Brian Ball is the co-owner of Square State Skate in Lafayette. Square State Skate offers lessons, camps and clubs. If you’re not comfortable on your board, are still learning the lingo or are just learning to ride that board, give them a call at 720.999.4513.
“What park should we go to on Friday?” Neil and I pondered as we planned our summer program.
“Should we indulge in Lafayette’s many obstacles, investigate Longmont’s big, open design or challenge ourselves to find something worthwhile at Superior’s Rock Creek Skatepark?”
“I’m still nursing this ‘swellbow’ from the last visit to Loveland…”
“And Fort Collins’ skate-Mecca is just a little too far…”
“Maybe we should let the kids decide,” we finally agreed.
Colorado boasts the second most skateparks per capita in the union, behind only Oregon. There are nearly 200 parks in our state, with new ones popping up faster than pimples on the average teen skater’s face. Right now, almost every exit off of Hwy. 36 between Denver and Boulder can lead you to a skatepark. Of course, not every one of these parks is worth visiting. Some of them, in fact, are absolute wastes of time and public money. As a lifelong skater who grew up without many parks, it’s incredibly frustrating to finally see municipalities believing in the need for skateparks only to have them turn their backs on the needs of skaters when it comes to planning and building. That is why Yellow Scene and Lafayette’s Square State Skate present this…your North Metro Skatepark Guide.
Thornton Community Park (Zuni)
Zuni is a smaller park with a pretty standard design from a generic non-skater-owned builder. It’s got some banks, some small transitions and a lot of stairs and ledges that lead to nowhere. Not a very good park for going fast or doing “lines.” There is, however, a small “kiddie” part that is fun and great for beginners.
Design and Construction: Average
Flow: Not so much
Fun Factor: Smiles to be found in the kiddie section
Crash-Up Derby Factor: Yeah, watch for bikes, scooters and ICP fans!
Wacky Factor: Again, watch for ICP fans
Westminster Skatepark (Westy)
This park boasts one of the biggest and most challenging bowls on the Front Range. It’s 10 feet at its deepest and has pool coping, steps, a love seat, hips and waterfalls. Most people, though, avoid it like the plague and would rather spend their time on the back-and-forth “street” section that has a couple of stairs, a few rails and some wacky ledges.
Design and Construction: Leaves a little to be desired
Flow: Back and forth…wait in line
Kids Stuck In The Bowl Factor: High
With one of the newer parks and a great core skateshop in the area, Broomfield has a nice, budding skate scene. The new park (which resides where “The Cage” used to be) was built by skater-owned Team Pain and is a fun place that even has lights. There is a “streetscape” filled with lots of ledges, some banks and a brick ¼ pipe. The bowls are fast, fun and challenging.
Design and Construction: Top notch but not very big
Fun Factor: High
Crash-Up Derby Factor: Lots of bikes
Old Guy Factor: Yeah, good parks bring out the seniors
Longmont Sandstone Ranch Skatepark
Big park with a lot of big obstacles. Not so friendly for beginners, but one of the best parks to view a sunset while skating. The bowls are challenging, and the stairs and ledges are pretty big. Bikes seem to like this place a lot.
Design and Construction: Great on paper
Fun Factor: Late lights…fun at night
Wacky Factor: I’ve learned a lot of new “colorful” words while skating here.
A lot of planning went into this park. Unfortunately, too many hands in the pot resulted in the product not living up to the hopes. Despite that, Louisville has a young crop of kids that frequent this park and have made it the fun spot that it is. Since it’s not a traditionally “good” park, it’s generally not very crowded. Lights make for fun, mellow night sessions.
Design and Construction: Should have gone with a skater-owned company!
Fun Factor: With the right crowd, it can be a blast
Litter Bug Factor: High
In stark contrast to Louisville lays the latest and greatest park in the Front Range: the new Lafayette Skatepark. Constructed by Team Pain, it offers something for everyone. With that, you’ll generally find everyone there. New skaters, old skaters, still even older skaters, bikers, scooterers, remote control cars, kite fliers, unicyclists, pogo sticks, land sharks and teenagers just hanging out. The obstacles are fun, challenging and well built. Getting to them can be the issue.
Design and Construction: One of the best in the state
Fun Factor: Get there early before the crowds and you can enjoy everything
Crash-Up Derby Factor: Very high. Watch your kid. This park is a terrible babysitter!
Wacky Factor: With the best parks come some of the worst crowds
Don’t just take our word for it…go skate! Find your grind. Go try out your free, municipally funded skateparks. New parks are under construction in Northglenn and Arvada, too. Erie is getting its park soon.