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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: June 28, 6:21 PM ET
Skiing switch at 80 miles per hour


Oh, you skiers and your records. Anders Backe set the Guinness World Record for fastest backward skiing downhill earlier this year, reaching 79.97 miles per hour on his twin tips in Vikersund, Norway, his hometown. "It was super fast," Backe said of his backward bomb. "I could barely hang on to my skis."

Skiing backward at almost 80 miles an hour seems wacky enough to be made up. It is. But so is every record, right? Before Guinness minted the backward skiing record for Backe, they made a record for driving in reverse for racecar driver Darren Manning. There are also records for distance driven in reverse, greatest distance driven in reverse on snow in 30 seconds, and my personal favorite, fastest backward running 4 by 100 relay.

In the skiing world, the obscurity of Backe's record still takes a backseat to the record for most hits in a competition halfpipe run (21), held by Massachusetts native Henrik Lampert.

A slopestyle skier by trade, Backe's garb and equipment were more in line with his primary occupation as he set his new record. He set the record on a pair of 181-centimeter twin tips, wearing an outfit that, while tight by freestyler standards, is nowhere close to as butthugging as the body condom worn by Simone Origone when he set the forward-moving speed skiing record in Les Arcs in 2006. Imagine somebody skiing backward in that.

With a world record for the taking, you just might. Pro skiers Pep Fujas and Chris Turpin have already played around with skiing on backward-mounted race skis, although they did it with carving in mind, not reaching breakneck speeds. Capitalizing on the already demonstrated ability to mount any ski in any orientation, some ambitious fellow with a Lycra leotard and a pair of retrofitted 210s might further resolve the limits of backward skiing downhill very soon.