Dreams turn into reality for Nelson Nordic, Black Jack skier Julien Locke
It seems like only yesterday Julian Locke was burning up the snow on Kootenay Cup Race trails in Nelson, Rossland and Kimberley.
Recently, the Nelson native saw those dreams at a younger time in his life competing for Canada etched in stone after he was selected to the Men’s National Cross Country Ski Team.
“It was a long April wondering how the National Ski Team (NST) selection would go (but) I had a good feeling that I had done enough this past winter to make the team . . . but you never know what’s going to happen,” Locke said after the selection was announced.
“For me, this has been a goal since I was seven years old,” he added. “I’m very pleased to be named to the team.”
Locke, 22, got his start in skiing at the Nelson Nordic Ski Club with his twin brother Peter.
However, after a handful of season skiing for Nelson, he decided to join the more competitive Black Jack club in Rossland at the age of 14 years.
At the time Rossland ran a higher calibre team so it was believed the move would bolster his career.
The Blackjack coach also had former Canadian national team coach Dave Wood on staff.
This season all that training and dedication paid off in spades as Locke was a force on the cross country circuit, scoring wins at Thunder Bay, Nakkertok as well as a silver at the Gatineau Loppet and a pair of bronze finishes at the Canadian and US Nationals.
“I had a really solid training season this past year and came into good form from January onwards,” Locke said.
“In every sprint race this winter I knew that I could fight at the front.”
Locke entered the past season with a few goals set out — a top six U23 World Championships; win the NorAm Sprint Series and qualify for the National Ski Team.
However, he realized to achieve the NST selection, success on the international stage was a must.
With that in mind, the U23 World Championships was high on the priority list.
“Overall, I’m happy to have been able to meet two of my main goals, and be close to reaching the third,” he said.
After successfully garnering a spot on the National Team, Locke plans to be spending more time in Canmore (Alberta) with the squad than in past years.
However, he doesn’t want to change things up too much, realizing what’s got him this far has been work with current coach Dave Wood.
“(Dave) has been my coach for six years now and we’ve been fine-tuning and tweaking the training program continuously to develop a system that works for me,” Locke explains.
“Every athlete is different and it takes a while to figure out how each individual reacts to different types of training.
“One of the big concerns of me with moving to the NST is that I don’t want to jump ship from the things that we know make a difference for me, for instance: altitude training, lots of volume (hours), controlled intensive work and specific day to day periodization.”
Having said that, Locke is poised to take advantage of the benefits of the National Team program, ie, access to support specialists such in the areas of nutrition, psychology, physiology, strength training and physical therapy.
“I’m excited to incorporate new ideas into the preparation while keeping with the tried-and-true plan,” he said.
Now that the selections for the National Team have been made, and Nelson native and Blackjack skier Julien Locke is part of the team, the local product plans to recharge the batteries to prepare for the upcoming season.
“Between now and then, the training season is already underway and I’m excited to be getting ready for another season,” Locke said.
“Above all, the most important thing is to be in good shape during the winter and we’ll continue to do focus on making sure everything is in place for that to happen.”