“Just do what brings joy to you,”-Ingrid Backstrom

On this episode of the “Nausicaa Cast” podcast, presented by Powder Radio, host Hadley Hammer interviews Ingrid Backstrom, the most decorated big mountain skier of all time. The two talk about how professional skiing has evolved, snow safety, and motherhood—Backstrom recently gave birth to a daughter. Backstrom also reflects on her career.

“I’m still pretty amazed that somehow I’m still skiing for a living,” says Backstrom. “It still feels like yesterday that I wouldn’t even tell people I was a professional skier because I was so nervous it would all go away.”


After graduating from Whitman College, the call of the mountains drew her to Squaw Valley, California, to put in what she thought would be a year-long stint as a ski bum. However, it only took a few freeskiing contests for Ingrid to realize that she had found her niche. Without doubt, she would be calling the mountains home for a long, long time.

Since then, she placed top three in 13 of 16 freeskiing contests entered and has been awarded Breakthrough Performance in 2005, 5-time Best Female Performance, and ten-time Reader Poll winner for her roles in 9 Matchstick Productions films at the annual Powder Magazine Video Awards, in addition to appearing in the 2007 documentary Steep, All.I.Can and Into the Mind by Sherpas Cinema, six Warren Miller films, and 2015‘s The Great Siberian Traverse by Powder Magazine and Sherpas Cinema. Her travels with The North Face have allowed her to make first descents in Baffin Island, Greenland, and 20,000ft Reddomaine Peak in China, as well as a ski descent of Denali. She was named one of 50 most influential action sports athletes in 2013 by ESPN.

When she’s not skiing, Ingrid still stays outside as much as possible in her home in Leavenworth, Washington, running, biking, and gardening to relax and keep fit. Ingrid is grateful for the opportunities that her sport brings her, especially getting to travel and ski with “amazing people around the world.”

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