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Meet the rugged smartphone case that X Games athletes rely on

When you take a look at the rundown of current sponsors for the X Games, you’ll find a number of companies that you would probably expect to be a part of the action sports extravaganza. For instance, GoPro, Jeep, and Monster Energy all seem like a natural fit for the X Games audience, and even Polaris, Harley Davidson, and AT&T don’t seem especially out of place. Also on the list is LifeProof, a company that might not immediately leap to mind when you think of extreme sports competitions. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover why the brand has become a favorite amongst professional athletes who rely on their smartphones while training.

As one of the leaders in the rugged smartphone case market, LifeProof has created some of the most durable options for keeping our iPhones and Android devices safe in extreme conditions. The company’s line of Frē and Nüüd cases are water and dust proof, while also providing protection from snow and ice – not to mention accidental drops – without adding a lot of undue bulk. That makes them excellent choices not only for those of us who put our phones through hell during our own outdoor adventures, but for the professional athletes who take part in the X Games too.

Recently we had a chance to chat with a number of those athletes while attending X Games Aspen. What we discovered is that they’re as attached to their smartphones as the rest of us and their mobile devices often play a crucial role in their day-to-day training as well. Unsurprisingly, that makes a rugged smartphone case somewhat of a necessity, both on and off the slopes. It turns out, if you’re pulling off high-flying, aerial stunts with skis or a snowboard strapped to your feet, you just might need some extra protection for your fragile gadgets.

Big air freestyle skier Bobby Brown, who has won eight X Games medals throughout his career, says that he needs to have his phone with him constantly, even while on the slopes. He tells Digital Trends, “We’re in the outdoors all the time and we don’t always know what the weather is going to be like. But with a good case I can take my phone out of my pocket at any time, even when its dumping snow, and not have to worry about my iPhone frying out.”

Brown’s comments were echoed by French halfpipe skier Kevin Rolland, who has not only 10 X Games medals to his name, but a bronze medal from the Sochi Olympics as well. He told us “I can ski with my phone in my hand and take great photos while training. But if you fall it’s okay. Your phone will be fine.” Those images are extremely popular on social media, which plays an important role for today’s action sports athlete. Rolland says, “There aren’t a lot of channels or media outlets that allow us to interact directly with fans, but social media allows us to do just that. When I’m out there, I’m using my phone a lot, especially to post on Facebook and Instagram.”


Christy Prior – who competed for New Zealand at the Sochi Olympics – was in Aspen to attend the X Games in a non-athletic capacity. Currently sidelined with an injury, she’s working on getting healthy and back on the pro circuit as soon as she can. The kiwi snowboarder was still able to weigh in on this topic, however. “I always carry my phone with me while training. It allows me to stay in touch with my coach, keep up with friends, and listen to music while I’m riding,” Prior says. She also admits that without a good case she’d be shelling out a lot of money on a regular basis. “We obviously train on snow, so there is always moisture and ice to deal with. And since we’re falling and crashing with our phones a lot, LifeProof helps me to not have to buy a new phone every month.”

Slopestyle and Big Air snowboarder Sebastien Toutant tells Digital Trends that he’s been using a LifeProof case for a year now, and really appreciates what it brings to the table. “It’s crazy how much we use our phones,” he says, referring to himself and other X Games athletes. “From summer to winter, its probably the best tool you can have.” Dubbed “Seb Toots” on the action sports circuit, Toutant is a popular figure on social media, which naturally influences the way he uses his phone on the slopes. “I’m always taking photos, shooting video, and posting them on Instagram or Twitter. But with a LifeProof case my phone doesn’t freeze up and I don’t have to worry about cracking it when I accidentally drop it off the chairlift either.”


Darrin Mees was in Aspen to take part in the first ever Snow BikeCross event, which is a race involving motorized vehicles that are a blend of dirt bikes and snowmobiles. He doesn’t have the time to take out his phone in the heat of the moment of a race or training session, but appreciates what a LifeProof case brings to his day-to-day life. As someone who constantly works and plays in the outdoors, he tells us, “My phone would have been destroyed on many occasions if it weren’t for this case. It’s a real lifesaver.” With a young family back at home, his smartphone is the key to staying connected with his wife and two daughters while on the road, making it an important piece of equipment indeed.

Obviously, not everyone is an extreme sports athlete, or needs to have a case that can survive a fall from a chairlift. But for those who do, its nice to know that there are some options available to protect our mobile devices when we’re in the outdoors. Keeping that in mind, it makes perfect sense that LifeProof is among the sponsors for the X Games, and that so many of the athletes who compete there rely on its products in both their personal and professional lives.

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Kraig Becker
Kraig Becker is a freelance outdoor writer who loves to hike, camp, mountain bike, trail run, paddle, or just about any other…
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