Welcome back to the In My Boots 2012 interview series. We’re jumping in the boots of each our team riders to get the lowdown on what their best trips and deepest days of the winter were. Hopefully their adventures will inspire you to get out on your own epic shred missions this spring and next winter.
Up next we have Ralph Backstrom, a Squaw Valley local who took second in the Freeride World Tour in 2012 and filmed with Teton Gravity Research for their upcoming release, The Dream Factory.
Weapon of Choice:
Where did you ride this winter?
Cascades, Wasatch, Revelstoke B.C., Sierra, Alps (France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland),
and the Chugach in AK.
What was your favorite trip?
Definitely my winter camping trips out of Valdez, AK.
Why would you recommend visiting the Chugach to other backcountry snowboarders?
There’s nothing like being fully immersed in sick terrain, like the Chugach, 24 hours/day. Accessibility is best with a snowmobile, plane, cat, or heli, but you’ll not be sad on a split board; you just need to figure out where the helicopters and sleds can’t go…
Did you visit any new zones that surprised you or any old backyard zones that were
No back yard zones; with a serious lack of snowfall in the Sierras, I didn’t get more than 10 days in all season at home. All the zones I hit in the Chugach were new to me, so that was fun. Our camps were surrounded by shreddable zones.
Favorite line of the season:
During our camping mission. It took us a couple tries in a couple days to get on top of this face we dubbed the “Face Melter Spines,” mainly due to the multiple massive shrunds and crevasses at the bottom of the face. We weren’t able to ride the parts of the face we wanted to due to the jagged knife-like ridgeline, but a couple of the spines we could access lined
up perfectly for a transfer, so I went for it, and it worked out nicely. There were definitely other lines I would have liked to have called my best of the season, but they didn’t work out, due to a fall, lack of sun light, or other factor.
Deepest Pow day:
February in Valdez.
Check out Ralph in the Dream Factory trailer. Board breaker at the 3 min mark.
Your worst crash and/or scariest moment of your winter was:
Worst fall is in the TGR Dream Factory Trailer. It was my first run back in VDZ after going to Austria for a FWT stop and my first run on a brand new Flagship 164. I broke the board, broke my binding, and lost my goggles. Scariest moment: Just standing on top of a 2500 foot line with a blind roll. The line itself went clean, but there’s a very small “going into the unknown” feeling, and it looks like you’re going to drop off the roll, all the way to the glacier a couple thousand feet below.
One thing you learned about backcountry snowboarding this winter was:
Let conditions and situational factors dictate what you ride. There were so many lines we wanted to shred but turned around on for one safety concern or another. Live to ride another day.
Where can we see your footy this fall?
TGR’s Dream Factory.
Any people you would like to thank for another great winter?
The entire TGR Crew, Josh and Tabitha at the Robe Lake Lodge, our VHSG
guides (Dylan), Christian Cabanilla (heli pilot), and fellow campers Todd, Griffin,
Sam and Athan.