It’s early in the season, but Penticton cross country skier Fred Albrechtson is already tearing up the trails on the competitive circuit.
The Grade 11 student at Penticton Secondary School, who is also a winning runner in the off-season, recently became one of the few, if not the only, skier from Nickel Plate Nordic Centre to podium at the Zone 4 Haywood NorAm U.S. Super Tour event at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in Vernon.
On the first day in the mass start event he turned in a fifth place showing in the two-lap race finishing with a time of 13 minutes, 36.9 seconds — just over 37 seconds behind the eventual winner.
It was in his second event of the weekend where he really shined. In the junior boys 2 X 5 kilometre race he earned a second place finish in a time of 30:17.9 just over 19 seconds behind winner Cole Turner of Telemark Nordic Centre in West Kelowna.
Albrechtson turned in a time of 14:52.7 in the first lap and 15:24.9 in the second, almost a full minute faster than the third place finisher, Erik Schlyter of Ontario.
Although he is only 16, he competed in the Haywood NorAm World Junior U23 trials, held in Canmore, Alta. recently.
He competed in three races there, finishing in 21st in sprints, 18th in the interval freestyle and 12th in the 30 km all U20.
“I’ve been supporting him at races for the past couple and years and this year he’s looking like he’s in pretty good shape,” said Matt Smider, of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club, who helps with Albrechtson’s coaching. “He’s a hard worker. He does a lot of his training on his own so very self-motivated, very disciplined. It is pretty impressive for someone of that age to have that much drive.
“I think if Fred continues, given his work ethic, and given his success so far I think he has a very bright future in the sport of skiing he certainly can achieve what he sets out to.”
Albrechtson trains three to four times a week at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre under coach Chris Garwah and is the only skier at the club racing at his current level.
Depending on snow conditions his next event could be a Canada Games qualifier Dec. 29 and 30 in Prince George and if not, it will be an Okanagan Cup event hosted by Nickel Plate, Jan. 5 and 6.