Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk recently made a record donation to a city in dire need of a silver lining. The Tony Hawk Foundation has never before given such a large donation to one particular location. The foundation gave $30,000 to help build a skate oasis at Ride It Sculpture Park. The Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 to help fund high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States. The foundation has contributed more than $4.4 million in skatepark projects since 2002.
The Ride It Sculpture Park was started in 2012 but it needed a little more capital than the creators had available. Hawk visited Detroit and saw that the park would be a great addition to a city needing its spirits lifted. The park sits on four vacant commercial lots along East Davison Freeway in Detroit and an adjacent vacant house that will serve as a mini-indoor park and lodging for visiting skateboarders and artists. The combination of art and skateboarding is not new, but the park in Detroit hopes to offer a unique lure to a neighborhood where many people are leaving. With a place to draw creative minds and active bodies, the Tony Hawk Foundation hopes that this will bring a silver lining to the neighborhood.
Hawk wanted kids to have a safe place where they are encouraged to do what they enjoy. With no place to ride, kids get scolded for skating on private property or in other public areas. With a safe place dedicated to skateboarders, the foundation hopes that kids will be able to enjoy their ride time and community members will appreciate the dedicated area.
If you’re sick of riding the same local parks day after day, or just need a vacation, check out a few of the world’s best skate parks. You can quench your wanderlust and need to skate all in one trip by visiting one of these destinations. Whether you’re craving the ocean and sunshine of the Cayman Islands, or the rich history and culture of China – there’s a park out there that you must ride.
- Micropolis in Helsinki, Finland. This park is as much a visually appealing piece of architecture as it is a skate park. Built to blend with the design of the city, many passers-by don’t even realize that it’s a park. Designed by architect and professional skater Janne Sarrio, this park is located in downtown Helsinki and has won many design awards.
- SMP in Shanghai, China. The SMP brand has created a mammoth park that hosts the Shanghai Showdown Gravity Games. The park, designed by Darren White, has a specific competition area, separate from the many bowls, vert ramps, stairs and street plaza areas.
- Stoke Plaza in Stoke-on-Trent, U.K. This street-style park is the largest in Europe and draws riders from across many countries. Unlike many major skating attractions, this park is free to ride. With plenty of ledges, banks, steps, handrails and quarterpipes, this park can certainly fill its own shoes.
- Black Pearl in Grand Harbor, Cayman Islands. This is the biggest park in the Western Hemisphere and second largest in the world. Grab a surfboard and ride some waves during the day to beat the summer heat and hit the park at night. With a beautiful backdrop, all skaters, from beginners to pros, can stay entertained at this park for days.
- Lincoln City in Oregon. This park is like five in one and Thrasher Magazine even called it “The Gnarliest Skatepark in the World.” Dreamland Skateparks continued adding on to this park to offer variety and challenge to any skater who enters.
If you’re itching to see what the Olympics will bring this year, you’re not alone. Although snowboarding was only introduced to the winter Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, Japan, the sport has gained a strong following and expanded the reach of the Olympic Games. With plenty of snow sport options, snowboarding just added to the list, but
The 2014 course in Sochi will not disappoint those who are lucky enough to ride and will thrill everyone watching. With three jib sections and three jumps that get progressively bigger, this is the first time a slopestyle event has made it to the Olympics. The vertical drop slope profile is 495 feet, the course is 2,083 feet long and 82 to 98 feet wide. As competitors ride through the course they are faced with obstacles to show off their skills. They will be judged based on their transitions between elements as well as their ability to concur the jibs and jumps with style.
The only thing that may put a damper on this course is the amount of snow available. The last proposed slopestyle event was canceled due to warm, rainy weather that couldn’t maintain the snow. The course will be constructed by the Freestyle and Snowboard staff of the Russian Federation and will be ready for riders on February 8 when the men will take to the course, followed by the women on February 9.
If your tried and true slope spot isn’t getting you going like it used to, you might need to start upping your game. Or maybe you just need a little jolt to your routine. Pack your bags and head to one of these extreme snowboard destinations that are sure to make your heart beat a little faster.
Whether you’re there for the thrill or are training for something in particular, check one some of these destinations to get your blood flowing again:
- Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia. The best meets the extreme with this resort. With the largest drop and steepest inbound terrain of any resort, this is for thrill-seeking boarders. Because Canada is relatively easy to travel to, you get an out-of-this-world experience without having to spend your life’s savings of airfare.
- Antarctica. While this may not be very practical, the adventure would certainly be extreme. Plenty of mad men have made the trek to the frigid hills, where you’ll need to be an expert climber as well as an extremely skilled rider to leave the continent in one piece. If you’re ready for some serious adventure and you have more money than you know what to do with, then why not take the trip?
- Chacaltaya, Bolivia. This is the world’s highest resort at an elevation of 5,400 meters above sea level. At this height you won’t be able to have the most eventful ride of your life without an oxygen tank, but you will be able to check another extreme off your list.
- Buttermilk, Colorado. If you want to stay in the U.S. to get your thrills, try out a few Colorado legends. The X Games team has jumped over the gaps and rode the step-downs that are made in this park. While the crew tones down the park for the daring riders, they still are encouraged to create heart-pumping trails where they use everything they can get their hands on to keep riders guessing.
- Mammoth Mountain, California. You don’t have to flee the country to find some truly unique parks. While you may not be outrunning an avalanche, this park will have you jibbing on some seriously strange things like a wrecking ball or satellite dish. If you’re still learning how to up your ante, you can visit the Mambo park side, where the same features will be toned down for a learning curve.
Think it’s too early to be hitting the slopes? Not at Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake, Calif. The Hot Dawgz and Handrails event has been going on for 10 years now and each year is a fun way to kick off the season. What better way to get riders ready to buy their season passes than to start the So-Cal season off with a party?
The event features over 50 of the top jibbers in snowboarding, over 130 tons of snow, the Red Bull tour bus, live music, food and drink specials, freebies, giveaways and the cheapest season passes of the year. Not bad for an event that started with one rail in the parking lot. Now pro riders flock to compete at The Scene at Bear Mountain and vie for $15,000.
Tommy Gesme took top honors this year followed by Dillon Ojo in second place and Jordan Smalls with 3rd, while Jaeger Bailey took home best trick and Melissa Evans took the top spot for the women. The competition was webcast live for riders who couldn’t make it out watch the excitement of the little competition that has garnered quite the following in its 10 years. Honorable mention goes out to our very own Andrew Brewer who was out there killing it as well.