Go Skateboarding Day party draws big crowds in Edwards
Skate parks more popular than ever as sport finds new competitive ground
It’s hard to imagine a busier day in the Edwards skate park than Tuesday’s party in honor of Go Skateboarding Day 2022, and that’s after the band had to cancel.
The annual event — put on by Colorado Skateboards, Dutchess Ride and Mountain Rec — had additional partners this year, and skateboarders came out of the seven-ply woodwork.
“I think the addition of Transition Sports and Rocky Mountain Taco really helped,” said Rob Bak with Colorado Skateboards. “The flyer has been on display in their shop for weeks.”
Claire Altenau with Dutchess Ride agreed.
“Having such a big crew to spread the word has been really helpful,” Altenau said. “We’ve had this event for the last four years now and this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever had.”
Stafford Turner with Transition Sports said getting his shop to a position where he could attend and support the Go Skateboarding Day event has been one of the goals of his business, and he was finally able to reach that goal on Tuesday.
“We’ve been wanting to do something to give back a little and we were finally able to get a little more breathing room to do that this year,” Turner said.
Transition Sports and Colorado Skateboards gave away dozens of skateboard decks and numerous other items to attendees, with pop-up giveaways for tricks like first to do a hands-in-the-pockets kickflip in front of the DJ booth.
DJ Krusher Jones kept up a non-stop serenade for guests from his seemingly endless selection of radio-edited hip-hop (some of which he edited himself, by hand, for just such an occasion). He said parents thanked him for his careful selection of songs.
Local punk rockers Your Robot Overlords were forced to cancel earlier in the week after their drummer suffered an injury (not skateboarding).
Two-time Olympic silver medalist snowboarder Danny Kass was in attendance; Kass is now a Vail-area local, coaching up-and-coming halfpipers on snow.
Kass took skate laps in the park’s many bowls and enjoyed food from the taco bar.
Rocky Mountain Taco, a Minturn-based shop which also boasts an impressive gallery of skateboard deck art, supplied the food.
As skateboarders calmly cued up to use features, and nearly every spot to sit along the park became filled with resting shredders (and their parents), the sheer number of skateboarders in the valley struck several in attendance.
Avon local Derek George and his family of four had already been to two other skate parks in Eagle and Summit Counties before visiting Edwards on Tuesday.
George said his daughter, 9-year-old Indiana, now likes to skateboard after taking a class with Dutchess Ride. Dutchess Ride is an all-female organization which hosts classes and camps to help young girls find creativity and camaraderie through board sports.
George learned to skate bowls in the Palo Alto, California, area as a youth, and said he had a dream day riding skate parks with Indiana on Tuesday.
“My helmet is 20 years old and it’s still holding up,” he said with a laugh on Tuesday.
Uptick in participation
Turner said there may be some truth to the cliche that skateboarding’s new designation as an Olympic sport may have caused an uptick in participation, but that’s probably not what caused the crowding on Tuesday.
“The tacos definitely helped,” he said with a laugh.
Whatever the reason, Turner said he was glad to see the large turnout. Turner has recently used Transition Sports as a platform to voice support of an effort to bring a skate park to Avon. The shop has a display asking skateboarders who would use the park to voice support for the idea.
Turner said the bulk of the effort to bring a park to Avon is being spearheaded by another group which supported the event on Tuesday, the Avon Skate Coalition.
Claire Altenau with Dutchess Ride is also a member of the Avon Skate Coalition and said the group is currently focused on securing a location and funding.
“We want it to be a park that’s easily accessible which everyone can enjoy,” she said.
Last week the Gypsum Town Council also voted in favor of committing up to $40,000 in funds to upgrade their skate park. That idea has not yet completed the design phase, but town manager Jeremy Rietmann said the upgrade aims to incorporate new learnings from the skateboard community which have happened over the last 20 years.
Turner said with new designs on the minds of many in Eagle County, at least one local park should aim to be properly homologated by World Skate so that proper competition can occur in the Vail area.
Skateboarding World Cup
In Salida, a new skate park in Centennial Park which opened in 2020 hosted a World Cup competition earlier this month.
Prior to its inclusion in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, skateboarding became a part of World Skate, the governing body for all sports performed on skating wheels. A World Cup circuit has accompanied skateboarding’s inclusion in World Skate, much like snowboarding joined the International Ski Federation’s World Cup circuit prior to its inclusion in the Olympics in 1998.
Bak, a Vail resident and snowboarding coach who runs Colorado Skateboards in his free time, attended the Salida event and said the skateboarding competition complemented an already awesome paddling scene in Centennial Park.
The Heart of the Rockies Rampage skateboarding World Cup competition took place June 16-17 as part of the popular FIBArk festival, the country’s oldest whitewater festival.
Bak said while one couldn’t hope to replicate an event like FIBArk, with all its history, he would like to see the Eagle County area try a similar concept, where skateboarding events become a part of other already popular festivals.
“Obviously we have a lot of skateboarders here,” Bak said with a look around the park on Tuesday. “So that’s good.”
And while it’s hard to imagine the park being busier that it was on Tuesday, Turner said he plans to continue supporting the event, and if word gets around about how much fun people had at this year’s event, “I’m sure next year and the year could be even bigger, for sure,” he said.
And that was the point Altenau and Turner took away, as well, in their goal to bring a new skate park to Avon.
“It’d be nice to be able to space people out a bit,” Altenau said.