Logan Pehota has spent much of this winter riding snowmobiles and jumping trains, but he proved he could still hold his own in Freeride World Tour competition on Feb. 5.
In the competition at Golden's Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, which he entered as a wild card, the 23-year-old Pembertonian took a third-place finish with a score of 91.00 behind New Zealand's Craig Murray (93.00) and Italy's Markus Eder (92.00).
"Today, I would have been happy with any place but coming in third is definitely a bonus. It feels good because lots of people think I've been snowmobiling more than I'm skiing, but I've still got what it takes on skis," he said. "My main goal today was to not get hurt so I get to focus on the rest of the season."
There were lower-snow conditions than when Pehota won the event last year.
"There were lots of rocks and sharks out there, so I was just trying to play it a bit safe," he said. "It was the same face as last year, so I definitely had an idea about how short and how fast everything comes up. The low tide and the low snowpack definitely plays a big role in your lines.
"There were a lot of things that people were doing last year that you couldn't even get close to doing this year."
Pehota busted out some tricks during his run, helping to boost his score and create some separation between himself and a field where the 10th-place score was a respectable 74.33.
"I did 360s in both directions, which I've never done in a competition. I hit a decent-sized cliff at the bottom of my run—nothing quite like last year, when I was definitely going for the top of the podium," he said. "For sure, if I was trying to do the same thing this year, I probably would have hit the same place as last year."
However, since he was just making a cameo on the tour this time instead of vying for the overall crown, Pehota felt less pressure to dazzle. It also helped that having a Canadian event on tour was no longer unprecedented.
"For me, coming in this year, there was a lot less stress and pressure. Last year was the first year the tour had ever been in Canada and I had a lot of friends and a lot of people that I wanted to make proud," he said. "I really, really wanted it last year.
"This year, with the wild-card spot, I didn't really have to worry about the rest of the tour or the overall points. I was coming in having already won it once, so people know I have what it takes."
While it felt nice to make it back onto the podium, Pehota said, he doesn't have any immediate plans to return to the tour fulltime.
"I have a different goal this year. I'm focused more on filming and shredding for myself, so I'm not going to change any of my plans," he said. "I'm still young. I've still got lots of time.
Also in action were Whistler Freeride Club alums Liam and Tom Peiffer, who were eighth and 18th, respectively.
Full results are available online at www.freerideworldtour.com.