Six weeks after breaking his right ankle in a summer training crash at Mt. Hood, Ore., freeskiing star Bobby Brown is eyeing a late-September return to snow in New Zealand.
Brown, a four-time Winter X Games gold medalist in Slopestyle and Big Air -- and the defending Big Air champion in Aspen -- underwent surgery to repair the July 10 break shortly after it occurred. "I was hitting the jump at Hood and did a switch right [unnatural] double cork 9," Brown said.
"It was a hundred-foot jump and I went like 99 feet and came up a foot short. Both ankles buckled, I flipped and had a crazy compression. It was one of those things where I just misjudged it by a few miles an hour."
Since then, Brown has been rehabbing the injury with therapists in his home state of Colorado as well as at the U.S. Ski Team's Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah.
"Everything's going smoothly," he said. "I'm out of a boot, I've started PT and it's definitely getting pretty strong pretty quick."
Brown, who turned 21 in June, is one of a handful of favorites to contend for gold when slopestyle makes its Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Although best known for his jumping skills, he also is one of the toughest athletes on tour, having skied through a number of injuries during his young career. Most notably, he broke his pelvis and compressed three vertebrae during a backcountry film shoot with Matchstick Productions in March 2010. Less than two months after that accident, Brown landed the sport's first triple cork 1260 in Alaska.