POC to hold Arne Backstrom Memorial

POC to hold Arne Backstrom Memorial

From the entire POC team and community we send our condolences to the family and friends of Arne Backstrom, 29, who passed away Thursday, June 3rd in a fall during a freesking/mountaineering trip in the Cordillera Blanca of Peru.

Arne was a true ski warrior who pushed and progressed the sport of freesking. The tragic loss of Arne will forever be remembered and embraced amongst the entire skiing community. Arne was a quiet, fun-loving Tahoe based skier with limitless skiing potential.

“Arne was a true gift to the sport of skiing, and to everyone who ever met him for that matter,” says POC U.S. Team Manager Erin Sullivan. “His passion and incredible talent really set him in a class by himself. Having seen what he was able to accomplish this past year really gave us all the sense that he was well on his well to the top of the freeskiing world. His wonderful smile and kind personality will be missed by all of us.”

We will be honoring Arne Thursday June 17th at Squaw Valley. Please join us at 3:30 pm at the Plumpjack Squaw Valley Inn at the base of Squaw.

Here are early details on Arne’s death from Freeskier.com:
At 9:45 am on June 3rd Arne Backstrom was killed while skiing Pisco (5752 m) in the Llanganuco Valley of the Cordillera Blanca, Peru. With him were Kip Garre and Dave Rosenbarger. The team arrived in Peru on the 28th of May for a month long ski mountaineering expedition. On June 1st the team established a base camp at 4650 m in the Llanganuco Valley with intentions of climbing and skiing Pisco as apart of their acclimatization process. At 4:45 am on June 3rd Arne, Kip, and Dave started their climb from base camp under clear skies and calm winds. They ascended the Standard Route via the Huandoy/ Pisco Col and SW Slopes with no difficulties. The team made the summit at 9:00 am and began their descent at 9:25.

Snow conditions off of the summit were consistent and ideal for skiing. An inch of warmed, soft snow overlay a firm base. Approximately 150 m below the summit the team stopped at a ramp leading to Pisco’s S Face, a 400m 50-55 degree slope of snow and rock. The S Face was a feature that the team had observed and discussed during the two days prior to their climb. At 9:45 am, after some discussion, Arne decided to descend the ramp to assess the snow conditions of the face. He made a few turns down the 40-degree ramp in soft conditions before encountering hard snow or ice. Arne attempted to traverse onto the S Face to what appeared to be softer snow. Conditions on the face remained firm and the team noticed Arne accelerate. His downhill ski released causing Arne to fall out of Kip and Dave’s sight.

POC is a Swedish company with a strong mission to do the best we can to possibly save lives and to reduce the consequenses
of accidents for gravity sports athletes.

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