Black Jack skier Julien Locke raced to the top-20 at the FIS Cross-Country Skiing World Cup in Quebec City last week.
Locke, a Nelson native, finished 20th overall in the 1.5-kilometre Skate Sprint, and was the fourth fastest Canadian in what is one of the best showings for Canada on the World Cup circuit this year with five Canadian men qualifying for the round of 30 in the six-man heats.
“It was an incredible event,” said Locke in an email. “As the culmination of the World Cup series, all of the best skiers in the world were there and the Quebec fans were out in numbers – 14,000 spectators.”
Canada’s Alex Harvey won gold, while Jesse Cockney finished 10th and Len Valjas just ahead of Locke in 19th place. Harvey, Cockney, and Valjas are all on Canada’s World Cup Team, but for Locke, a member of the development team, the result against the world-class field was a highlight this season.
“It was my second World Cup event after Korea,” added Locke. “My focus was fully on the sprint on Friday and I had my best performance to date with a 20th place finish in the skate sprint final.”
Locke also competed in the World Cup race in PyeongChang, Korea, in early February, where he placed 36th.
For Harvey, it was the 23rd World Cup medal and seventh victory, in his unprecedented nine-year career. He also has five World Championship medals including two victories.
“The World Championships is a bigger event, but to win at home like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Harvey, who also won the silver medal last year in the Quebec City sprint race. “I came close last year, but I’m just so happy I was able to do it today. You always need a little bit of luck in sprint racing and I was lucky today. The hometown crowd was awesome. It was amazing today.”
It has been a storybook season for the three-time Olympian Harvey, who sits third in the Overall World Cup standings with just two races to go.
Haagen Krogh of Finland finished second in the race, and France’s Richard Jouve won bronze.
Strong results for Black Jack skiers at Nationals:
The Black Jack ski team is going strong at the National Cross-Country Ski Championship in Canmore this week.
On Tuesday, senior men’s skier David Palmer skied to a third place finish in the Interval start-Classic, and Daniel Merlo raced to fourth place in Junior Men. Juvenile Girls skier Jasmine Drolet just missed the podium with a fourth place finish in the Interval Start-Classic and fifth place result in the free technique.
Rossland’s Sage Robine raced to seventh in the Classic in Jr. Women, while Chiaki Yamamoto placed 10th.