Black Jack skier Julien Locke won first place at the Haywood NorAm Canadian Eastern Championships over the weekend.
Locke felt good about how the weekend’s race went.
“I had quite a good race, I was not the greatest the weekend before in the Mont Ste-Anne NorAm, but then my shape came around quite nicely for the sprint on Friday,” he said. “The body felt quite good, tactics were good and my speed is pretty good.”
The victory puts Locke in the standings to be part of the Ski Tour Canada national team and comes just before his departure for Romania, where he will compete in the FIS Nordic U23 World Ski Championships, taking place Feb. 22 to 28.
“It’s been good preperation; it’s good for his confidence,” said Dave Wood, his coach.
Locke is currently the NorAm Sprint leader, but will be away in Romania during the Haywood NorAm Canadian Western Championships and could have that title usurped.
“After westerns I will qualify for the ski tour, but if somebody passes me while I’m not there, then…. We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” he said.
But taking the time to go to Romania is worth it. If Locke makes it into the top 12 at the World Championships then he’ll qualify for the national team next year.
In Romania, Locke will compete against skiers he’s never skied against before, but he’s confident.
“I don’t believe that the level there — I mean the level there is high — but I don’t believe it’s out of reach, and my goal is to be in the top six there in the A final and I think that’s realistic and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do,” he said.
If Locke qualifies for the national team this year, then he’ll travel from Gatineau, QC to Montréal, QC to Québec City to Canmore, Alta. from March 1 to 12.
Either way, he’ll be competing in the 2016 Haywood Ski Nationals Championships in Whitehorse from March 19 to 26 to finish off the season.