By Amy Fendley
A lot of kids don’t do it for the fun. They do it ’cause the look is cool.
The measure of your success is not on your shirt but in whether you can do your flip tricks, Ollies, board slides and grinds. The blue prints are complete and once the snow has melted, the Whistler Skate Park expansion will begin — a street-style skate park to accommodate these moves.
Could it be an early sign of spring?
Anxiously awaiting their second batch of North Vancouver, handmade lollipops, the Young Adult Partnership Program (YAPP) has raised more than $165 in two days of fund-raising for the Whistler Skateboard Park extension.
YAPP has been selling $1 lollipops in a recent fund-raising initiative made possible by the assistance of the high school, local skateboard and snowboard shops, and nightclubs.
Jim Barnum is the assistant project manager for the RMOW’s Skate Park and a member of YAPP. He took the original design for the park extension and redesigned it, creating a more significant project, according to co-worker and manager of park operations for the RMOW Keith Bennett.
Barnum has skated every park in Canada, and says the Whistler Skate Park will be not only unique to B.C., but unique to Canada.
"This could very possibly be the best skate park in Canada," predicts Barnum. "You’ll get kids moving here just for the skateboarding, there’s an internal network. Some kids come from the States, get their parents to bring them here for at least a week, after reading about the park in skate mags."
Barnum says that in the summer the park gets really crowded and collisions happen, especially when there are additional kids coming for skate and snowboard camps. The park is currently unsupervised, although Bennett says there is a strong recommendation through signs posted around the park to wear safety gear: helmets, knee and elbow pads.
"We haven’t had any claims as of yet," said Bennett. "The users of this facility are of the generation that believes you’re responsible for your own actions."
Local skaters were consulted extensively on the kind of features they wanted to see constructed. Park’s planners visited the high school as well as polling visitors to the bowl.
Also considered in the plans is the construction of stairs, ledges and handrails to emulate the obstacles that skaters find so amusing in the village.
"It’s a different type of park," says Bennett. "Right now the park has a bowl, and X-Games style quarter pipes, but we are creating a plaza that will have stairs and rails that the young skaters like — features that you would find on the front of a building."
Unlike most towns who don’t support skateboarding, budget-wise or otherwise, the RMOW has been supportive of Whistler’s Skate Park, located next to Rebagliati Park. The municipality has budgeted $300,000 this year to complete the skateboard park.
Once the snow melts, the Skate Park extension will be ready to be poured. It will take approximately two to three months from start to completion.
The municipality’s public works department is aiming for a Sept. 30 completion date.
The extension will be 90 feet wide and 125 feet long, with connector paths, mounds, rolls and jumps. Concrete is the choice smooth-surface paving material for the park, but due to temperature extremes, concrete would be prone to heaving and cracking — an expensive proposition for the municipality. The alternative is asphalt. Easier to patch, but like sand paper when skaters crash on it. A decision on which material will be used is pending.
Barnum says the Whistler Skate Park’s title may change if they find a corporate sponsor for the park.