Athlete profile: Sawyer Kesselheim

“I was born in Bozeman and have lived here my entire life,” Sawyer Kesselheim said. He is a nordic skier for the Montana State Ski team, and although he has lived in Bozeman his entire life, he didn’t start skiing until recently. In fact, Kesselheim was mainly a cross country runner until his sophomore year in high school. He got injured in cross country and decided to make the switch. “I grew up outside skiing but not skate skiing,” Kesselheim said. “I started racing seriously for Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) my sophomore year in high school.”

Kesselheim picked Montana State as the school of his choice because of the in-state tuition and the closeness to his family. “My family lives here; it has a ski team, and it is an amazing place to live.” Kesselheim also fits in with the ski team perfectly. “I love being on a team that pushes and supports each other. I enjoy being fit and pushing myself to be the fastest that I can be. Nordic skiing allows me to be in the mountains and do these things I like to do.”

Besides skiing, Kesselheim enjoys many other outdoor activities. “I really enjoy mountain biking, paddling and backcountry skiing. This last summer I went on a 41 day river trip with my sister, cousin and friend in northern Canada.” He credits his family to being the most influential people in his life. “The most inspirational people in my life are definitely my parents.”

Kesselheim is currently a junior in university studies. He is unsure of his long term future, but knows he would like to continue skiing his senior year. “I’m not sure what I’ll do when I graduate. I have one more year of eligibility with the ski team, so I will stick around for that. Depending on how next year goes I may try to continue racing but as of now I am unsure.”

The nordic ski team competes in 20k classic mass starts and 10k skate individual starts. Their next competition is scheduled to take place in Anchorage, Alaska on Feb. 23. “I would like to see the men’s team get three skiers in the top ten, and as a combined team, I would like to have us on the podium.”