Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom

Squaw Valley, Chamonix, Crystal Mountain

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Arne's Passions

Backpacking
Mountaineering
Sport Climbing

Arne's Bio

1980-2010 RIP you will be with us always-

The following excerpts are from Arne Backstrom's biography at www.patagonia.com.

During my earlier ski days, my family rolled up to the mountains in a rusty brown 1954 GMC bookmobile. It was a grotesque machine in both looks and mechanics, but every Friday night from December to April, that neurotic old vehicle delivered our family of five the 100 miles from Seattle to Crystal Mountain and provided lodging for the weekend. My sister and brother and I would sit at the table/bed in the back and Mom gripped the dash from the co-pilot position while Dad worked the shifter and struggled to manage 26,000 lbs of momentum with less than adequate brakes. It was an eyesore, scary to drive, cold, and smelled funny, but when it snowed two feet we laughed and said it was paradise. It wasn't luxury living, but it brought the family together, and we skied hard. I probably wouldn't have wished it back then, but those days seem to have set the tone for my life thus far, at least in spirit. I still do whatever it takes to ski as much as I can.

After some years of tearing around the mountain finding secret trails and powder stashes, I began racing at 11. It was the logical next step and provided speed and adrenaline and taught me to push the limits. I enjoyed the competition, and the discipline was good, but I was still out freeskiing as much as possible, and I poached the snowboard park on occasion, too. I ski raced through college, and then with some hard-earned summer cash, took off to Europe and succeeded in spending a serious amount of time on snow, racking up lots of vertical in big terrain. Since then, the thought of a real job has been less and less attractive, and when winter comes around I put everything else aside.

Skiing is a beautiful way to travel in alpine terrain. It provides access to amazing places while leaving only a fleeting trail and allows one to interact with a huge amount of terrain in a short period of time. It allows effortless speed and grace over what would otherwise be scarcely navigable terrain. It's a simple game of resisting and manipulating gravity, and is made possible by the most vital of substances. I am continually amazed and always grateful that this crazy sport exists and has progressed to its current state.

It should be encouraging to all that the smoothest, best skiers on the mountain are almost always the older guys and gals who have perfected the art of matching speed and turn shape with snow and terrain. With the right amount of power and control, skiing is low impact, a great workout, and can be practiced for a lifetime. I plan to do so, but my biggest concern is rising temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns. Most skiers have already noticed that things are getting weird, with feast-or-famine snow years and wild weather. Though it may make for a great season here and there, it's disturbing and indicates that we need to change our ways so that our sport may continue in as many places as possible. Skiers have special incentive to do their part with responsible energy consumption and helping the environmental movement gain momentum.

Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote an answer about on February 9, 2010

Yes, you can mount a duke on a slider...

Yes, you can mount a duke on a slider plate, but it's a little tricky. I've always done mine so that the slider screw is accessible through the hole in the center of the bindings. It works well enough but the center hole on the bindings doesn't get a screw so you have to be a little more careful when you switch from ski to hike.

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on January 15, 2010

5 5

The Argos has become my high pressure, firm snow ski, but they're good in chop and pow too. I love the way they want to carve, even in chop, so I tend to ski fast and lock into long turns when the conditions are right, but the control is great too, so they're fun for billy goating and picking around. They're not twin tips, but the tail is rounded and curved up just enough to make them a little more forgiving in the back. These skis have really fast bases, so I usually only have to hot wax them once or twice to condition them and then I'll be dusting my friends all season. I've been skiing these one or two cm forward of center on the slider.

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on January 15, 2010

5 5

I've been loving these skis for days when I really want to go fast, and definitely the faster the better on these, in powder and especially chopped pow and crud. The large shovels make them stomping machines, allowing you to land pretty centered and not go over the bars. I'm 5'11" 175lb, have tried both sizes and much prefer the 194 as I think it allows me to better ski them as they were designed. As far as I know the two sizes are 185 and 194, so the info panel to the right must be a typo, but the drop down gives the correct choices. Like any big stiff skis, they can be a handful when you get tired and want to back off a bit, but it's worth it for the stability when you are charging, which you should be on the Zeuses. They have some tip rocker which does make them much easier to ski than boards of this size and stiffness without that little bit of rocker. I've had my sliders mounted center and have been so happy with the performance that I haven't even tried skiing them forward or back yet. I also increased the base bevel to a strong 1 degree and that made them much easer to handle.

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

5 5

This is a sweet setup for anything you want to do. Wide enough for pow, enough sidecut to carve but still great for steeps and billy goating, and fun for the park. They have a lively feel with a medium flex and are super durable. I've whaled on rocks and have not been able to compress an edge. Slider plate allows you to move your bindings fore and aft easily if you want to change it for big mtn or park. Get an extra slider plate so you can have one with resort bindings and one with your touring bindings so you make no compromises. I've found I prefer to have my slider back a few cm on these as the center mark is pretty far forward.

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on December 16, 2009

5 5

I love these pants for heading out into the mountains because they are tough and light and functional. Waterproof, huge vents, light suspenders, stretchy in the low bib abdominal area, tight at the cuff so you don't catch your crampons, full side zips in case you feel the need to hike in your long johns.

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on November 26, 2009

My favorite
5 5

These goggles have been great for me. They've never fogged up, but I'm careful to take them off if I'm going to max out on hiking. They're comfortable and the optics are great (which surprisingly isn't always a given on goggles these days). Also this blue mirror is the best all around lens I've ever had. At first I figured I'd be using different lenses for low light days, but I found my friends would be complaining about vis with their flashy lenses and I'd be just fine. I used this lens all season and loved it!

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on November 12, 2009

5 5

This ski and binding setup is a great all around choice. Not too much side cut and relatively soft especially in the tails, makes them forgiving and fun, good for tail butters or if you just want to sit back a little and juice one.I'd like to clear up some confusion about the FR 16 IQ bindings though. It's basically an integrated Duke binding to fit the IQ rail system, but where Duke's come in sizes small and large, the FR 16 IQ bindings come in one size only and fits boots from 265mm to 365mm, which equates to US mens 4.5 to like size 15 or something. However, there is an adjustment that needs to be made before mounting the bindings. For boots smaller than 305mm, snap the white plastic adjustment into the corresponding position under the heel peice, and do the same for boots larger than 305mm. It's really simple and allows them to fit almost all adult boot sizes!These skis are great and so are the bindings, backcountry or park, small or large boots!

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote an answer about on November 12, 2009

They will tip a 102 waist just fine. Dynafits are actually pretty strong torsionally, better than many other touring bindings. I know lots of people with Dynafits on skis 105mm plus, and why not? May as well save the weight where you can, but don't skimp too much on the skis as you're hiking for all that fresh pow right? If your boots can handle a 102 waist then the Dynafit bindings will be fine too, and you'll be stoked that every step toward the pristine powder will be that much easier and more enjoyable!

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Arne Backstrom

Arne Backstrom wrote a review of on October 27, 2009

5 5

I've been really happy with these pants for everyday skiing at the resort. The tough fabric looks great, hangs nicely and stays waterproof. Sizing now accommodates more leg sizes with a short, reg, and long choice for each pant size.
Long outside thigh ventilation zips dump heat quickly, pockets are big enough nut not bulky looking, boot cuff skirt is adjustable as is the waist, so you can go without a belt if you get the waist size close enough.
I ski enough that I can generally make a pair of pants look pretty mangey in a month or two, but these ones seem to stay cleaner and look nicer for quite a bit longer.
I'm 5'11" 175lb and I go with a regular length medium. It's not a park and pipe cut, nor am I sagging these things, but it's a relaxed and comfortable fit.

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