If you were to meet Bobby Brown on the street, outside of his ski-hill habitat, he wouldn’t strike you as a professional skier, much less the fated golden boy of freeskiing. The lean, six-foot-one Brown would come across as an athlete, yes, but his slacks, Under Armour tee and All-American smile give o more of a high school QB vibe than that of a stereotypical park rat. He’s a courteous, goofy, eager, humble, hard-working and slightly naēve teenager. And he’s quickly becoming the future face of freeskiing.
Bobby Brown en route to gold at Winter X Games 14. P: Nate Abbott
Bobby’s career trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric. In 2008, he podiumed at the North American Open. In 2009, he won the inaugural Winter Dew Tour. Last season, double X Games gold medals. The 16-year-old Denver kid who could do Kangaroo flips quickly transformed into the 19-year-old on top of the X Games podium, using the double ips he invented to get there. He’s the only skier in X Games history to grab double-gold in a single year.
On paper, it’s all there: three X Games medals, three Winter Dew Tour trophies, MSP film segments, high-caliber sponsors and the physical requirements to take the punishment that this sport regularly doles out. But where so many careers have hit the proverbial ceiling, Bobby is destined to rocket to the upper echelon, reaching and most likely surpassing the Dumonts, Halls and Olssons of our sport. Why? Because more than his talent, you can feel the energy radiate from him when skiing is brought up. His voice quivers. You can sense his mind racing with possibility, feel his body tense with anticipation towards the future. He believes that there are no ceilings, and because of that, he’ll never reach one. Bobby is building on what the pioneers have accomplished, and aims to take skiing into the bigger picture of action sports. And he’ll do it.
Every year, companies put more of their marketing eggs into the Bobby Brown basket. Originally there was Salomon and Smith. Then Under Armour followed. Put Red Bull and ESPN on the list. Kids, parents, peers and marketers are able to connect with him because he’s genuine. Genuinely happy to meet the press. Genuinely happy to take second place. Genuinely working hard to progress his abilities. Most importantly, genuinely excited to get out and ski.
And because there’s nothing spectacular in his upbringing that suggests super-stardom, Bobby hasn’t been restricted by the normal pro skier arc. He wasn’t an aerials whiz kid. He wasn’t a gymnast. He only did a year and a half of moguls training. It isn’t what was in his past, it’s who he is that has allowed Bobby to become the future of park skiing. Clichéd though it is, Bobby’s drive to ski every day gave him the con dence and skills needed to compete and win. His wellspring of raw talent, exceptional consistency and dedication to improving himself are his greatest assets. Package all of those traits into a mildmannered, attractive youth, and the next big star is born. —Shay Williams