wedding in the future, White told PEOPLE they “haven’t gotten that far.”
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s like you put your life on hold for the Olympics. … This is the goal at hand and we’re here, finally, it’s all happening.”
Still, White is “very excited to actually get back to living that aspect” — the domestic side — “of my life.”
“I’m the guy that will like, I’ll just be stoked to help you trim the bushes,” he continued. “I’ll do yard work, I like to paint the houses, any sort of physical work, I’m down, I’m your guy. It’s ridiculous.”
And he means it. He told this story with a laugh:
“I was at [Barthel’s] mom’s house, I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, what do you need?’ And then the neighbors — it was a beautiful East Coast day in the summertime — and you saw all the other neighbors kind of like eyeballing. They came out, they started doing their yards like, ‘You’re not going to have the nicest yard on the block.’ And then I’m out there all — it got very competitive.”
“I find competition in life when it’s not there,” White added. “I just look for it.”
The 2018 Winter Olympics are airing live on NBC. To learn more, visit teamusa.org.