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Pehota posts win in FWT opener

Pemberton freeskier scores jaw-dropping 98.00 at Kicking Horse

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According to the judges, Logan Pehota pulled off one of the Freeride World Tour's ultimate runs in its history at the first competition of the season at Kicking Horse Resort on Feb. 5.

But the 22-year-old Pemberton product wasn't so sure of its quality when he landed.

"It's a pretty crazy score. They were definitely scoring pretty high today, I was surprised," he said. "I thought my run wasn't that good. I hit a bunch of rocks and after I did the big air, I was pretty loose.

"I didn't think I was going to be on the podium, to be completely honest."

But Pehota, who combines creative line choices, impressive tricks and a devil-may-care flair did plenty right, hitting a 360 shortly after drop-in and then another off a massive drop to take the win. A number of competitors before Pehota sniffed the latter jump, but opted against it. His willingness to try — and succeed — paid off in spades.

"That line was my plan since Day 1. I did have a backup, but when I saw how high the scores were, I knew I had to come out, do a trick and go big. It checks both those boxes," he said.

Italy's Markus Eder took second while Russia's Ivan Malakhov was third.

Pehota, whose other win came in Haines, Alaska in 2016, was thrilled to earn the win at his first-ever FWT competition on home snow.

"It's the dream, winning at home," he said. "That was my plan, but it's the dream. I'm kind of speechless. Everybody was here cheering for me and I just wanted to make them proud."

Pehota's familiarity with Kicking Horse didn't hurt either, as the conditions were along the lines of what he'd experienced at the resort near Golden.

"I knew what was going to be under the snow, that it was going to be a little hollow and rocky. I had to stay light on my feet, so that's what I tried to do. Luckily, I didn't get taken out by any sharks," he said. "I almost did on one of my earlier airs, but I managed to catch a little wind on that one and fade it."

Pehota didn't get much of a chance to savour his Monday win as he almost immediately went scouting another face for the next day's competition to make up for the tour stop in Hakuba, Japan, that was postponed because of uncooperative conditions.

"I'm pretty beat. It's been a big day," he said. "I'm just trying to rest up."

In the second competition, Pehota placed fourth with a score of 85.00 as Russia's Malakhov took the win with a 91.67. Switzerland's Yann Rausis and Sweden's Kristofor Turdell rounded out the podium.

The immediate win and second strong result is a boost for Pehota, who finished second overall in his rookie season of 2016 before suffering a dip in consistency last season. And he hasn't had as much time on snow as previous years, as he spent the fall studying electrical trades at Victoria's Camosun College, where he had the chance to do more surfing than skiing.

But the change of pace has certainly worked out fine to start.

"I'm already in contention for the title if I keep doing well," he said. "It's a great way to start off the season."

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