Street skaters take over Vail Skate Park
VAIL – Some of the best amateur skateboarders in Colorado were on hand Sunday atop the Lionshead parking structure to compete in the Vail Summer Sports Fest Street Skating Contest.
The competition, which served as the grand finale for the Lionshead venue of the Sports Fest, saw more than 25 competitors strut their stuff in front of a sizable crowd on hand at the Vail Skate Park.
Skaters were separated into beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions for the contest, in which their best overall run of two attempts would count for their final score.
Chucky Riggs, the Event Manager for Highline Sports and Entertainment and this contest, was more than a little impressed with what he saw Sunday from both the skaters and the organizers.
“This was a killer day for skating in Vail. The kids that turned up today were awesome,” said Riggs. “We wanted to bring something grassroots to the Vail Summer Sports Fest so that everyone could come out here and skate and compete. We got a lot of help from Diane Johnson from the Vail Rec District, as well as Mike Eubank from the Y.M.C.A in Boulder and Ric Widenor. I went and saw one of their competitions down there and they really helped me a lot.”
The beginner class started the day with Joe McLaren taking first and brother, Kyle, taking second. After that, the intermediates stepped up with Ian Loffler taking third, Jeff Lanes grabbing second and C.J. Poulin winning it all with some super-smooth-rail slides.
Before the big boys took center stage, local pro snowboarder and contest judge, Dan Genditzki, laid out the criteria for determining each groups’ winners.
“We based it on four things,” said Genditzki. “How difficult the line was, consistency, style and fun, which was an important one.”
The advanced class then took the stage. These guys went huge, displaying a variety of kick-flips, transfer-airs, grabs and spins in an effort to impress the judges.
Quintin Wicks took first place, Vance Billings took second and Vail-local Ricky Rodriguez got the third- place prize.
“For an amateur contest, you don’t usually see this level of skating,” said Genditzki. “It was good to see everyone out here ripping it up.”
Finally, spectators were treated to a Best Trick competition at the end of the contest, an open 10-minute jam where the best trick, as judged by the participants, would win. Competitors would not disappoint, risking life and limb trying to stomp that one final trick of the day and take home a multiplicity of delicious prizes.
Fourteen-year-old ripper Julian Christianson won the contest with what local-pro snowboarder, contest competitor and emcee Rob Bak described as a “nollie-backside-heelflip-360.”
For those that missed this year’s competition, keep your eyes out next year. According to Riggs, Highline Sports and Entertainment plans on making this contest an annual part of the Vail Summer Sports Fest.
David L’Heureux is a freelance writer based in Vail.