Twenty-four-year-old Ben Fick has some big shoes to fill.

But the St. Croix, Minn., native knows what he must do to follow in the footsteps left by the likes of Charlie Sturgis, Isaac Wilson and Paul Clark.

Hired as the White Pine Center Nordic director in October, Fick, a former University of Utah Nordic skier, is primed to continue the lengthy tradition of keeping the cross-country ski tracks at White Pine pristine for skiers.

"I like the Nordic community up here a lot. Cross-country skiing is a great sport and everyone involved here is just positive and optimistic," he said. "I want to provide (skiers) with the best possible track for cross-country skiing in Park City. I'm building on what people did in the past."

Like Sturgis, Wilson and Clark, all former White Pine Nordic directors, Fick said his goal is to continue to promote cross-country skiing as a recreational activity around the Wasatch Back.

"We're really hoping to get people set up with equipment or people looking to use cross-country skiing as a way to stay fit," he said. "We want them seeing that it is a good sport that they can do their whole life."

Fick said being a collegiate Nordic athlete as recently as 2010 gives him an advantage in dealing with the plethora of Olympians and full-time cross-country skiers who use White Pine as their primary source of training in the winter.

"I have the obligation of providing a really great track for them the best I can," he said.


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"I think it definitely helps me that I've been involved competitively, so I know what people expect. That's definitely an advantage that I have over someone who does it more recreationally."

Although a Midwestern guy, Fick said the mountains had been calling his name ever since he took vacations to Utah and Colorado with his parents as a kid. When the opportunity to ski for Utah presented itself, he jumped at it. When the opportunity arose to work in the Beehive State after graduating from the University of Utah in 2010, Fick went to work for the Solitude Nordic Center and for Jans in Park City.

"I've always had a gravitational pull to the mountains and that's why I'm here," he said.

When asked how he plans to tackle the warm-weather intrusions to the winter as boss at White Pine, he said when it's time to shovel, it's all hands on deck.

"When there's not very much snow, I'm trying to get as many people out there to shovel and make it available for people to train," he said.

Fick said his plan this winter is to provide as stellar a cross-country ski track as possible, and it helps that dogs and snowshoers are not allowed on any of White Pine's courses.

"I want to create a really great, positive atmosphere between the instructors to my ski technicians, to the grinding technicians, to the waxers and basically offering all the services we have for cross-country skiing," he said.

For more information on the White Pine Nordic Center, visit www.whitepinetouring.com .

Editor's note: The word "now" was intended to be "not" in the original story when it comes to dogs and snowshoers not being allowed on White Pine tracks.