At first pass, it’s striking how well backcountry freeskier Kye Petersen balances confidence with humility. It’s a quality honed through years of purposeful independence and time spent in unforgiving conditions where humans are less than welcome, be it the mountains of BC or the unpredictable landscape of Chamonix. When you hear talk of how Petersen skied the same lines that killed his ski-mountaineer father, you almost want to believe that he’s a little crazy. But crazy has nothing to do with it.
Whether he’s carving big mountain lines or launching himself off a cliff, Petersen was born to ski. He’s been touted as one of the leaders of the modern freeski movement, picking up his first sponsors at just 13 years old and going on to star in more than 15 ski films while traveling the world climbing and flying down snow-capped peaks. “It’s been a blessing growing up in the industry,” he told Teva, referring to the ski community that raised him after his father’s passing. “I got to do and see a lot of things that otherwise I wouldn’t have. I was lucky to grow up in Whistler, where it’s the equivalent of the North Shore of Hawaii, but for skiing and snowboarding.”
Now 24, he’s as dedicated to—and enamoured with—skiing as ever. But upbringing and natural athleticism aside, Petersen’s success is most likely due to the fact that he’s almost obsessively hard on himself: “I’m letting go a bit more now, and having more patience,” he explains. “But I always put pressure on myself because it does help me progress and I just care a lot about what I’m doing. I can’t help but to always want more and more.”
“This is Kye Petersen” is an honest look into the world of Petersen from Teva and Sherpas Cinema, as the athlete shares what inspires and influences his skiing, as well as the self-inflicted pressure he feels to perform and progress. Set against the backdrop of some of the most mindblowing scenery in BC, it’s a look at an athlete as revered for his attitude about life as he is for his dedication to the sport. “I try to live every day to the fullest but plan like I’ll live forever,” says Petersen. “I don’t want to miss out on anything, so I have a hard time standing still for too long.”
So where to next?
“I’ll see where the snow takes me.”
Kye Petersen is a Teva athlete. This article reblogged from Teva’s Ember. Here’s Petersen in the acclaimed Into the Mind, Bella Coola segment: