Seven days ago, John and I looked at the forecast for Niseko and thought maybe this would be a good week to go ski the deep Japanese powder everyone has been talking about. Ingrid Backstrom was at Crystal for the week, and we asked her if she wanted to go. In her humble Backstrom way, she thanked me profusely, but said she couldn’t join us. Instead she was supposed to be in Aspen. When I asked her why, she just shrugged and said, “The Powder Awards.”
Oh yes. The Powder Awards, in which viewers get to vote for their favorite performers. I, of course, voted a few months ago for Ingrid. I’ve known her since she was a young racer at Crystal, trying to act inconspicuous in the ski patrol room while her parents worked. In fact, it was Ingrid’s mom, Betsy, who taught me how to run a toboggan with finesse. As a petite woman running toboggans three times her weight, Betsy showed me how to press my hips down onto the handles to get the brake to bite in, allowing me to steer with my arms, rather than my quads. Now, when I teach new patrollers this skill, I always think of Betsy’s soft-spoken smile as she handily showed me the ropes.
This year, for the 5th time in her career, Ingrid won Best Female Skier. Way to go Ingrid. We may have missed a great week at Niseko, but I suppose winning this award was worth it. Check out this video in which Ingrid accepts her award and gracefully dedicates it to Sarah Burke. In case you were wondering, this is what it means to be a Backstrom.