News & Stories

U18 Worlds with Ketterson

Zak Ketterson gives us a recap of his races at the U18 World Championships in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden:

“The first race was a classic sprint on February 6th a relatively hilly course that weaved through the woods for about 1.4 km. I ended up qualifying 13th. I had no FIS Points, so was seeded at the back of the group for qualifying. The heats were about an hour after the qualifier and I found myself in a bit of a dilemma at the starting line. As I looked around, I came to realize that I was the only one on classic skis. All the other boys had skate boots and skate skis on and planned to double pole the entire race. I struggled to keep up with them in my heat, as I found it very difficult to maintain the same speed as them with a thick layer of klister on my skis. In hindsight, double poking would have been a lot faster. This race showed me that double poling is the future of classic skiing, especially sprinting.

Next, was the 10km skate individual start. The start list was in order of worst to best FIS points. I was the third boy to start; the higher seeded boys would be starting nearly an hour and a half later. I had a very good race regardless, ending up in 6th place when it was all said and done. Places 1 through 5 were all Norwegian boys. This was a pretty eye opening race, as I was 51 seconds back from the boys winner, Vebjorn Hegdahl. It definitely would have been nice to start around the top guys; the Norwegians caught each other and skied basically the entire race together.

My 3x5km relay team consisted of Kamran Husain,Max Donaldson, and me. Kamran skied the first leg, which was classic, followed by Max and I both skating. Apparently we didn’t learn anything from the classic sprint race, because the Norwegian boys all double poled the entire 5km course for the first leg. It was a hilly course, too. We definitely underestimated how effective the Norwegian boys are at double poling. Kamran struggled to stay with the surging double polers and handed off to Max in 6th place. Max held his ground and skied a very fast 5km before handing it off to me. I ended up passing two teams and finishing in 4th overall. ”

Zak was the second fastest in his leg of the 5km relay,finishing only 8 seconds off Vebjørn Hegdal of Norway. His next races will be in Nové Město, Czech Republic on Saturday and Sunday.