Gear Pick: In extreme conditions, 
in OtterBox we trust

Originally published in The Aspen Daily News on March 8, 2013

I received my first OtterBox case three years ago in a schwag bag I was given while covering the Winter X Games.

The multi-layer case was designed for the iPhone 4, which at the time had just been released by Apple, and it seemed flimsy and cheap to me. The black case was made up of a thin silicon layer surrounded by an equally slim plastic shell. I thought that my relatively active lifestyle combined with my natural clumsiness ensured that my phone wouldn’t last a week in this thing called an OtterBox. (The name didn’t exactly incite images of sturdiness and durability either.) Regardless, I had an iPhone 3 and wasn’t due for an upgrade for another six months. The case was useless to me.

Over the next few weeks, every time I went to toss the brand new case away, First World guilt took over. I didn’t want to throw away a perfectly good case. So when my iPhone 3 finally died, I decided to give the ol’ OtterBox a go.

Its first test came during a climbing trip up Monitor Rock when I accidentally knocked my phone off a ledge. Considering the height from which it fell and the number of times it hit rocks on the way down I was pleasantly surprised to find only a small crack on the screen.

While the feat was impressive, the ultimate test of the OtterBox’s durability came later.

On a recent powder day I was skiing down a short mogul run on Aspen Mountain when my phone popped out of my pocket and was instantly lost in the snow.

I spent a few hours lapping the run and recruited some friends to help the search effort. I used Apple’s “FindmyiPhone” application to pinpoint where exactly on the run my phone had fallen. Still, with all of the powder, I was out of luck and I went home defeated. My phone had been donated to the powder gods.

The next day a friend took a lap and spotted it sticking out of the pow. Although it was pretty shocking that my phone was found at all, I was most impressed by the fact that the recovered device was still fully functional and had full battery life. The incident was enough to convince me: OtterBox is the real deal.

A cell phone is a very personal thing. We check them compulsively, get anxious when they’re not near us and many of us even take them to bed. Some people like to pamper their phones with bedazzled or furry cases, while others pride themselves in not relying on a case to protect their fragile phones. I’d like to think I don’t need a case, but if history has taught me anything it’s that I can’t own a phone for more than a year without cracking its screen.

Without the OtterBox in my life, Apple would be richer, I would be poorer, and no one would ever be able to get a hold of me. Consider me a believer.

Get Your Own:
OtterBox phone case
At Active Communications on 300 Puppy Smith St, Aspen, 970-429-8550
Models start at $29.95

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