Kye Petersen loves to surf and skateboard and fish. But he gets paid to ski, and man does he do it well.
“In my mind, Kye Petersen is pretty much the best skier in the world right now,” says fellow big-mountain skier Tanner Hall. That’s a pretty glowing peer review.
A new video produced and edited by Sherpa Cinemas and sponsored by Teva, “This Is Kye Petersen,” looks into the world of big mountain freeskiing, deep powder and nasty falls. The 24-year-old shares what inspires and influences his skiing, as well as the pressure he feels to perform and progress.
We got in touch with Kye to ask a few more questions about his days on really steep mountains. —Sean McCoy
GearJunkie: The intro shows you doing all kinds of stuff in the outdoors. What is your favorite outdoor sport other than skiing?
Growing up it’s always been skateboarding but also surfing and climbing. I think all of them are so different and I couldn’t pick just one sport. It’s the combo I like.
Tanner Hall says “Kye Petersen is pretty much the best skier in the world right now?” What does that mean to you?
Yeah, I don’t know about that. I know I can hang right with the best in the world and I like to push the sport and be innovative and progressive. I think I’m pretty well rounded in all aspects of freeride and big mountain riding. There are so many good skiers out there though.
Who do you think is the best skier in the world other than yourself?
Well that’s a hard one because there are so many. Obviously Tanner is on his game and back charging, also Eric Hjorleifson, Jp Auclair, Callum and Sean Pettit, Dane Tudar, Pep Fujas. That’s just a few. There’s so many more that I love watching shred.
You say “traveling gets you certain life lessons you can’t get from staying in the same place.” What is your favorite travel memory or biggest lesson learned while traveling?
Traveling just gives you experiences you wouldn’t otherwise have at home or from staying home. It’s about learning from experience and being able to adapt. It’s like street smarts but world smarts. I think my first trip I went to Europe I learned a lot or just moving to Maui with my mom when I was young. We didn’t have much and my mom was a single parent with two kids so I learned a lot going places on my own and traveling with older friends.
You take some horrible looking falls in the video. Do you ever scare yourself on the mountain? What does it take for you to say, “no, this is too dangerous.”
It doesn’t take much. Just the right feeling, if the slightest thing looks wrong or your instinct isn’t feeling it, I say no. I say no slot. It’s usually when snow, weather and everything comes together so bomber that I can push it fully and sometimes I crash. Two years ago I crashed a lot but I try to be fairly consistent, just when you’re trying to push it there are times it doesn’t work out.
What advice would you give the 10 year-old Kye Petersen?
Not much because at that time I was just enjoying it like a ten year old kid should. Skating, skiing and playing around having fun. That’s important at a young age and that’s what got me where I am so early. At the same time I took everything I did pretty seriously but that’s also the drive that got me here.
What is one piece of gear that you never head into the mountains without?
Ski straps. You can use them for anything. Or, obviously, a headlamp and Leatherman but there’s usually some special treats. It changes daily.
What are your goals for the coming year?
My goals are just to keep progressing. I’d like to land a couple new tricks in the backcountry and explore some big terrain near my home in Pemberton, BC via sled and ski touring. I’ve got a few multi-day peak objectives that are weather dependent I’d like to get too out here on the coast. I’ll also finally make it back out to Cham to ski on some steeps in the spring.