Black Jack skier Julien Locke was named to the National Ski Team last week after a successful cross-country ski racing season that included a trip to the U23 World Ski championships in Romania.

Black Jack skier named to National Ski Team

Nelson native Julien Locke will ski for Canada in the 2016-17 season, after being named to the National Ski Team last week.

Cross Country Ski Canada named Black Jack skier Julien Locke to the National Ski Team (NST) on Tuesday.

Locke joins a high-powered group of athletes led by Alex Harvey who won two medals on the World Cup Tour last season.

“I’m very pleased,” said Locke. “Being a member of the senior national team has been a goal since I was seven, so it’s been a long-term thing to get on the team, and it’s pretty satisfying to be on it now.”

The Nelson native wrapped up a stellar season last month, winning bronze in the Men’s Open sprint at the Canadian Ski championship in Whitehorse, finishing just behind NST members Harvey and Len Valjas. The 22-year-old Locke also won the overall NorAm Buff Sprint Series championship, and was fourth behind Black Jack’s David Palmer, who won the National Championships U23 Men’s aggregate award. Locke’s season included qualifying for the U23 World Cup in Romania, where he was the top-Canadian in 16th spot, and podium finishes in every major sprint race on the NorAm circuit, including gold at the Canadian Junior and U23 Trials in Thunder Bay, and a bronze medal in Men’s Open sprint at the U.S. Ski Championships.

“I was pretty optimistic,” said Locke. “The season went quite well, but you never know what’s going to happen. So we had to just wait and see.”

Black Jack ski coach David Wood was hopeful for Locke making the national team, but he wasn’t certain until the selection committee released the names.

“The season certainly indicated that he should be selected,” said Wood. “Right now, the main advantage for him is the opportunity for international racing.”

Locke has raced with the Black Jack Ski team for nine years and has been under the tutelage of former NST coach Wood since 2010. The relationship has forged a steady stream of success culminating in the past year’s triumphs.

“He’s strong enough now so that he’s solid all year long,” said Wood. “In the past, let’s say against the best in the country, he’d have good days, but they weren’t all the time, and this past season every time out he won all the time in Canada except when Alex was there. I think his level has just increased and increased and now he’s at a level you notice it all the time.”

A major goal for Locke is to set his sights on the World Championship in Lahti, Finland in February, but as part of the NST up-and-coming U25 team, Locke will spend the winter racing World Cups, international development level races, and Haywood NorAms in Canada; however, the race schedule has yet to be hammered out.

“Were still deciding what the primary objective of the season is going to be,” said Locke. “For sure I want to race on the World Cup a bit, and I’ve been told that is going to be an option in the winter. There’s a few different opportunities but we’re still looking at which ones to target.”

The coming season is a big one for winter athletes, not only is there early season World Cup races and the World Championships, but pre-Olympic qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

“Were still kind of planning and looking at how it’s going to work,” said Locke. “But I’m still going to work with my coach Dave and keep working together because I think the things we’ve been doing have been working really well. But I’ll be spending a lot more time in Canmore.”

Locke joins the NST at its home base in Canmore in the upcoming weeks to begin training with the national team.

Rossland’s George Grey was the last Black Jack skier to crack the NST and made his World Cup debut in 2001.

 

Just Posted

Participation by women in West Kootenay/Boundary elections up slightly

More running than in 2014, but about same number as 2011

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

High hazard in downtown Trail

Roofing work began early Monday morning at the Trail Memorial Centre

Second hospital road part of plan, says Trail mayor

Martin was in Whistler last week for the UBCM; city delegation met with health ministry

Syringa Creek fire ‘being held’

The fire has burned 3193 hectares; Deer Creek fire is also “being held” at 3849 hectares

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

New political party holds an informational session in Vernon

Maxime Bernier’s The People’s Party of Canada draws about 2o interested patrons to Vernon pub.

B.C. MLAs reminded of rural school struggles

Finance committee hears of falling enrolment, staff shortages

B.C. VIEWS: ’Not photo radar’ coming soon to high-crash areas

ICBC deficit now largely due to reckless and distracted driving

Researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada

Information will be used to learn more about where white sharks move in Canadian waters

Most Read