This Christmas when you are gift shopping for family and friends, please remember to shop your local core skate, bike, and scooter shops and your local indoor skatepark (if you are lucky enough to have one in your town)! When we shop local, the profit generated from our purchase goes to local business owners and their families, not to huge multinational corporations or online retailers headquartered far away and often in a foreign country.
Local shops and parks are the ones who organize comps, demos, and video premieres. They are the ones that will be there to support efforts to get a new skatepark in your community. The big mall stores rarely (if ever) invest time, effort, or money to build the local scene, they just move their profits to head office.
Skateparktour.ca really appreciates the support of several excellent core shops over the past year, and two outstanding Canadian skatepark design and construction companies. We want to recognize and thank these businesses for their help in keeping Skateparktour.ca alive and growing!
Mill Woods skatepark in Edmonton is closed until further notice due to safety concerns. It is not clear when the renewal project will get underway. Edmonton BMX'ers and skaters should not wait to be asked for your input, start contacting the City and City Council members to express support for the Mill Woods skatepark, and to offer input into what happens next!
When the discussions are taking place about the design of a new skatepark, it's not unusual for someone to say something about not making the park too difficult. The thinking is that if skatepark features are "too big", they will be usable by only a few, and there will be lots of injuries. Should you hear such an argument, speak up, don't let them win the day because that's not what happens. It's true that skateparks need variety of terrain so that novices and experienced users can all find appropriate challenge in the park, but in parks where challenging obstacles are included in the design, the skaters and bikers who use the park will grow their skills to meet those challenges. It's all about progression.
Levi grew up in Cochrane where the skatepark has a bowl which enabled his bowl skating to progress
Case in point, the new Glendale Skatepark in Red Deer includes Alberta's only pool style bowl. At the grand opening Friday, some skaters heard sound of their wheels on the tile, and a few did lip tricks, but you'll see what I mean when you come back later this summer and into the fall. The skill progression will be sure to amaze. More skaters will be doing even more and bigger tricks, and not just the adults. Look out for the kids too. This pool will provide the opportunity for skaters, bikers, and even scooter kids to progress. When you attend a community planning meeting for a new skatepark where you live, speak up to make sure some challenging elements are included!
Once last summer when an upcoming event posted by a Calgary BMX shop was shared on the Skateparktour.ca FaceBook page, it prompted this response from one skater:
“Get your shit together skatepark tour. Stop promoting BMX at skateparks. If that's what you want to promote, at least do skateboarders a courtesy and change your name to parktour.ca”
This is not the first time that a skateboarder has made an issue of BMX being included on Skateparktour.ca. The relationship between skaters and BMX’ers are sometimes “strained” so the comments are not really a surpri
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se. The attempt to get the comment poster to take a wider view about BMX’ers in skateparks failed. Apparently I am “losing it” according to the poster.
It’s true that skateparks originated because of skateboarding. Back in the day when the first skateparks were being built, BMX and mountain bikes had not been developed yet. Today though, some skaters still hang on to the belief that skateparks are for skateboards and that’s all. They see BMX’ers as invaders in “their” skatepark. They are called “skateparks” after all, aren’t they? While it’s not unusual to hear bike riders or skaters complaining about each other, sometimes with justification, in most places the groups have learned to co-exist peacefully and even be friends.
The whole issue did raise a good question though, about how many bikes, and people riding other things that are not skateboards, use skateparks? Are skateboarders still in the majority? How big is BMX in skateparks? And what about scooters? They too seem to be a growing user group in some places. In the summer of 2012 Skateparktour.ca set out to find answers to these questions this study is the result. Check out the infographic below for a summary of the results.
Skateboarders are well know for their willingness to help beginners and younger skaters learn and improve, sharing the love for skateboarding as it had been shared with them in the day. Now there is certification available for skate instructors, so you can learn from an instructor who knows how to help students learn and progress safely and effectively. Finding an instructor can be a problem however but a new initiative promoted by BCSkateboarding.org hopes to fix that. Check out the Canadian Skateboard Instructors Network map below. If you'd like to learn how t be listed as an instructor, contact Ty through bcskateboarding.org.
View Canadian Skateboard Instructors Network in a larger map
Last week while visiting the Chinook Winds Skatepark in Airdrie, Skateparktour.ca was very surprised to find that the largest user group in the skatepark was the scooter riders. There were 44 users in the skatepark at the time. 10 were skateboarders, 12 were bmx'ers, 2 were inline skating, there was one mountain biker, and there were 19 scooters. Scooter riders appeared to be as young 8 or 9 and up to 14 or 15 years old. It’s not unusual for scooter kids to ride skateparks but it was surprising that there were so many at one time, and that older teenagers were riding scooters instead of skateboards or bikes. Where are they all coming from? Is this the sign of a new trend?
Scooters are very popular in some parts of the world and it seems that they may be growing in popularity here too. Several people have commended recently that there seems to be more scooters in skateparks, but Airdrie was a first for skateparktour.ca. That older teenagers are riding scooters is another sign of growing popularity of scooters, which have been around for at least a decade.
Bikes in skateparks sometimes annoy skaters; some skaters even say skateparks are for skateboarders only. For them this possible trend won’t be good news. Whatever we choose to ride on two wheels, or four, we need to respect those who prefer to ride something else. Everyone (or their parents) pay taxes no matter what they ride. Skateparks are largely funded by public money so there’s no keeping those who choose to ride other wheels from enjoying the same skatepark. When you go to the skatepark, have fun, share the lines with everyone else, and be sure to add to the positive vibe. Everyone will have more fun that way.