Pembertons Logan Pehota, one of four skiers to represent Whistler in the second annual Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search finals at Keystone, Colorado, made it through 10 tests to qualify for the 2005 SI Kids Next Snow Team. Only 25 participants, representing boys and girls, skiers and boarders, and different age groups, were named to the team.
Pehota was one of three nine-year-old boys to make the team, with a combined score of 746 out of a possible 1,000 in 10 categories moguls, carving, two slopestyles, two halfpipes, two big mountain, one race and one big air.
His overall score was also marked down considerably after he missed a gate in the second run of the giant slalom, receiving just one point for the event. He had one of the top times before he missed the gate, and his father Eric Pehota believes he would have scored in the high 80s if he finished the run.
If he had only matched his other lowest score of 71 in the giant slalom, that would have been good enough to finish with 813 points, which would have been good enough for fifth overall in a contest where the kids were as old as 13. Logans other scores were 88 and 84 in big mountain, 84 and 85 in the slopestyle, 82 in the big air, 83 in moguls, 81 in carving, and 71 and 83 in halfpipe.
"It was pretty intense," said Eric, who is one of the most accomplished big mountain skiers in the world.
"The jumps were really big down there and safety was an issue for me. Logan was only nine, so I helped him where I could, we talked about what tricks he should do, and I helped him to pick his run in the (big mountain) freeskiing event. Most events I just let him go, and he did fine.
"He threw a seven (720 spin), some fives (540s), some tucked 360s. It was really good, he did really well, and best of all hes even got four years of eligibility left for this event. And I know he had fun skiing with all the other kids, so hes going to want to go back."
Pehota, who turned 10 this week, says he wants to qualify again next year with a goal of finishing in the top 10. He wasnt nervous for any of the events, but he said there was definitely a competitive atmosphere.
"It was really exciting. It felt like I was competing, there were lots of people who were watching it, and everything was closed off for the competition," he said.
He was disappointed when he went off course in the giant slalom, but happy everything else went well.
"I just couldnt remember where the gate was, it was over a roller and I went over the wrong way and missed it. I wasnt the only one that did that. I really want to make the team again, and to try to be in the top-10 of people," he said.
Whistlers other entries were Simon Louwe and Keltie Hicks from the Lower Mainland, both members of the Blackcomb Freestyle Club, Bryan Bowles and Brin Alexander from the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, and Whistlers Garrett Milan.
Milan, 13, finished 33 rd overall, the highest rank for any of the Whistler representatives, with strong marks in the moguls, big air, race and slopestyle events.
Simon Louwe, 12, was 38 th overall out of more than 150 skiers and boarders with 746 points. His top scores were 81 in the big mountain and 86 in the race.
Bryan Bowles, 13, finished with a 595, also going off course in the race category. His best result was a 76 in the first slopestyle.
Whistlers Brin Alexander, 10, another Whistler Valley Snowboard Club rider, didnt qualify in the Whistler event, and only competed on the first of three days. His best result was an 84 in the moguls. He did each event on both his skis and snowboard, one of only four kids in the event to do both.
Alexander says he is looking forward to the Next Snow Search Qualifier in Whistler next winter, where he hopes to win the right to represent Whistler at the Snow Search finals. His plan is to "keep working harder, and train a lot," between now and then. Alexander will also be joining the WVSC team heading to the B.C. Snowboard Championships next weekend.
Keltie Hicks, 13, also didnt qualify a spot but went down to Colorado anyway as one of the top female freestyle skiers in the province. She earned a score of 84 in the moguls, as well as scores of 73 in the halfpipe and slopestyle.
The top skier in the contest was 12-year-old Duncan Adams of Killington, Vermont with a score of 864 points. He was followed by 13-year-old Parker White of Mount Snow Vermont and 10-year-old Thomas Walsh of Vail, Colorado.
For more information on the contest, visit www.nextsnow.com.