Parents and high school guidance counselors reading this might want to go stick their heads in the snow for a minute: Recent Cherry Creek High School graduate Bobby Brown is making good on his promise to keep Professional Freeskier at the top of his resumé.
Brown's post-graduation plans last year included moving up to Breckenridge to ski full time, and making it to every slopestyle contest he could get to. He's sponsored by Breckenridge, and he left his mark on his home mountain early last season with a big win in the Men's Freeski Slopestyle Finals at the inaugural stop of the Winter Dew Tour, ultimately finishing third overall on the three-stop tour and picking up an extra $5,000 for the tour's Toyota Go Big Award.
This year, the 18 year-old is planning to go even bigger: We caught up with him after his first week back on the slopes at Breck to check in and help corrupt the impressionable young minds of the next generation of ski bum dreamers who'd like to follow his tracks.
Fill us in: What's the off-season look like for you guys these days?
Off-season? Forget it. This summer I was in Oregon skiing at Mt. Hood, then I went to New Zealand for a few contests, and then I was in Europe doing some film work. Even when I've been home, I've been training every day, one way or another. It's been going ever since the winter.
What's the early word up at Breck this season?
The weather's been a little too good and we're ready for some more snow, but other than that we're banging. There's a nice triple line up, a few rails. It's early, but it's on. I'm just trying to get some consistency, doing tricks over and over again, putting some lines together, waiting for them to build some big ones. The early season jumps at Breck and Keystone are big enough to do 9s and 7s on, and I've been going to Woodward at Copper like three times a week, working to have some big new tricks ready by the time the bigger jumps are open.
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I've skated at the Camp Woodward facility in Pennsylvania, and they get a lot of credit for the level of progression in skateboarding and BMX over the last decade. What do think is going to be the impact of the Woodward at Copper facility on freeskiing?
It's going to be so sick. Just wait. It's crazy in there. They have the optimal conditions to learn new stuff: The nicest tramp I've ever jumped on, the foam pits... There's no consequences to trying something new in there, so all of a sudden it's like, "Anything is possible." I can't even predict what you're going to be seeing now that we have that place. I've been working a bunch of new double flips on the tramp, building up confidence to go for it on snow first chance I get.
You came out big on the Winter Dew Tour last year. What are you looking forward to this season?
The Dew Tour's my favorite event now. They came in so strong for their first year, just treating the athletes so well, building the sickest slopestyle courses. They pay out from 1st place to last place, so everyone who makes it in gets paid, and there's so much publicity and exposure it's great for the riders and great for the sponsors. My roommates Gus Kenworthy and Colby Ward are going in through open qualifiers trying to get on to the Dew Tour this year, and we've all been training hard together. This year it's going to be a whole 'nother level. It should be interesting.
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Talk to me about the level of progression in freeskiing. How do you wrap your brain around it or even try to keep up with it?
It's unreal. One year people are winning the big air events with switch 9s, and then a year later you can't even got on a podium without double corks, double flip variations, switch 10s, 1260s. I can't think of any sport that's come so far, so fast. But I don't get too tripped out on what other people are doing. I'm just stoked to go out and learn some new stuff. I'm also looking forward to filming, getting into the backcountry, and filming with Matchstick Productions this season. i think that's going to be the key to keeping the progression going: Trying to be an all-around skier and not just a park skier. It's just so much fuel for the fire, you know?
Sounds good to me! What do you get out of your sponsorship deal with Breck?
I'm living the dream, for sure. The team manager's the nicest lady I've ever met in my life, I get a free pass, free parking, access to all the jumps, and I'll have the home mountain advantage again when the Dew Tour comes back to Breck next month. Living here in Breckenridge I'm right next to one of the best parks in the world, the best halfpipes, the best slopes. It doesn't get any better.