Snow conditions left a lot to be desired in the Outaouais region, but the skiers dealt with it. Before the races, there had been rain and warm temperatures; on race day, the weather was fine -- sunny, and a bit below freezing.
Julien Locke of Rossland's BlackJack Ski Club won the sprint in the previous Buff race, and also in the US Nationals in January.
This time, Locke earned a narrow win over Knute Johnsgaard in the first semi-final. In the final, Locke revved up on the last hill and gained a lead that he held past the finish line for another win.
Earlier this season Locke won a bronze medal in the 1.5 kilometer Sprint Distance at the U.S. Cross Country Championships at Michigan Tech University in Houghton Michigan.
In March of 2015, Locke, born and raised in Nelson, won a silver medal at the Senior National Championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.
The 22-year-old Locke, who started racing for the Nelson Nordic Ski Team at the age of six, joined the Black Jack squad at 14 years of age and has been competing with the Rossland-based club since his teens.
Lock, who trains and races full time at the Black Jack Ski Club in Rossland, also runs a web design, photography and filmmaking business.
Congratulations to Julien Locke. BlackJack and the Kootenays are proud of you.