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Freeskier Arne Backstrom Dies

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 25


post #3 of 25

Our condolences to the Backstrom family on their unimaginable loss.  

post #4 of 25

post #5 of 25



There has been too much of this lately.

post #6 of 25

Seattle paper paper had a good article today, with a statement from his Dad.  'He had 29 great years but they went way too fast'.


RIP Arne.  You are getting to lay down some line with some amazing skiers.

post #7 of 25

 Here is a beautiful article that ESPN had a while back about the Backstrom's incredible family.


Love and Prayers to the family.

post #8 of 25

Some of his skiing and an interview...



post #9 of 25

Condolences to the family. There is a statement put out by a close friend approved by the Backstrom family concerning the circumstances of this tragedy on the ski forum in TGR.

post #10 of 25

I was saddened and touched by this tragedy before reading the thread on TGR but now my heart especially goes out to his friends who faced this tragedy first hand.


Its never good to see such a loss...

post #11 of 25

Arne was a really good guy.  We came in contact with him fairly frequently when he repped Tecnica/Volkl.  It's so hard for us all to lose these good spirits--the riders and skiers--and I agree with his Dad that he lived well.  Seems like a quick death, great life....only that the life was shorter than we all wanted for him.  But we can't choose this.


I'm glad for him that he went this way rather than other ways that weren't so connected to the expressions of his life.  I'm guessing that if he knew he had to die that he would have preferred it this way as well.


I will be a little presumptuous here, and if the family sees this and takes issue, I am truly sorry.  But I will paraphrase and edit part of a prayer of gratitude I say for my own son. It just helps remind me what is real.  


I'm grateful to the mountains for providing such a place of power for Arne's mythic life and death.  And I'm grateful that it was the mountain that claimed him, and took him home.  And I forgive the mountain for its complicity in this wild dance.  And I forgive the mountain for its cruelty.  And the miracle of his life, and the truth of his death--our joy and our sorrow--are part of our own lives now.  And we will always feel that, and honor him, for how he touched those around him and how his skis sang in the snow.


My heart goes out to his family with love and understanding.

post #12 of 25

I had a brief PM exchange with Kevin who graciously allowed me to post his words from TGR on EpicSki, in the interest of sharing the facts.

Thank you Kevin. 


Quote from TGR = PointsNorth

Arne Backstrom Accident report

I have been given the duty of making certain that facts and details of the tragic accident are correct.

Here is the official accident report for the tragic loss of our good friend Arne Backstrom. This report was approved by the family and written by those involved in Peru.

Kevin Quinn

June 6, 2010

At 9:45 am on June 3rd Arne Backstrom was killed while skiing Pisco (5752 m) in the Llanganuco Valley of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. With him were Kip Garre and Dave Rosenbarger. The team arrived in Peru on the 28th of May for a month long ski mountaineering expedition. On June 1st the team established a base camp at 4650 m in the Llanganuco Valley with intentions of climbing and skiing Pisco as apart of their acclimatization process. At 4:45 am on June 3rd Arne, Kip, and Dave started their climb from base camp under clear skies and calm winds. They ascended the Standard Route via the Huandoy/Pisco Col and SW Slopes with no difficulties. The team made the summit at 9:00 am and began their descent at 9:25. 

Snow conditions off of the summit were consistent and ideal for skiing. An inch of warmed, soft snow overlay a firm base. Approximately 150 m below the summit the team stopped at a ramp leading to Pisco’s S Face, a 400m 50-55 degree slope of snow and rock. The S Face was a feature that the team had observed and discussed during the two days prior to their climb. At 9:45 am, after some discussion, Arne decided to descend the ramp to assess the snow conditions of the face. He made a few turns down the 40-degree ramp in soft conditions before encountering hard snow or ice. Arne attempted to traverse onto the S Face to what appeared to be softer snow. Conditions on the face remained firm and the team noticed Arne accelerate. His downhill ski released causing Arne to fall out of Kip and Dave’s sight. 

Not able to see Arne or the entire S Face, Kip and Dave tried to make verbal contact with no success. Realizing self-arrest was highly unlikely, Kip and Dave descended the route of their ascent knowing it would be the safest, fastest way to reach Arne. At 9:55 Kip and Dave encountered a guide and client just below the Huandoy/Pisco Col and informed them of the accident. At this point Kip and Dave roped up and began to traverse/skin, maintaining a high route under Pisco’s S Face through heavily glaciated and crevassed terrain. At approximately 10:55 am they found Arne beneath the face. Upon thorough examination Arne had neither a radial nor a carotid pulse and had sustained head trauma despite wearing a helmet. 

Unable to move Arne back through the glaciated terrain, Kip and Dave were forced to descend in search of help. At 11:30 am Kip and Dave reached two guides who had been informed of the accident and were coming to assist in the rescue. All unnecessary equipment was left behind and the rescue party walked roped up back to Arne and reached him at 12:15 pm. An improvised litter was created using a rope and skis. The four person rescue party began moving Arne back towards the trail leading to base camp at 1:15 pm. Due to soft snow and complicated terrain, progress was slow. Wanting to avoid any further accidents from serac and rock fall from the face above, the decision was made after two hours of work to leave Arne in a safe location and return the following morning with additional help. 

At approximately 4:15 pm, with the use of a satellite phone, the team contacted a friend in the United States to help with coordination of a rescue and to notify members of Arne’s family. 

The following day, with the help of several local porters and guides Arne was brought down to a refuge located adjacent to the team’s base camp. Currently formalities are being taken care of to return Arne back to his family in the United States.

We want to apologize for the factual nature of this report. All of us here, as well as thousands of friends and family members around the world are deeply saddened by this unfortunate event. Our foremost concern, however, is that all of the facts surrounding the accident are understood. 

Our thoughts and sympathy are with the Backstrom family.

post #13 of 25



My condolences to the family.


Met Arne a couple of years ago in Utah and skied with him for 1/2 a day.  Incredible person.


God Bless.

post #14 of 25

Another tragic loss for Squaw.  I was lucky to see Arne ski and chatted with him this year, he seemed like an incredibly nice guy and a fantastic athlete.  This is Arne flying on the Goodwill's Air off the Granite Peak area at Squaw.  


post #15 of 25

I'm always reminded of this poem when I see things like this...


The time you won your town the race

We chaired you through the market place

Man and boy stood cheering by

and home we brought you shoulder high


Today, the road all runners come

Shoulder high we bring you home

And set you at your threshold down

Townsman of a stiller town


Smart lad, to slip betimes away

From fields where glory does not stay

And early thought the laurel grows

It withers quicker than the rose


Eyes the shady night has shut

Cannot see the record cut

And silence sounds no worse than cheers

After earth has stopped the ears


Now you will not swell the rout

Of lads who wore their honors out

Runners whom renown outran

And the name died before the man


So set, before its echoes fade

The fleet foot on the sill of shade

And hold to the low lintel up

The still defended challenge cup


And round that early-laurelled head

Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead

And find unwithered on its curls

The garland briefer than a girl's


"To an Athlete Dying Young" by A.E. Housman

post #16 of 25

Nice csavage.  That's really strong.

Thank you.

post #17 of 25

Very sorry to hear about this. Condolenses to family and friends. A loss to the community.

post #18 of 25

There is an interesting on-going discussion of the accident report over at TGR.  This a memory thread, so I will stop here. 

post #19 of 25
Originally Posted by weems View Post

Nice csavage.  That's really strong.

Thank you.

A.E. Housman is a really good and not often remembered poet. Everyone should read his stuff!

post #20 of 25

Hard to believe its been three years. 

Though I never knew Arne, personally, I have become close friends with people who were some of his most intimate friends.  Its evident that the mark on this world that Arne left is a beautiful one. 

post #21 of 25

Arne was a fantastic skier. I try to emulate his technique when ever I ski technical terrain and choppy snow. (Honestly I think of him sometimes on groomers when I'm being too hard on my edges) So smooth, stylish, made the hardest of lines look like a walk in the park. For me he is one of the skiers that I constantly try to emulate. 


Michael Von Gruenaggen (Sp?)

Ted Ligety 






Don't be confused by such an elite list, frankly my skiing does not belong in the same sentence as theirs. Also I'm not saying that anyone else needs to consider this group the pinnacle of technique. Point of posting this is that Arne was one of the best of the very best and a tough tough loss for the sport. 

post #22 of 25

Its been 5 years. 


When I first posted in this thread I had no idea how Arne's imprint on the ski world would change my skiing.  His contributions to the innovations at Tecnica/Blizzard have inspired some of the funnest skis I've been on.

 His legacy has inspired an event that earns money for kids to learn how to love the outdoors without leaving a negative impact


Thank you Arne for leaving a beautiful footprint on this world. 


It is with respect and inspiration that I bump this for Throwback Thursday

post #23 of 25

Wow, I started reading the accident report in post 12, and by the second sentence realized all three of those guys are dead now. Sobering. 

post #24 of 25
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Wow, I started reading the accident report in post 12, and by the second sentence realized all three of those guys are dead now. Sobering. 



Yep, I saw that and thought the same thing. 

I found some old group ski photo's the other day and I was the only one still alive.

May our fallen friends rest in peace.

post #25 of 25
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Wow, I started reading the accident report in post 12, and by the second sentence realized all three of those guys are dead now. Sobering. 

I was thinking the same thing.

It also occurred to me that, since my move west I have gotten to know some of these people personally, including Kevin Quinn (original poster of the accident report) which deepens the content.  Like its coming from his mouth instead of words on paper. 

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