Action County: Tom Wickman
December 9, 2005
Frisco chief of police Tom Wickman learned to ski at a very young age. As a father, he decided to pass on the tradition to his two children”I started skiing at age 6,” Wickman said. “But I got my kids into alpine skiing at 3, so they’re ahead of the game.”Wickman grew up skiing at the Hoodoo Snow Bowl near Sisters, Ore. His father ran a local ski lodge and Wickman and his brother Nordic skied to Hoodoo nearly every day. In the morning, they worked as boot shiners before skiing on the mountain all afternoon.”At the end of the day we’d put our Nordic stuff back and Nordic back to the lodge,” Wickman said. In addition to skiing together as boys, Wickman and his brother guided camping trips in the Pacific Crest Trail region.Wickman found fewer opportunities to ski when he went to the Midwest for college.
“Let’s face, it when you live in Grand Rapids, Mich., which is flat as a pancake, after living out west it’s kind of a letdown,” he said. “Out there (Michigan), we played basketball.”As a college student, Wickman was all about hoops. He began his career at Central Michigan University where he played with former NBA players Dan Roundfield (Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons) and James McElroy (New Orleans Jazz). Wickman played his second year of ball at Grand Rapids Junior College and then finished his career at Kalamazoo College, where he earned a political science degree. It wasn’t until Wickman got a job with the Boulder Police Department during his early 20s that he rediscovered his passion for skiing. Wickman eventually became a member of the U.S. Police Ski Team and competed at the International Police Games in Italy four times.”One year, Alberto Tomba competed as an honorary mountain cop,” Wickman said. ” … He’s never carried a gun a day in his life.”It was a big deal for the Europeans to win those races and they had some unbelievable athletes.”After serving on the Boulder and Denver police forces for 25 years, Wickman recently completed his third year as Frisco’s police chief.
He trains regularly at the Frisco Nordic Center and periodically competes in skate skiing races such as the Ally Loop in Crested Butte and the American Birkebeiner in Cable-Hayward, Wis.How does Frisco police work compare to police work in the Front Range?”In Frisco, there is the opportunity to have closer relationships with people. And police work is about relationships. You have that ability to really connect with people whereas in the Front Range you are going call to call quite a bit. It’s just completely different. I think it’s neat to be able to walk down the street and talk to somebody that doesn’t act standoffish. If you respect people, it all comes back tenfold.”What has been your greatest Nordic skiing experience?
“I think one of the neatest things, and I’ve done a lot of things, was working with the Bill Koch League and having a group of 5- and 6-year-olds skiing behind me, smiling and having a great time. These kids really took to it and loved it. It’s great to be able to pass that on.”Tom Wickman Decade Born: 1950sFavorite Team: The U.S. Olympic Nordic TeamFavorite Band: Miles DavisFastball or Curveball: Fastball
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