By Courtney Vermaas
For 19-year-old Bobby Brown, fame has become a prevalent factor in life; something he may not have anticipated when he first set his sights on becoming a pro skier. In the few years Brown has been skiing professionally, he's quickly made a name for himself among the celebrated athletes of generations past who have pushed the progression of the sport over the years.
Bobby competing at his home mountain in Breck
In 2010, Brown was the first skier to win two gold medals at the same Winter X Games. One of those was the result of throwing the first switch double misty 1440 in a competition, earning a perfect score. Because of accomplishments like these, among the many others we've seen including his recent win of the slopestyle Dew Cup, Brown has made a statement in the sport of skiing. He's here to stay, and the show is only going to get better.
Brown's reputation has not only been established in skiing, but it is quickly growing beyond the boundaries of the sport. Brown has jumped to a level of fame other skiers have only dreamed of. First there was his nomination for an ESPY. Then the MTV appearance. And then, oh yeah - a phone call from Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. Just to say hi.
Waiting for his scores in Breck, and the result was a win
Maybe this acquisition of celebratory status is due to the recent popularity spike of freeskiing in mainstream media, a sport that just a few short years ago was obscure to the general public, and Brown happened to burst onto the scene at the right time. Or maybe it simply comes down to Bobby's charmingly good looks and unassuming personality (cue "Teen Heartthrob" nickname).
This young, hardworking skier has only been on the pro scene since 2008 when he was first discovered by Salomon. What's even more surprising is that he didn't start skiing until the age of 11. A significant key to Brown's success is that he has taken full advantage of every opportunity to come his way. Between the commute from Denver, Colorado to the mountains every weekend before moving to Breckenridge, to now taking time out of his busy training and competition schedule for media tours, Brown isn't one to pass up opportunities.
Going for it on the massive jumps in Killington
This dedication has clearly paid off by looking at Brown's results the last few years, both on hill and within the eyes of the general public. But like anyone else, Brown can waver under pressure. The hype at this winter's X Games in remembrance of his double-gold performance from the year prior got to him. Brown admitted, "I couldn't handle it and I blew it. That's a great example of how I need to be mentally on point."
To shake off his performance at X and move forward, Brown headed into the third and final stop of the Dew Tour with a fresh outlook. With a win and a second-place-finish under his belt from the first two stops of the Tour, he simply focused on the day. "I came into Snowbasin with a smile on my face and genuinely enjoyed myself," said Brown. "It was the best I've skied in a while."
Killington was another podium performance, and he finished here in second-place
This Dew Cup was a long time coming. The past two years, he's placed 3rd and 2nd, respectively. This was his first year to walk away with the title, saying, "I'm stoked to finally put the consistency down in the Dew Tour and win the Cup. It's something I've wanted for a few years."
Consistency was key for Brown this year, focusing on each stop as if it were its own event. "I didn't think about the Tour from an overall aspect. My individual effort at each contest led up to the ultimate result of the Dew Cup." Another contributing factor to Bobby's success was the presence of his supportive family at all three stops. His Dad even made the long haul out to Vermont.
The jumps were smaller in Snowbasin, but Bobby still went big
The Dew Tour is an event Brown and the other skiers truly appreciate. The point system is a motivating factor that opens the doors for a big win at the end. In addition, it provides a lot of national exposure to the athletes and the sports they are trying to grow--a factor Brown is keen on. Salomon International Freeski Team Mananger Tyler Gigg said, "Bobby is an innovator and because of that the sport will grow around him and with him for many years to come."
Chilling in Snowbasin, where he won the Dew Cup
Looking forward, Bobby plans to keep skiing for as long as possible. By resisting the various pressures put on him and continually taking advantage of every opportunity, he plans to use his overwhelming rise to stardom for the greater good of the sport. "There are a lot of titles people put on me but I'm just going to keep doing what I normally do and try not to let it get to me. I'm ready to take this to the next level and use all the media outlets I'm getting to show skiing to a broader audience."
A key member of this particular audience may include the talented Taylor Swift. As Brown so eloquently put it, "I like Taylor Swift a little bit. Ok maybe more than a little bit." If this is a ploy into another opportunity to gain public exposure (for skiing, of course), Taylor's your girl. Despite the rumors, the two are not actually dating...yet.