Black Jack skier Julien Locke (middle) created the Nordic Pulse app to help keep ski clubs and its skiers updated on trail conditions. Photo: submitted

Black Jack skier Julien Locke (middle) created the Nordic Pulse app to help keep ski clubs and its skiers updated on trail conditions. Photo: submitted

Black Jack skier creates innovative new tool for tracking trail conditions

NST member Julien Locke creates Nordic Pulse an online program that tracks ski club grooming teams

A Black Jack cross-country skier has created an innovative new program that tracks trail conditions across the country.

Nelson native and National Ski Team member Julien Locke created Nordic Pulse a website and mobile application where skiers can get instant updates on the status of the trails of participating clubs.

”The inspiration for Nordic Pulse came from two questions,” said Locke. “How to make grooming reporting easier for clubs, and how to make trail condition reports more accessible for skiers.”

For the past eight years, when he’s not on the trails competing himself, Locke has worked as a website developer and used his cross-country connections to tap into a network of ski centre’s websites.

“About six years ago, I was leading a website overhaul for Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre (Vernon, BC), and we posed the question: how can we make grooming reporting easier?” explained Locke. “Grooming teams work long hours, usually in the middle of the night, and the last thing they want to do afterwards is deal with updating tables on clunky systems.”

The Black Jack ski area on Nordic Pulse.

The Black Jack ski area on Nordic Pulse.

Locke originally created a web-based system for several clubs, which served its purpose, but he always knew it could be better.

“I have been asking questions and listening to feedback from clubs in the time since, which helped immensely as I started the development of Nordic Pulse.”

For the skier in Julien, he has been frustrated by the difficulty of finding grooming reports. In the West Kootenay alone there are eight ski areas all within an hours drive, and in places like Canmore, even more.

Inspiration and innovation soon followed, as Locke developed Nordic Pulse, an app-based grooming report system. Grooming teams use iOS and Android apps to track their GPS location in real time.

The grooming information is passed on immediately, so skiers can check the progress of the grooming teams while they’re out on the trails. When grooming is complete, the app has a set of tools for writing reports and updating particulars about each trail, Locke explains.

The user-friendly mobile web-app brings real-time trail conditions from a growing number of clubs with interactive maps, sortable lists, and an increasing number of useful features.

“On the computer, skiers can check the conditions data on the map and list on the same screen, and on mobile, they are just a swipe apart.”

Cross-country skiing is seeing an upswing as memberships grow in clubs across the country, including Black Jack.

“As someone who loves our sport, I’m delighted to see so many new faces at the trails,” said Locke. “Grooming reports have long been an integral part of the cross country skiing, and I feel they are even more important now with the influx of new skiers.

“My dream is that Nordic Pulse can play a small part in helping skiers choose when and where to ski, and help keep them interested in the sport.”

Locke began the development of Nordic Pulse just four months ago and in the past eight weeks has seen more than a dozen clubs from Parc du Mont Royal in Montreal to Willliams Lake, B.C. testing and providing feedback for the Groomer App.

Nordic Pulse first rolled out at the Nelson Nordic and Black Jack clubs earlier this month, and as of Feb. 12 over 1,400 people have signed onto the web-app, many on a daily basis.

Clubs throughout North America have shown interest, and Locke built the system with the intention to scale so is excited about its potential growth.

“I’ve been really encouraged by the ski-areas enthusiasm and commitment to the project. It’s been a huge boon to me through the development and now that we’re launching, the excitement is even higher.”

The elite NST skier suffered a severe concussion 18 months ago, and the challenges of a complete recovery continued through last winter. He was forced to take a break this summer, yet, as insidious as COVID is, it proved serendipitous as the racing season in North America was cancelled this year, giving Julien time to recover and develop the Nordic Pulse program.

“Of any years to not have the best training base, this is the one,” he added. “I’ve had a long term approach to my training from the get-go and I’m still very much focused on my racing career.”

Locke says he’s enjoying following Black Jack teammates Remi and Jasmine Drolet and Molly Miller, who competed in the World Jr./U23 Nordic Championships. He looks forward to joining them and preparing for 2022 with Black Jack ski team coach Dave Wood.

Read: Black Jack skier sprints to first at U.S. Nationals



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. Black Press file photo
No new COVID-19 cases for Nakusp

Our community has not had a case since January; has only had three in total since pandemic started

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A member of the Avalanche Canada South Rockies field team gathers important snowpack data that is used to produce daily avalanche forecasts for the region. Photo by Jennifer Coulter.
Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

Warm temperatures impact conditions, human behaviour

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read