Steamboat’s Bear River Skatepark grand opening is Saturday |

Steamboat’s Bear River Skatepark grand opening is Saturday

Skateboarder Martin Beckett grinds the coping in the new bowl at the Bear River Skatepark. The city and the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance will host the official grand opening of the park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

— There's a party planned for Saturday at the Bear River Skatepark, but be forewarned that this event is BYOB.

Yes, it's true, if you want to get the most out of this celebration, you will need to "bring your own board" or at least be happy watching others ride their boards on the new concrete features at the Bear River Skatepark.

"This is a chance to get together and celebrate skateboarding, and celebrate the new concrete skatepark," said Jon Casson, director of the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance, which spearheaded the fundraising effort to make the park a reality.

The party is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and will include food, music and a whole lot of skating. The park is located at the end of Lagoon Court, behind the Routt County Jail in western Steamboat Springs.

Event organizers recommend using the Yampa River Core Trail to access the park. However, for this event only, access and parking will be allowed on Lagoon Court. After the event, the only access to the park will be via the Core Trail.

"We have not had any kind of an official opening celebration," City Parks Supervisor Ernie Jenkins said. "This will be a chance to say 'thank you' to the people who made this possible and those who came through with in-kind donations."

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The event is expected to be informal and will recognize the people who made the park possible. There also will be some competitions designed to showcase the park's features and local skateboarders. Casson said the competitive events will be laidback and that he has gotten swag from local supporters to make this party a good one.

It's a party that Casson and the local skateboarding community has been waiting eight years to throw.

Casson said he started skateboarding as a child, and it was that love of the sport that sparked his interest in improving the features at the Howelsen Skate Park eight years ago. He also began working on the idea for a concrete skate park. At that time, Casson said, there were a few locals pushing for improvements at Howelsen Hill and for the city to consider building a concrete park.

He stepped in and formed the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance.

"Yeah, it's pretty cool," Cas­son said about the new park. "It's been a real positive experience, and I'm thrilled that all the pieces are finally in place and we have the park."

The $312,000 park was completed in May. The cost to build the park was covered by a $200,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, $50,000 from the city of Steamboat Springs, $50,000 from the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance, $10,000 from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation and $2,000 from the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs.

Casson said he hopes to start the fundraising effort to add a second phase, with even more street features, this summer. He also hopes to complete a third phase in the future, which would include another bowl.