An Interview with Ralph Backstrom
We recently got a chance to ask Ralph Backstrom, the 2013 Freeride World Champion and 2 time Xtreme Verbier Winner, some questions about his work on the Hollywood sequel to the cult classic: Point Break, what it was like making the beautiful film Mica to Greenland as well as some cool questions his fans will really enjoy.
When it comes to snowboarding, he is one of the most accomplished, popular (who doesn’t know his name?) and pleasantly humble athletes we’ve had the chance to interview.
Editor: Thanks for taking some time to speak with us, Ralph. We appreciate it.
Ralph: No problem, happy to talk.
Editor: You were a stunt double for the upcoming movie, Point Break. How did you feel about the experience?
Click to view the Point Break Featurette
Ralph: Yes, I was Bodhi’s snowboard double. The experience was mostly great for me! We spent about 9 weeks in the Italian Alps, with mainly great snow conditions. There were definitely some frustrating times, where what “Hollywood” wanted us to do didn’t make sense to us, or took waaaaaay longer than what we thought it should take.
But then those moments of frustration would be engulfed by the pleasure of riding a couloir with great pow, followed by the words, “Could you guys do that one again?” while we’re grinning ear to ear, responding, “Definitely!” And that would happen 5 times or so, before moving on to the next line.
Editor: Would you enjoy being a stunt double again, if the chance presents itself?
Ralph: Yes, I absolutely would. Though there were those times of frustration, I really did have a good time and great experience. It was cool to attempt to put someone’s script and storyline into my riding.
Editor: How old were you when you first started snowboarding? And where was this?
Ralph: I skied from 1.5 years old until 11 years old, when I switched to snowboarding. Both were at Crystal Mountain in WA.
Editor: That's pretty amazing. What will you remember the most about the film, Mica to Greenland? What stands out about that experience?
Click to view Mica to Greenland by The North Face
Ralph: The very first day of the Greenland trip was ridiculous, with the dogs, soggy pack ice, and the uncertainty of even an attempt at this expedition made for a very intense day.
I think my favorite part though, was how enjoyable of a trip it was even though we had terrible snow conditions. Being immersed in the mountains with friends is really fun even with bad snow, so we just enjoyed that.
Editor: What is it about snowboarding that fulfills you emotionally?
Ralph: I’ve been in the mountains my whole life, and have a pretty large need for that connection to continue. Being outdoors is the main thing about it that’s important to me, but making turns sure does put a smile on my face.
Editor: That's inspiring! What are your thoughts on the preservation of nature and climate change?
Ralph: Nature preservation and climate change are very important topics. My parents made a lot of sacrifices to make sure my siblings and I could spend time in the mountains and enjoy all the fun times that snow provides. The thought of not being able to share that with my own potential kids is a bit scary.
Being a professional snowboarder doesn’t have the smallest carbon footprint, but I try to cut down in as many ways as I possibly can (riding my bike as much as possible, carpooling, buying local seasonal produce, buying grass fed organic beef, keeping the lights off if I’m not using them, etc.)
Editor: Okay, here are some questions your fans will enjoy…on rest days:
What kind of music do you like to unwind to?
Ralph: I listen to lots of different music - sometimes its rap music, sometimes indie rock.
What’s your favorite movie?
Ralph: Hmmm, I don’t really have one that comes to mind.
What’s your favorite food or drink (we hear you love freshly brewed coffee!)?
Ralph: Yeah, good coffee is definitely my weak spot. I’m pretty meticulous about my roasting and brewing, and normally take lots of home-roasted coffee along on expeditions- a great cup of coffee when you’re secluded from the rest of the world is pretty hard to beat!
Editor: We totally agree! Thanks for spending some time with us, Ralph.
Ralph: You’re welcome! Thanks for having me.
Interview conducted by Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Editor of the Facebook Page: 'An Interview With'.
Editor-in-Chief of ClimbSkiBoulderMagazine.com
Interview © Vera Kaikobad L. Ac.
Official Facebook Page: Ralph Backstrom
Official web site: Ralphbackstrom.com
List of sponsors:
The North Face
On the Cover:
The 2013 Freeride World Champion &
2 Time Xtreme Verbier Winner
Cover Date: June 22nd, 2015