Interview by Jeff Schmuck
So we’re sitting here at Jib Academy Finals in Mammoth, California. How’s it going so far Bobby?
It’s going really good. We’ve had two great days so far and one so-so day and everyone has been coming out swinging. All the Jib Academy kids have been throwing down. This is the most insane group of little kids I’ve ever seen in my life and I’m really stoked to be here.
photos: Jeff Schmuck
Over the course of the last two years your name has started to become fairly well known, and your performance at last year’s Jib Academy Finals was arguably one of your many breakthrough moments when the whole Salomon team got to see what you could do. So bearing that in mind, how special is it to be back here again?
It’s really cool. Just like you said, last year when I was here I got to make a lot of good connections with the whole Salomon team and get my name out there a little bit, so it’s been really great to be back here in a whole different spot in my life but still being able to do the same thing.
photo: Jeff Schmuck
Just how awesome was your season for you? I mean, you really did have a tremendous one, starting off with the big win at the first Dew Tour, then your first X Games, then getting to go to Europe for your first time for Euro Open and JOI. Describe your winter from start to finish and how it felt to be able to do all of that when the previous year barely anyone had heard of you.
It was amazing. It was so great to start things off with a bang at Dew Tour, and because it was so early I sort of feel like it set the tone for me for the rest of the season and put me in a good headspace. And then to be invited as an alternate to X Games and managing to get in was a dream come true. So I went and did my thing there and it was good to get the first X Games under my belt and get the nerves down. Then I got third at Aspen Open and finished off the Dew Tours, and then I scored a bunch of other opportunities like getting to film with Matchstick and going to JOI, and then I just got back from a second European trip with MSP and Salomon Freeski TV.
X-Games. photo: John Vandervalk
Yeah tell everyone about your schedule on that one, because you left Scandinavia, went home, and then went straight back…
(laughs) Yeah I went to Norway and Sweden for Sweet Rumble and JOI, then went home for two weeks and went to WSI in Whistler for two days, and then went all the way back to Norway. And then once we got there, it rained for six days straight, we got nothing done, so we took an 18-hour train ride back to Åre, Sweden, aka the best place on earth, and we ended up getting some really cool shots. We had a paraglider and a heli filming on one of Jon’s jumps, and we had an amazing sunset. So it was nice to end the trip with a bang.
JOI. photo: Dan Brown
Did you have a chance to get a lot of filming done this year? Because you pretty much did almost every competition I can think of. Can we expect to see anything of you this fall during premiere season?
Ummm, I dunno. I filmed twice with Matchstick at the Keystone park shoot and in Sweden, but I’m not sure. When it’s film-related you never really know if you get the shots while you’re there. It’s back in the lab when they’re going through all the footage and checking it out. But I’m sure hoping I’ll have a few shots in the movie.
You also had your first little bit of controversy earlier this year after the first Dew Tour when there was some debate about the judging and ultimately your victory. Your side of the story has never really been heard so what are your thoughts on the whole situation and what it was like going through that for your first time?
Well I felt like you kind of had to be there to understand what went down that day. The weather was awful, it was really cold and windy and difficult for all the competitors. But in the end I don’t really care what anyone thinks because I’m just going to go out and do what I do. At the end of that day the judges awarded me with the win and I was super pumped, and when all the hate started coming I just put it in the back of mind and just kept for skiing for the one reason I ski, which is to have fun. You know, DTH.
Dew Tour. photo: John Vandervalk
What would you say was the biggest highlight of your season, with everything you got to do this year?
Well I’d say graduating from high school in January was the most important one, because it allowed me to go and take advantage of all these opportunities, and then obviously winning Dew Tour was really cool, but I feel like this last trip I went on in Sweden was the best. Just having the heli doing laps filming us for like three hours straight was probably the pinnacle of my season. I learned so many new tricks in that time frame alone and I was skiing with Henrik Harlaut and Alexis Godbout and it was the most enjoyable skiing I’ve ever done in my life. We were hitting the Reverse Transfer Gap that the guys only got to hit for like an hour at JOSS because of the weather and the people at Åre plowed the two take-off’s into one big one and it was honestly the best jump I’ve ever hit. It was the most floaty, most mellow jump ever and you could basically try any trick with very little consequences because it was so perfect.
Sweden. photo: Dan Brown
What are your plans for next year?
Well I’m planning on taking some classes in the fall and then I’ll be on the full-fledged competition circuit. I really want to try to get on top of my game in that area and also start things off with Matchstick on day one and try to get a good, well-rounded segment.
You’ve come a long way in the last two years. Is it kind of surreal?
Oh yeah. It’s crazy. All the opportunities I’ve been getting have been unreal and this is what I’ve wanted for so long so it’s amazing that it’s finally here. So I just need to take a hold of it, stay focused, and make it what I want.
Dew Tour. photo: Julie Weinberger
You’ve certainly got a strong fan base on NS, as a lot of kids rushed to your defense after the Dew Tour controversy and there’s always a fair bit of chitter-chatter about you. How does that make you feel?
It’s really, really cool. It’s cool when I have random kids message me on there because we all love the same thing and it’s nice to be able to chat with them and give them advice and get advice from them. NS can really bring out the positives in skiing and help expand the sport and it’s really awesome that we have it.
Shout-out’s and thank-you’s?
For sure. Everyone at Salomon for bringing me out here to Jib Academy Finals again and for all their support, Matt Barber and Scott Hibbert at Under Armour, Gabe Shroder at Smith Optics, and most of all my family for all their support. My parents, who are the biggest support in my life, and my brother and sister, who are always backing me and being so pumped when things are going my way.
Lastly, what advice would give to kids reading this who will most certainly look at you as an inspiration in having come so far in such a short period of time?
Really, really just stick in it for the fun. If you’re just doing it because you want to be sponsored you’ll find that nothing is going to go your way. It’s all about doing your own thing, not worrying about what anyone else is saying, going out and having fun…and it’ll happen for you if you deserve it.
photo: Jeff Schmuck