Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Skier's body recovered off mountain

The body of acclaimed freeskier Arne Backstrom has been recovered from a Peruvian mountain
The body of acclaimed freeskier Arne Backstrom has been recovered from a Peruvian mountain

The body of acclaimed US freeskier Arne Backstrom has been brought down off Peru's Pisco mountain two days after he died in a high-altitude fall.

Recovering Backstrom's body from the remote peak in the Cordillera Blanca range was delayed by a day because rescuers first had to remove a local guide who broke his leg in the operation, Peruvian police officer Tavel Arellano said.

The 29-year-old Backstrom, winner at this year's Canadian Freeskiing Championship, died on a clear sunny day.

Mr Arellano estimated Backstrom had fallen more than 1,300 feet and said that the skier probably died immediately.

He was with two other skiers, who were not injured.

Mr Arrellano said Backstrom's death was the first this year in the Cordilla Blanca, Peru's highest mountain chain.

Climbers die there yearly in avalanches or falls, but skiers rarely are victims, he said. None of the six people who died in the cordillera last year were skiing.

The skier's father, Steve Backstrom, said on Sunday that he was told his son hit an icy patch and skidded off into the crevice.

Backstrom earlier said that he was "naturally sad" about the accident, but added his son "had 29 pretty awesome years and a very quick ending".

Clem Smith, who described himself as a close friend, said Backstrom was in Peru to film a ski movie for a Colorado-based production company. He had earlier been featured in the ski film Off the Grid.

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