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The Swatch Skiers Cup, a big-mountain and backcountry slopestyle competition, is scheduled to kick off tomorrow in Zermatt, Switzerland. The youngest skier in that event (by five years) is 20-year-old Logan Pehota, the son of big-mountain skiing legend Eric Pehota. On the eve of the event, we sat down with Logan (fresh from the spa and still in his robe) to get to know the Pemberton, British Columbia native.
How do you feel about being part of the Skiers Cup?
I didn’t know about the event until last year, but it’s really cool being here. We’re being treated like rock stars. We’re staying at a crazy hotel with a full-on spa. I’ve never been to a spa before, and I’ve gone every day. This is my first big trip to Europe, and I’m just soaking it all in before I have to leave.
Seems natural that you’ve followed in your Dad’s footsteps. Was that the plan all along?
I’d like to say I grew up like any normal kid, but, because of my dad, I’m a product of my environment. I was too young to remember when my dad was filming movies, but there was a Warren Miller movie with my dad in it that used to play over and over in the Whistler lodge when I was older.
Was he the one that taught you to ski?
I was in ski school as a kid, then I raced until I was 17. But when it snowed I would go skiing with my dad and my brother. Every time we’d go out there was a lesson about avalanches and my dad taught me what looks good in the air. I used to stick my poles out to the sides when I’d go off cliffs and he told me not to do that.
Why’d you transition from racing to freeskiing?
I quit racing because I wasn’t good enough. And I didn’t like it. But it’s a good background to have. You can tell who grew up racing (and knows how to lay down a turn) and who didn’t.
How’d you learn the tricks?
When I was racing I was hitting all the jumps I could and learned how to do different tricks then. While I was still racing, there were big contests put on by Sports Illustrated in Keystone, Killington, and several other places, and I started going to them.
Any favorite tricks?
Yeah, I’ll do switch rodeo fives, grabs, and flat- and cork-threes tomorrow during the event.
What’s it like being here among some of the world’s best freeskiers?
All the skiers are all-around good people. I didn’t know many of the European guys, and they’re super nice. And skiing with them is great. It makes you wish you had guys like this to ski with every day. The first day we were here was bluebird, and we shredded the whole mountain. It was one of the best days of my life.
(Photos from top: Eric Pehota, Gordy Megroz)