Vail freeskier Broby Leeds has big momentum heading into Dew Tour
VAIL — His name harkens back to the past, but these days, he’s only thinking about the future.
Local Broby Leeds received his name from his great grandfather, and now that name is getting recognition around the world.
The halfpipe skier was the top-finishing American at the first World Cup of the season, down in New Zealand. He beat out Olympians Aaron Blunck and Lyman Currier to get there; the fourth-place finish he notched was the best of his young career.
“I was especially proud of that finish,” said his coach, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Elana Chase.
For Chase and everyone else watching, it was a nail biter to the finish. Leeds fell in his first run of qualifiers, and had to stick his second run to advance. The second run went a little better, and he was just barely able to sneak into finals.
“I qualified in last place and was just like whatever, at least I made it to finals,” he said.
Then things started looking up.
“Training for finals went awesome, I was finally getting all my dub 12s on line,” he said.
The dub 12 – short for double cork 1260, or three and a half rotations with two inverts woven in — is a trick that has become a staple of any winning run in the sport. Some athletes love the trick, others hate it, but they all must incorporate it into their runs in order to advance. Leeds landed a dub 12 in the second run of finals and landed the rest of his tricks cleanly for a run that impressed the judges enough to score him fourth overall.
“New Zealand felt good because I’ve never been able to land my dub 12s quite like I was then,” Leeds said. “I’m hoping to keep it going now for the rest of the season.”
He has his sites set on the Dew Tour’s Breckenridge stop, which could groom his path to a first-ever X Games start in January if he’s able to notch another impressive result. With no United States Ski and Snowboard Association Grand Prix events in our area this year, the Dew Tour will be the one place for local fans to see the Vail Valley skier fly out of the halfpipe in a big-stage event.
“I’m hoping to have a strong Vail following up there,” he said. “We have an amazing community here that really supports its athletes.”
Leeds’ major goal is to make the X Games. Along the way, however, he also has some ambitious plans. He’s currently a full-time student at Westminster College in Utah, attempting to juggle classwork with on-snow training. He’s also starting a clothing company with his friend Nigel Johnson and trying to learn Chinese.
“We started making shirts this summer. We made a sample, designed it and took it to a manufacturer in Denver, and now we’re getting our stuff made in China,” he said.
They started just making shirts for fun, but when Leeds would show the designs off to his friends, they started getting demand they weren’t anticipating.
“We had people saying ‘where can I buy one of those?’” he said.
The company is called Stash Apparel (@stash_apparel) and their first official line is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2016.
Leeds says his favorite part of school now is his Chinese classes.
“I’m getting it a little,” he said.
He knows Spanish, and says languages come easy to him.
“But Chinese is a whole different animal,” he said.
Being able to know Chinese and deal with manufacturers directly will run parallel with having his own company and dealing with athletes directly.
“Right now I know a bit about working with companies from sponsorships, but it gets hard when I want different things from them,” he said. “I think that learning the other side of the industry will help me bridge that gap a little, with other athletes and myself.”
Follow Broby Leeds on Instagram @brobyleeds, and Stash Apparel at @stash_apparel.