A year ago, Canada’s Dahria Beatty had eight World Cup starts to her name. Not too shabby considering she was 21, but now another year older, the Whitehorse, Yukon, native has more than doubled that amount with a grand total of 21 World Cup starts — one of which included her 15th-place breakthrough at the Ski Tour Canada classic sprint in Canmore, Alberta.
Beatty lives and trains in Canmore as a member of both the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and Canadian National U25 Team. She led the NorAm (Continental Cup) standings at the end of last season, reiterating her position as one of Canada’s top talents. Just under a month ago, she won the freestyle sprint prologue at U.S. nationals at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.
Then on Tuesday, on the same 1.3-kilometer sprint course at Soldier Hollow, Beatty notched a career-best individual result at her second U23 World Championships, placing 12th in the classic sprint. She started the day by qualifying in eighth, 3.85 seconds back from the fastest qualifier, Sweden’s Anna Dyvik, who rounded the course in 3:39.4 minutes.
“My qualifier was pretty solid. I skied well, I made one small tactical mistake on the last climb but the rest of the race went smoothly,” Beatty reflected in an email. “This is a really taxing course and by the finish shoot my legs were pretty exhausted … it was a fight to get across that line. I was happy to qualify 8th and to post another consistent qualifier. Overall my qualifying speed has improved this year which I am very happy with.”
She was one of three Canadian women to qualify in the top 30, with Jenn Jackson (Lappe Nordic/Team Hardwood) posting the 22nd-ranked time (+12.99) and Katherine Stewart-Jones (NTDC Thunder Bay/NST U25 Team) qualifying in 28th (+16.61).
Maya MacIsaac-Jones, Beatty’s teammate on the AWCA and national U25 Team, missed advancing to the heats in 32nd (+20.68), 3.7 seconds out of 30th.
All four of the U.S. women qualified, with Kelsey Phinney (Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation) leading them in sixth (+2.77), followed by Nichole Bathe (University of Alaska-Fairbanks) in 14th (+8.8), Jesse Knori (University of Colorado-Boulder) in 19th (+12.07), and Corey Stock (Bridger Ski Foundation) in 26th (+15.11).
Out of those seven North Americans, Beatty was the lone woman to advance to the semifinals, which had been her “base” goal to start the day. She finished third in her quarterfinal (the fifth and final quarterfinal) and advanced as a lucky loser with a fast-enough time.
“My quarterfinal was going well, but I had a stumble cresting the last hill and l lost contact with the top 2 women,” Beatty reflected in an email. “My heat was really fast and I was able to recover from the stumble and move onto the semis as lucky loser. When I finished I had a feeling it was a fast heat but you always have to wait and see.”
Norway’s Thea Krokan Murud won her quarterfinal in 3:35.2, which would hold up as the fastest time of the day until the final. Germany’s Pia Fink took second in that heat (+1.25) and Beatty was third (+2.45), ahead of Russia’s Yana Kirpichenko in fourth (+7.13) and Stewart-Jones in fifth (+12.63).
Without much time to recover before the second semifinal, Beatty explained that she was still pretty tired by the start of it. She ended up sixth in that semifinal, 8.04 seconds behind Murud, who won it in 3:37.42.
“Overall it was great to be in the semi finals and I learned a lot about tactics and where my weaknesses lie,” Beatty wrote. “I just didn’t have enough in the tank today to contend for the final but I am happy to have race my first international semi final and am looking forward to the 10k skate Thursday.”
With a previous U23 best result of 20th in the 2015 classic sprint in Almaty, Kazakhstan (and 15th in the 5 k classic at 2014 Junior Worlds the year before), 12th was Beatty’s best ever at a world championship.
“Racing well on the World Cup had definitely helped my confidence in myself and race knowledge. I feel I am right in the mix with these top women and on the perfect day I could be on that podium,” she wrote. “Going into today I had set base goal (I would be happy with the day if I achieved this) at making the semi finals. My target goal was making the final and my dream goal was being on the podium. My goals will stay pretty similar for the distance races. There are two more races and we’re at altitude so you never know what can happen.”
While Beatty reached the semifinals, the two other Canadians and four Americans were eliminated in the quarterfinals. Knori led three U.S. women in the top 20 overall, placing 15th on the day after finishing third in her heat, 7.18 seconds behind Norway’s Tiril Udnes Weng (who won that heat by 1.07 seconds over another Norwegian Lovise Heimdal).
Canada’s Jackson raced in that same quarterfinal and finished fifth (+8.72), behind Italy’s Caterina Ganz in fourth (+7.56), for 21st overall.
Both fourth in their quarterfinals, Phinney ended up 16th and Bathe 18th overall. Phinney finished 3.81 seconds behind Weng’s twin sister, Lotta Udnes Weng, in first. Bathe finished 7.14 seconds behind the winner of her quarterfinal, Germany’s Sofie Krehl.
Stock ended up 22nd after finishing fifth in Phinney’s quarterfinal, 10.08 seconds behind Lotta Weng. Also in that quarterfinal, Australia’s Casey Wright, of the University of Alaska Anchorage Ski Team, finished sixth (+12.37). Wright qualified in 25th and ultimately placed 29th overall.
Canada’s third woman, Stewart-Jones placed 24th after finishing fifth in the same quarterfinal as Beatty.
In the first quarterfinal, the Czech Republic’s Petra Hyncicova (Knori’s teammate at the University of Colorado-Boulder) finished fourth, 4.33 seconds behind Sweden’s Maja Dahlqvist in first. Hyncicova qualified in 21st and ended up 20th overall.
Dahlqvist and Murud won the first and second semifinals, respectively, then took a back seat to Dyvik — the qualifying winner who finished second in both her quarterfinal and semi — in the final. Dyvik took control early and avoided a crash near the back to win the final in 3:32.40, the fastest time of the day. She won by more than three seconds for her first U23 Worlds medal, after earning gold in the relay and bronze in the skiathlon at 2014 Junior Worlds.
Behind her, Murud claimed silver (+3.42), edging Dahlqvist, the second Swede on the podium in third (+3.76).
Norway’s Heimdal took fourth (+6.03), while Krehl and Lotta Weng, who fell, finished fifth (+33.34) and sixth (+1:13.17), respectively.
Junior Worlds racing continues on Wednesday with the 5/10 k freestyle individual starts.
- 1.3 k classic sprint
- 2017 U23 World Championships
- Anna Dyvik
- Canadian U25 Team
- Casey Wright
- Caterina Ganz
- Corey Stock
- Dahria Beatty
- Jenn Jackson
- Jesse Knori
- Katherine Stewart-Jones
- Kelsey Phinney
- Lotta Udnes Weng
- Lovise Heimdal
- Maja Dahlqvist
- Maya MacIsaac-Jones
- Nichole Bathe
- Petra Hyncicova
- Pia Fink
- Sofie Krehl
- Soldier Hollow
- Thea Krokan Murud
- Tiril Udnes Weng
- U23 World Championships classic sprint
- Yana Kirpichenko
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.