Black Jack skier headed to U23 Worlds

Black Jack skier Colin Ferrie is headed to the U23 Cross Country Skiing World Championships in Almatey, Kazakhstan, Feb. 1-8.

Black Jack skier Colin Ferrie is headed to the U23 Cross Country Skiing World Championships in Almatey, Kazakhstan, Feb. 1-8.

Ferrie, a Kimberley native, qualified for the national U23 team after two incredible performances at the World Jr. and U23 trials at Highlands Nordic in Duntroon, Ont. earlier this month.  Ferrie finished first on the distance-ranking list with a second-place finish in the 15-kilometre skate and a third in the 30-km. skiathlon to qualify for the team.

Along with Ferrie, Black Jack skiers Scott Fraser, David Palmer and Julien Locke also competed at the event with all skiers qualifying for the heats.

Black Jack’s Palmer also came close to making the U23 team placing eighth overall in the 15-km. skate and third among U23 skiers, while, in the sprints, Locke finished sixth overall after a disappointing crash in the sprint final, and third in the U23 category.

From Ontario, the men then flew to Calgary to meet the rest of the Black Jack racers for the Western Canadian Championships. Thursday’s Haywood-NorAm race was held at Lake Louise, a stunning setting for the racers, skiing under blue-bird skies and towering peaks of the incomparable Rocky Mountain resort.

“To me this race felt like something different,” said Fraser in the Black Jack Racing Team blog. “First of all it was at Lake Louise, one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and second it was one loop of a 10-km course. Just like the old days! Lots of guys chose to double pole this course including Julien, but at the end of the day grip wax took the win. And a great day for Blackjack with all four of us in the top 13.”

Ferrie finished eighth overall while Palmer and Fraser were one second apart in 11th and 12th respectively, and Locke was six seconds behind Fraser in 13th.

On Friday, the venue switched to Canmore where Black Jack skier Remi Drolet finished first in the Juvenile Boys 5-K classic, while Michaela McLean skied to a fourth-place finish in the Juvenile Girls 5 K. classic.  Daniel Merlo placed 15th in the Junior Boys 5 K.

On Day 3, Locke blasted to top spot in the U23 individual sprint-free technique, and second overall behind Alberta skier and national development team member Michael Somppi, and beating out Whitehorse’s Knute Johnsgaard who was also selected to the U23 national team. Merlo also had a good result placing eighth in the Junior Boys sprint.

On the final day of racing, Palmer skied to his best result, a fourth place finish, and Ferrie right behind him in fifth overall in the 20-km. skate, following another win by Somppi, with Scott Perras from Saskatchewan in second, and Kevin Sandau, also a national development team member in third. Drolet had a solid race placing third in the 6.6 k free mass start just 11 seconds back of winner Connor McGovern of Red River Nordic.