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.