Originally published in the 30th Anniversary Issue of SNOWBOARDER Magazine, Mountain GOATS celebrates the most influential snowboarders of the last thirty years (1987-2017), otherwise known as the Greatest Of All Time list. With over 70 men and women riding into the ranks of the Mountain GOATS, check back as we release their bios and celebrated accolades over the course of the next few weeks!
Mountain Goat: Ingemar Backman
Discovered by Craig Kelly in 1992, Ingemar Backman Trast was already well on his way to having a standout career by the time he humbly strapped in a little higher than everyone else before taking his last hit at a local quarterpipe contest in Riksgränsen, Sweden in the spring of 1996. Just as the chorus of The Presidents Of The United States Of America’s second most famous song “Lump” kicked in, Ingemar kicked out his back leg more than two stories above the hand-shaped transition. Peaking out at 8.5 meters, this air was unlike anything our sport had seen up to that point and it wouldn’t be bested for another five years.
Even today, 21 years after that lauded leap, Ingemar’s name is still synonymous with sending it. That air was make-it-or-break-it not only for Ingemar, but also for the assembled cinematographers and photographers. Appearing on every major magazine cover across the globe with that quintessential method, Ingemar made for good ink. As iconic as the still images are, footage of this feat is rather elusive. One Mack Dawg cameraman lost his job for missing the shot. Rumor has it he heard the roll of 16mm run out right when Backman reached the pivotal tranny. As Ingemar rose, the filmer’s heart sank. This plight is juxtaposed with the fate of a youthful Swedish auteur who had his Handycam at the ready when his friend Ingemar strapped in. His angle of Backman launching so high in the frame would open Mack Dawg’s upcoming offering, Stomping Grounds. The aspiring cameraman was Pierre Wikberg, who would go on to become a founder of Robot Food and direct the legendary DC Mountain Lab series.
Of course, Riksgränsen was hardly a fluke. Mack Dawg and Ingemar had already begun to aid each other’s freestyle reputation with the explosive closer in Meltdown Project, filmed just a year prior to “The Air.” Ingemar was elevating switch spins to a whole new level, all the while to the beat of The Dead Kennedys. One of his finest performances came in 1995’s mid-season release of Kingpin Productions’ Substance, complete with the highly illegal use of The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer.” Again, Backman stepped up his game with one of the most technically progressive freestyle parts ever. Appearing at the top of the podium twice at the Innsbruck Air & Style further justified Ingemar’s place in the upper echelon of professional snowboarding.