Goodbye snow, hello concrete: As ski season melts away in Garfield County, skatepark days start the grind |

Goodbye snow, hello concrete: As ski season melts away in Garfield County, skatepark days start the grind

Mason Clark rolls up a large quarter pipe ramp at Glenwood Springs Skatepark on March 18.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

Despite living in Western Slope high country, Mason Clark doesn’t snowboard that much.

Boots, bindings and a board cost a lot.

A lift ticket can cost a full day’s pay for some folks.

Clark has instead embraced a lifelong hobby both more frugal and, debatably, more exhilarating: skateboarding. And with six free-admission skateparks in Garfield County, Clark hasn’t had to spend too much money doing so either.

The hardware itself is also considerably less expensive than most other weekend warrior habits. Go to your local skate shop, and there’s a good chance you’ll spend less than $130 on a complete set — deck, grip tape, trucks, wheels, bearings and all.

“I just got this hardware from Zumiez,” Clark said. “This is all just random parts thrown together to make a skateboard.”

At the entrance of Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs on a breezy March 18 evening, Clark joined friend and freestyle rollerblader Tanner Simonds.

Simonds also lives in Glenwood Springs. The 20-year-old ski rental technician has rollerbladed for nearly half his life.

“When I grew up, everybody skated, and I just wanted to do something different, and it kind of caught my eye when I was younger,” Simonds said. “It translated really well for skiing and other stuff that I already did.”

Tanner Simonds twists through the air while performing a trick at Glenwood Springs Skatepark on March 18.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

With his board, Clark pumped up a massive quarterpipe and landed what they call “Rock and Rolls” with his front truck past the coping.

With his blades, Simonds gathered enough speed to launch off a nearby bank and spin a 360 in midair.

“It’s a sport you don’t have to rely on anyone else,” Clark said. “You can just be good on your own. It’s based on you, and it’s fun to do.”

Glenwood Springs’ skatepark has undergone two makeovers since it first opened over 30 years ago.

In 1987, the city opened the first park with ramps made of plywood.

By 1998, those ramps were replaced by prefabricated ramps.

In 2007, the skatepark graduated to concrete.

Skate, BMX and freestyle rollerblade culture is quite thick in Garfield County.

It may be a little overlooked considering ski and snowboarding take the cake in Colorado high country, but there are more places to skate here than there are places to shred corduroy runs.

Tanner Simonds uses a skateboard deck to apply wax to a grind rail at Glenwood Springs Skatepark on March 18.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

“Skateboarding is huge here,” Simonds said. “I mean, the fact that it’s a Friday, and the park’s dry, and it’s not packed is kind of astounding.”

Parachute and Battlement Mesa have a simple and basic street-style park. Rifle has a concrete park full with bowls, transitions and decent street terrain.

Silt has a colony of pre-fab ramps — including a mini-ramp — flanked by flatground boxes, benches and a manual pad.

The Hogback Skatepark in New Castle, also concrete, has a couple nice bank-to-grind-wall transitions, including two mini bowls.

Among them all, however, Simonds said Carbondale has one of the most legendary skateparks. This concrete beauty has in the past been highlighted by famous skateboard magazine Thrasher.

“It’s a huge, huge, complete bowl,” he said. “It’s got like a 24-foot full pipe.”

Attached to any mention of Carbondale’s skatepark is a man named Chris Johnson, who hosts the Bonedale Sk8 Revival competition in the summer.

“He does all the skate schools in Carbondale,” Simonds said.

Mason Clark rolls across concrete at the Glenwood Springs Skatepark on March 18.
Ray K. Erku / Post Independent

When it comes to beginners trying to learn what to do on a board or blades, Simonds said not to be afraid to approach anyone at the park who might seem intimidating.

“We kind of have this reputation of kind of being not the nicest of people,” Simonds said. “But, honestly, like if you walked up to Mason here and you’re like, ‘Yo, can you teach me how to kickflip?’ He’d spend 15 minutes working with you, no questions asked.”

Just before the two continued their skate session, Simonds and Clark said they’re looking forward to having fun all spring and summer at the skatepark.

“That’s the goal, right?” said Clark.


Parachute/Battlement Mesa Park

Location: Saddleback Recreational Area, 68 Tamarisk Trail, Battlement Mesa

How much: Free

Rifle Skatepark

Location: Metro Park, 200 E. 16th St., Rifle

How much: Free

Silt Skatepark

Location: Stoney Ridge Pavilion Park, 648 N. Seventh St.

How much: Free

Hogback Skatepark

Location: Castle Valley Boulevard, New Castle

How much: Free

Glenwood Springs Skatepark

Location: Two Rivers Park, 740 Devereux Road

How much: Free

Carbondale Sk8 Park

Location: Colorado Highway 133 on Meadowood Drive

How much: Free

Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or

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