Competing in his one and only BC Winter Games is special for Fred Albrechtson.
In cross-country skiing, athletes are only eligible to compete once in the Games due to age restrictions. The 13-year-old Pentictonite will hit the cross country track on his home turf at the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre as Penticton hosts the Games Feb. 25-28.
Fred made it his goal to qualify for the Games since joining the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre three years ago after wanting a change from being a mogul skier. His mother Jenny is excited about what her son has accomplished, especially because she competed in the Games in Nelson in 1989 as an alpine skier.
“I just remember it being so much fun,” she said. “For me it was all about the social aspect. Being around all the other teammates. We could walk to other venues and watch other friends compete. It was a good goal for my son to have to qualify for cross country skiing.”
She has seen her son put in the work to get better. While Fred didn’t perform as well as he would have liked in his qualifier in Revelstoke, placing sixth, he’s striving for a top-five finish.
“I think I can do that. That would be amazing to do better than top 5,” he said.
Since joining Nickel Plate, Fred said he’s learned a lot from coach Jerome Jang. He said skiing at Nickel Plate with the high altitude has provided great training. Jang has also noticed his efforts.
“He will do well,” said Jang. “He’s pretty serious about skiing in cross country racing. He’s wanting to both get the experience and to further his racing.”
Jang said Fred is good to coach and brings energy.
“I’d like him to first of all have a great experience and to maybe move up a bit against his fellow competitors,” said Jang. “Improve his placing.”
Fred feels he has an advantage knowing where the trails are and where he can go hard. He also looks forward to seeing how he measures up against other skiers.
“It’s the top skiers in B.C.,” he said. “I want to see how I do against them.”