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Backcountry Skiing for Beginners: There’s Always a Next Time

Tips from one of Canada's most legendary skiers

Backcountry skiing is one of the fastest growing winter sports in Canada. Last weekend, dozens of skiers visited popular mountains in the Rockies where, in the past, there would’ve only been a few skiers.

Eric Pehota is best known as a Canadian ski legend with over 40 first descents. After having a family, he said that fatherhood became a responsibility to share wisdom, ethics, experiences, and good times in the mountains with his two sons, Eric and Dalton.

One of the bits of wisdom that Eric wanted his sons to know was that there’s always a next time. Here’s what Eric has to say:

There’s Always a Next Time

I always pushed it when it was time to push it. But I remember the first time we set out to ski the east face of Tantalus, the elements didn’t line up. Though we poured a lot of time and resources into the objective, the timing wasn’t right. In mountain environments, timing is everything.

There is no shame in walking away and coming back another day. We all enter high adrenaline situations but we need to control our egos. Listen to your gut, look around, analyze conditions, and use your head, because common sense can save your life.

That being said, when the elements do align, it’s important to trust your backcountry partner’s abilities and judgement. For example, Logan’s unique approach to skiing lines allows him to see things that I would have never thought about. He’s always one step ahead. I remember one time we we’re out jumping the sleds and I was eying up a 40 foot line… Of course he turns it into a 60.