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Legendary snowboarder Shaun White officially stepped away from competitive snowboarding earlier this year. While saying goodbye to such an important chapter could feel bittersweet, White says he's basking in his post-retirement life.
"I've had an amazing run, and I think being able to choose when to retire really set me up to have other things going in my life that I wanted to," the 35-year-old tells PEOPLE.
White, who was just 19 years old when he competed in his first Winter Olympics, ended his competitive career in Beijing at the Winter Games in February.
"It's been great to have time to work on my company, Whitespace, and be traveling, and now, here working with Ralph Lauren," he says.
White recently hosted an event in honor of the company's new book, Ralph Lauren's Polo Shirt.
WESTON WELLS/Ralph Lauren Shaun White promotes Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Book
The hardcover book showcases images of the iconic Ralph Lauren shirt, including OIympic-worn styles.
"Obviously, [Ralph Lauren] is an amazing sponsor and supporter of the Olympics and athletes like myself," White tells PEOPLE.
Additionally, White launched Whitespace, an active lifestyle brand that he and Jesse White — his collaborator and brother — hope will "inspire the next generation of athletes."
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"It's kind of like, once you realize there is time to do the things that you didn't have time with before, that floodgate kind of opens, but it's been amazing," White says of what has been made possible to him in retirement.
But that doesn't mean life in retirement has precisely gone as he imagined.
"Oh my God, no," White says while laughing. "I've been so busy. I've been in Los Angeles, New York, Greece, France, Monaco, the Maldives, Dubai."
White's post-retirement endeavors have kept his schedule busy, but he still finds time to snowboard, the sport he calls "the love of his life."
Next on his schedule is a trip to Iceland. "I'm going heliboarding in Iceland, which will be amazing," he says. "So I'm still enjoying the sport even though I'm not competing in it."
Also, the luxury of retiring on his own terms has made the decision a little easier for White.
"It's not like I just all of a sudden was told I can't compete, and now I'm thinking, 'Well, wow, this really blindsided me What do I do now?'" he says.
"I wonder how many football games Tom Brady was hitting during his retirement," White adds of the NFL quarterback, who briefly retired earlier this year. "I don't really know if it's the same situation, but I'm happy with my decision, and I'm going to lean into it."