New director working to move Sk8 Church forward in the face of economic hurdles

Noah Blumenberg sits on a feature inside the Sk8 Church Steamboat on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. Blumenberg took the reins at the Sk8 Church, which was founded by Buck and Tara Chavarria in 2005, and is working to secure its financial future while meeting the needs of the young people it serves in the community.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The value of venues like the Sk8 Church in Steamboat Springs is not lost on current Director Noah Blumenberg.

“I grew up in Arvada, Colorado — to go back a little bit — and there was a skate church called Warehouse 180 that I used to go to,” Blumenberg said. “Coming here feels a little bit full circle for me, just because I know how special Warehouse 180 was to me.”

His experiences at Warehouse 180 led Blumenberg to take the job as executive director at the Sk8 Church in July 2022, replacing Nate Bartels, who convinced Blumenberg to come in for an interview, offered him a position as program director and then convinced Blumenberg to apply for his job when Bartels stepped down.

At the time, Blumenberg was working for Grand Futures and volunteering for Bear River Young Life in Craig. Since 2009, he has lived in Craig with his wife, Aleah, who is the Sk8 Church’s director of operations. The couple has two children children — Abram, 3, and Halle, who just turned 2.

“He essentially offered me a job, which was super appealing, and I said I would be interested in working for Sk8 Church,” Blumenberg said. “Then he mentioned that he’d probably be stepping away with his family and that I should apply for his position when he leaves, and the board will determine if I’m a good fit. I think he was keeping an eye out for someone to hand the torch to.”

Blumenberg is the Sk8 Church’s third executive director following in the footsteps of Bartels and Buck Chavarria, who founded the nonprofit organization with his wife, Tara, in 2005.

Blumenberg said Sk8 Church’s mission is to provide a safe and sober environment for anyone regardless of background, religion, race or gender. He said the church’s efforts are aimed at combating the on-going battle with drug abuse, suicide and depression among youth.

“I have a heart for youth and the passion for the community where I work,” Blumenberg said. “The Sk8 Church kind of merged all those into one thing, and so it was a beautiful moment for me and my family to be able to have all this in one job.”

Blumenberg said he has always loved the Sk8 Church and its mission, and he has spent the past year working hard to make sure the Sk8 Church legacy continues despite the many challenges it faces in Steamboat’s difficult economic climate.

“When I started, my first act as director was to sign a new lease for the building,” Blumenberg said. “So within the time I got hired and signing the lease, essentially overnight our rent doubled.”

That has been a big challenge for the new director who is doing his best to find new ways to reach out to the community for support, secure donations and apply for grants that will keep the doors open.

How to help

What: Sk8 Church Fundraiser

When: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 7

Where: Anchor Way Church, 40650 Anchor Way

What: With music by Jonah Werner and food from chef Henry Olson and mocktails by Sophie Dowlatshaihi, organizers of this event are hoping to help raise funds for the Sk8 Church Steamboat. Those funds will be used to cover the lease of the Sk8 Church venue, remodel the space to meet requirements and add a free skate camp for Steamboat youth, as well as provide more ministry space for relational growth and development, mentoring, counseling and tutoring.

Costs: $85 per person or $500 for table that seats six.

Info: Email or go to For tickets, go to

As part of that, the Sk8 Church has organized a fundraiser at the Anchor Way Church, 40650 Anchor Way, from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 7. The event costs $85 per person or $500 for a table of six and will include music from Jonah Werner, a meal prepared Chef Henry Olson and “mock-tails” from Sophie Dowlatshaihi. There will also be an auction for artwork created by members of the Sk8 Church.

Blumenberg said money from the event will help cover the $104,904 needed to lease the Sk8 Church’s current venue, as well as remodel the space and add a free skate camp for Steamboat Youth. It will also provide more space for growth and development, mentoring, counseling and tutoring.

Blumenberg said the Sk8 Church currently serves about 150 youth in Steamboat Springs, offering open skates from 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; a Middle School Sk8 Church from 6-8 p.m. Monday nights and Toddler Tuesdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

From 6-8 p.m. on Tuesdays, the church also hosts Ladies Sk8 and Fellowship, and from 6-10 p.m. on Thursdays, the church welcomes high school and college students.

The church also hosts an addiction recovery meeting at 6:15 p.m. every Wednesday and Phoenix events on the first Sunday of every month. The Sk8 Church also offers meals and meaningful conversations designed to give young people guidance and hope.

“We’ve got our own special group of folks who are into what we do,” Blumenberg said. “I think overall, regardless of people’s beliefs, everyone that comes through here is respectful, and loving, and caring and takes care of each other. I think we cultivate a good environment for people to be welcomed in that way.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.