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

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Nelson to allow marijuana dispensaries to operate into new year

Medical cannabis dispensaries won’t be penalized for operating until their recreational applications are heard

Nelson Curling Club still suffering financially

The club posted a nearly $20,000 loss last year, announced at its AGM on Sunday

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

VIDEO: Monday Roundup

#hotscoops #hotscoops #hotscoops

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Most Read