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.”

x games athletes lifeproof case snow 01

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.”

x games athletes lifeproof case daren mees

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.


The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.

The best protective iPhone cases to defend against dirt, dings, and drops

If you’re going off-road or work outdoors, it could be a good idea to invest in a tough case. These are our picks of the best protective iPhone cases for all iterations of the iPhone, from the iPhone XS to the 7.

Best holiday gifts for the outdoor junkie on your list

Have an outdoorsy person on your list and not sure what they need? We've hand-picked our favorite outdoor gear with an eye towards the unique and useful. From high-powered headlamps to heated socks, we've found something for everyone on…
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!