Pro freeskier Ingrid Backstrom will speak at the Boulder Theatre on Monday, Sept. 17. Photo courtesy of Adam Clark.
If you go

What: Ingrid Backstrom talk

When: Monday, Sept. 17, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Boulder Theater

More info:

Professional freeskier Ingrid Backstrom is exchanging her skis and poles for a microphone and a clicker at the Boulder Theater on Monday. As part of the North Face Never Stop Exploring Speaker Series, Backstrom will stop in Boulder to talk about skiing some of the biggest mountains in the world and what it’s like to film ski movies.

Backstrom has no problems flying down uncharted paths on skis, but she does have some butterflies about speaking in public, she said.

“I’m way more nervous about public speaking than I am dropping in on most ski runs,” she said in a phone interview from her home in Squaw Valley, Calif.

What’s been your most memorable experience on the slopes?

When we skied down from Denali last year, with a whole big team from North Face, that was pretty amazing. The trip to Pakistan was really memorable because what we were shooting was so different from anything I’ve ever done. The purpose of the trip (in 2008) was to climb and ski Gasherbrum II, an 8,000-meter peak in the Baltoro region of the Himalaya. I don’t think many people are going to Pakistan to climb, so it was kind of still crazy politically at the time. Being a woman traveling in a country like that . . . it was one of the most educational and eye-opening trips for me personally and culturally.

What’s your diet and training regimen like?

It varies throughout the year. In the winter season I’m usually skiing every single day — trying to back country ski and walk or jog to balance out all the downhill skiing. I do some cardio or something, and then try to keep my core strong. In the summer it’s a lot of trail runs, mountain biking — I try to get outside as much as possible and make it fun and enjoyable. Fall time it’s all about getting ready for winter again, strength and calisthenics.

I pretty much eat everything. I just try to keep it as simple and fresh and natural as possible. In the summer it’s all about the farmer’s markets. If I’m out skiing all day, I prefer to bring in peanut butter, some nuts or an apple. Real food that’s gonna taste good.

What advice do you have for people who want to freeski, or get into other outdoor activities?

Just keep in mind that even the best athletes, even the most hardcore people started out somewhere. Just focus on the positive and how good you feel after you’ve done something and realize it’s a journey — you can do this stuff for your whole life. If you feel like your abilities are on a downhill slide a little bit, just keep trying and keep going and you’re going to improve. It’s all about the journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. Especially in a place like Boulder, they’re always going to be someone that’s radder than you are. Keep getting out there and keep doing it.

Who has been your biggest mentor or idol?

My mom, first and foremost. She still skis every weekend. That was an amazing example to have growing up.

Is freeskiing still a man’s world, or do you feel like females are seen as equally “rad?”

I think there’s a difference in female and male bodies and psychology. Women are improving so much and I feel like the more women get out and do it, the more we have the generations to look up to. For men their great grandpas were hitting jumps on skis. For women their moms maybe didn’t even ski. I don’t feel like I’m in a man’s world. I hang out with so many females that rip really hard and the guys I film with are so supportive.


What kind of music are you into right now?

I’ve been into mixes by a DJ called Barisone. Right now I’m into Bat for Lashes, some really pretty songs from her.


–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta

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