The quickest way to get to know a place is to get to know the people who live there. It is in that spirit that Pedal and Pole Park City is starting the local interview series. These interviews will consist of five questions and feature someone from around town who is making things happen as far as creating a local experience or product that encapsulates Wasatch mountain life. Pedal and Pole is excited to kick off this series with Paul Clark who is the current operator of the White Pine Touring Nordic center located in the heart of Park City. Paul is a longtime fixture on the local mountain bike and Nordic ski scene. An avid racer, he regularly places in the top end of any race within the inter-mountain west but most people who visit Park City know him as the guy at the Nordic center who is always smiling and ready to offer up great advice on some new gear or help get you fitted up with proper gear for a day of skiing. He is also the guy getting the grooming done, counting the money at the end of the day, and pretty much anything else that needs done around the place. So take a few minutes and get to know Paul Clark.

1) How did you end up a Nordic skier and then the head guy at White Pine Touring?

I was hired at White Pine back in ’96 to work as a rental boy. I was 14. Yeah, breaking the law. At that point in time, I was playing soccer and baseball, and not really into it anymore. I started riding mountain bikes, and wanted to learn more about them, so I started hanging around White Pine when it was up on Main st. I kept bugging the guys in the shop, so finally, I was offered a position at the Nordic Center for the winter, and if I did well, I would have the opportunity to start the following summer in the bike shop. That winter I tried XC skiing a few times, but thought it was silly, hard, and slow. The following year, I even tried a skate race. I thought it was so hard and not fun, that I literally gave up XC skiing for a few years. Then in high school, I was looking for a way to stay in shape in the winter to support my mountain bike racing. I went and tried going for a skate. I was hooked. I didn’t try another ski race until I was a Sr. in college. My switch was turned on, and now I race as much as I can. As far as running the store here at White Pine… I have always had a passion for working in the outdoor industry, and a few fortuitous events lined up for me, placing me in line for the position. My predecessor, Isaac Wilson, set me up for success, being a great mentor, and strong example. From there it was easy.

2) What is the most unglamorous aspect of running White Pine Tourings Nordic center?

I am constantly thinking about the place, the track, the customers, the programs… Sometimes, I mix things up, or lose track of the day. As unglamorous or glamorous as this sounds, I ski pretty much every morning at sunrise, until we open. (today I had to skip my morning ski, and I feel groggy and sluggish…) But it is pretty early sometimes…

3) What is your favorite local trail winter or summer and why……

favorite summer trail: it’s a tie, I love riding Spiro, Crest, Robs before work in the summer, or a rip down Crescent Mine Grade with Kevin Holiday always makes the hair stand up! Favorite winter trail: It’s pretty fun to have all the offerings we do around here, but nothing beats the Farm trails in spring time. Fast, and hard.

4) What is the main main food that sustains your healthy lifestyle?

Right now, avocados are cheap and a daily staple. I come from a foodie household, and if you really want to talk food sometime, come see me. A guilty pleasure of mine is Garden of Eaten’s Red Hot Blue corn chips, I regularly consume a bag or two a week. I like food, all kinds, and I love preparing food, I love the act of making a meal, opening a bottle of wine or making a cocktail and seeing what the food brings to the conversation. I had the pleasure of eating at Forage down in Salt Lake City, and it blew my mind. It should be on everyone’s bucket list. The Farm at Canyons is pretty special too. But by far the best meal I have had in Park City is at Talisker on Main.  Amazing service goes so far in my book, and when good service is combined with great food, Bam!

5) Can you picture life without mtns, snow, and and skiing? If yes, where would it be?

This year has shown what we can do with limited snow, and the generosity of people showed what a little labor can do to keep our track open. I also have heard the doomsday people say that our grand kids might never see natural snow, I hope that is not the case, that would be so unfortunate. I love skiing, I love season change, and I love the mountains. However, I like my road bike, and I love surfing, so I could keep myself busy…

Thanks again Paul and enjoy the Red Chairs! PPPC.

 

 

Park City, Utah; Anyone who is a skier knows the heavy rep for luxury attached to PC. Park City is home to the Sundance film festival. There are something like 186 restaurants to choose from. You could put on a blindfold and throw a rock pretty much anywhere in Park City and that rock will probably take out a day spa window. The Place is just deluxe and that lap of luxury feel even bleeds over into the usually spartan world of Nordic skiing. For instance, how many Nordic centers have designated areas to farm up pow turns? No problem here in PC.

Break a nail on the 5k today? No problem. Just stop by the Salon/spa on your way off the track and get that nail fixed up! I think my buddies at Wilderness Lodge would laugh their asses off at just the thought.

(Speaking of deluxe: check out the cool new stuff showing up at MPGear.com!)

Stay posted to Pedal and Pole as some good stuff is already on its way down the pipe. New trail reviews are going to be starting next week and I was recently taken deep into the Wasatch mountains to a top secret mountain luge track built by ultra running legend Karl Meltzer. This will blow some minds is all I am going to say……….

“I clutched the tattered document like a treasure map to a long forgotten, gold laden temple hidden deep in the jungles…..” Alright, that might be a bit dramatic but there is a new Nordic trail right here in Park City(Kimball Junction to be exact for those who keep track of those things, you know who you are) and the picture above is the sacred document, a map to the new 5k loop.

Soon to follow this post will be a complete review of this new trail along with a few video segments as this loop has been set up with some downhill action in mind. It is located just below the Olympic Jump park with a small parking area about a quarter mile from the new traffic circle. What looks really sweet about this location is the fact it has been linked into the extensive trail network that starts at Red Stone plaza with the new tunnel under 224 providing an easy way to get across that busy thruway without having to cross over the road. Unfortunately the loop had not been groomed when I went to check it out so the comprehensive review will have to wait. Time to head to the skate gym…..

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