Talk of new skatepark has local riders buzzing | SteamboatToday.com

Talk of new skatepark has local riders buzzing

Skateboarders take part in contest at Howelsen Hill

Luke Graham

Philip Johnston and Jon Casson’s excitement is audible.

Sitting at Howelsen Hill’s skate park during Saturday’s Click Summer Skateboard Contest Series, the two could only think of the possibilities.

With a city-funded skate park scheduled for construction in 2009 – and designs for the park already under way – the two know that something they’ve worked hard to bring to Steamboat is almost a reality.

“We’ve been looking for a concrete park for years, and now that it’s finally going to happen, I’m stoked about that,” said Casson, head of the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance. “It’s going to be the best park in the state when it’s all done. It’s been worth the wait. We might be a little late, but it’s going to be something special.”

If the two needed any more confirmation about the need for a bigger skate park, Saturday’s competition certainly provided it.

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riders of all ages and abilities strapped on helmets and got on their boards to take part in the competition.

While the numbers were a little down – Johnston has had upwards of 30 skaters take part in the contest in year’s past – the affinity for skateboarding was never more evident.

Some riders were young first-timers, while others were seasoned veterans.

It didn’t matter to Johnston. The events have been around since 1997 and Johnston said putting them on is something he loves to do.

“We’ve been doing it a long time,” Johnston said. “This gives the kids self-courage and pride. It takes a lot to get up here in front of all these people. It gives them a sense of competition and doing stuff for themselves.”

Florida-based Team Pain Enterprises will bring in several designs for the new skate park Thursday. Casson said after that, he hopes to have a design and place for the park by August.

Considering how popular the sport has become in Steamboat Springs – Casson has to turn people away from the skate classes he teaches through the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department – Saturday’s event coupled with the new park has the skate community excited, Casson said.

That excitement might include next year’s Click Summer Skateboard Contest Series event at a new, state-of-the-art facility.

“We’re trying to get the kids as excited as possible,” he said. “And that’s probably about the timeline. Weather depending on when we can start building, of course. If we have a typical spring and we can start excavating in April or May, we could be done by June or July.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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