When Aspen turns the corner it never looks back. Not only did the mountain open Ajax to snowboarding, but last fall the City of Aspen built what many are calling one of the best public, concrete, skateparks in the world. “I think about traveling to check out other parks,” said Aspen local Greg Leblanc. “But with this park here there really is no reason to go anywhere else.”
He’s right. The park is good enough to be worth the trip to Aspen anytime of the year. But be warned, this is not a street style skate park. In fact, there is only one rail and no real pyramids or other easily flippable terrain. This park is all about line and flow and is populated by a tight crew of old-schoolers who bomb all over the place at mach seven.
The 17,000 square foot park was built and designed by Team Pain and is futher evidence that the crew is continuing to fine tune their skills. On the far end is the clover bowl: a beautiful pool structure with round side bowls and a square nine-foot deep vert bowl with perfectly shaped corners. The main area has endless line possibilities with a pool wall extension (with tile and pool coping), a square bowl with a spine, an escalator, and second spine that connects to a mini-bowl. There are no fences nor supervision so it’s good to go any time of the day.
According to Aspen Skiing Company’s Melissa Rhines this park was a long time coming, “Locals have been trying to this park built for eight years,” Rhines says. “Every summer it would be discussed and then moved to the back burner only to come back again the next summer. Finally, local skaters Jesse Davis and Greg Leblanc put together a proposal with picture boards and took Aspen mayor Rachel Richards to lunch. She was so impressed that she got behind the project. That’s how it began”
While outdoor skateparks in mountain towns have problems with snow during the heart of the winter, Aspen locals were able to keep at least part of the park open last winter. “We kept the bowl dug out and clean until the first week of January,” Leblanc said. “Then we lost it to snow for two months.”
With this skatepark Aspen is joining Colorado’s skatepark charge. With this addition it looks like Colorado may supplant Oregon as the number one skate park destination and is certainly enough reason to do your spring and fall snowboarding in Aspen next year.
The park is scheduled to have it’s grand opening sometime in mid May and Concrete Challenge organizer Adam Longnecker liked the park so much that he’s made it the August 25-26 stop on the 2001 Concrete Challenge tour.
For more information on Aspen go to http://www.aspensnowmass.com/