This past weekend (see previous post), I spent a lot of time talking to Jeremy Jones and Ralph Backstrom about why they do what they do. About fear and death and pushing limits and moving on after losing someone close to you to the mountains – the very place they turn for comfort and solace. Death happens much too often in the big-mountain world and Jones has dealt with it a lot in the past year. “I could use a lot less reality,” he told me.
Ralph, who is 27 and rides for Jeremy’s snowboard company, as well as The North Face, is from a family of well-respected pros. His older sister Ingrid is one of the best, if not the best, big-mountain skier in the world. His older brother Arne, the middle sibling, is a big-mountain skier, as well. Ralph talked a lot about Arne and a big-mountain filming trip Arne was on in Peru this week. He was a bit jealous of Arne’s adventure and clearly thought the world of him.
Arne died in a fall on that trip today. He was 29.
I can’t stop thinking about how fun, funny, life-loving, lovable and limit-pushing Ralph is … and how this will change him. My wish is that it, if it does, is only for the better.