Trinidad Skate Park
Does the idea of a family vacation scare the bejeebers out of you? When your teenager demands to bring his or her skateboard along does it worry you that he or she will sulk and mope around, making your time off miserable because there’s no place other than busy parking lots to ride their board? When packing, are you tired of finding a niche for that board that just gets moved in and out of the trunk and never gets used? Do you wonder how you’re going to be able to enjoy historic sites and museums, do some shopping, or have a few quiet moments to lounge by the hotel pool, and at the same time find something for your teens to be happy about? Well, wonder no longer. Pack up that car, put that board in a place of honor, and head for Historic Trinidad, CO. Just moments away from many of the hotels in town, and within walking distance of the Best Western/Trinidad Inn on the old Santa Fe Trail lays one of the least known wonders of the world. It is THE place for your teens to wear themselves out in blissful amazement and complete contentment.
The road to Trinidad’s Skatepark began several years ago when a group of local kids, tired of skating in their own driveways, and getting in trouble for taking their boards to the streets of downtown, began to campaign for somewhere to call their own. They formed a group of Trinidad area skaters and cyclists, and called themselves RIP for “Ride In Peace”. Jeff Gibson, the young man who is credited with starting it all, contacted an adult friend and said to her, “…we need a skate park.” After asking what a skate park was she decided to join the kids and rally support for the project. After seeing the wisdom in having a local place for the kids to skate without hassle she took up the torch, and went to the city administrators in an earnest effort to get something done. With continued vigilance and a heartfelt commitment to making things happen, she, and another prominent Trinidad woman were instrumental in persuading the city to build the skate park. The RIP group began to raise funds, and with support from family, friends, and local businesses their efforts eventually resulted in the design and building of the park just south of the Community Center.
The 15,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Skatepark was nearly three years in planning and construction. The $205,000 Skatepark was funded with a $130,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant which was funded with lottery money, $35,000 from the city of Trinidad, $30,000 from in-kind private donations and nearly $10,000 raised from the Ride In Peace members.
Built in 2003 by Grindline Skateparks, Inc. of Seattle, WA, Trinidad now hosts one of the top ten best public skateboarding parks in the world, and the very best skatepark in the state of Colorado. Skaters and cyclists alike enjoy the drop-ins that vary from one foot to ten feet, and several bowls with verts that range in size from three feet to ten feet. The bowls are lined by a street style course so it mixes the two main aspects of skating, street and verts, together in one skatepark. The surface of shotcrete is so smooth that you can slide down the walls and not scratch your body. Using the shotcrete construction for those intricate, swooping forms skateboarders love so much also minimizes the friction on the board wheels and makes the skating a much smoother and more professional ride.
Grindline (www.grindline.com) is an internationally known company that offers a full range of low-priced Skatepark Design and Construction Services. They advertise themselves as a one-stop shop, offering engineering and architectural services as well as construction General Contracting. Their skatepark portfolio not only includes skateparks throughout the state of Colorado, but spans the globe from Orcas Island, Washington to Okinawa, Japan. The number one reason Grindline is so successful in designing and building skateparks is because the company was founded by a skater, and everyone who works there is also a skater, so they truly know what they’re doing. The multi-million dollar business founded by Mark Hubbard and business partner Chris Hildebrand in 1992 knows what skaters want, and designs courses that appeal to a wide range of skaters.
Today, Trinidad’s Skatepark is used by skaters of all ages and abilities. It is not uncommon to see helmeted adults and senior citizens as well as padded and helmeted toddlers sharing the runs or the ups and downs of the cement curves, or trying their luck on the long and snaking grinding rails. If you look and listen carefully you may be able to hear accents from different places all over the world, all exclaiming with jubilant expression how incredibly ‘cool’ this park is, and how skating ‘the world’s longest grind on the 120-foot wall’ is “so gnarly”.
There is no estimate available of how many people use the skate park each year, but it is known that skaters as far away as Australia come here to enjoy our park. In the first month after its March 2003 dedication Trinidad Skatepark averaged more than 70 BMX cyclists, in-line skaters, and skateboarders from throughout the Southern Colorado-Northern New Mexico region each weekend, and about 50 each weeknight. The numbers have only increased in the three years the skatepark has been operating. Because of its success and the amount of users the Skatepark is now undergoing an expansion to add new amenities such as shade structures, restrooms, more benches, sidewalks, grass areas, grinding rails, a pyramid, and a flat surface for beginners to try simple street skating activities.
Funded with another Great Outdoors Colorado grant the expansion also includes the completion of the adjacent disk golf course just to the east of the skatepark. This disc golf course, which is a fast growing sport throughout the country, was designed with professional disk golf players’ input. The nine basket disk golf course will incorporate different sizes and weights for participants’ growing competitions. The added disk course, and the expansion of the current Skatepark will give families even more reason to vacation in our city.
Pro skaters are putting Trinidad, CO and our skate park on their itineraries and show up, not only from Australia, but from Canada and England as well as from NY, FL, OR, CA, and several other states to take part in one of the two main skate fests of the year.
In May the Droppin’ In Skate Shop in Trinidad sponsors a great Funfest for kids and adults alike. Mirek Maez and his family, owners of the Droppin’ In admittedly have connections all over the world with famous skaters. Mr. Maez has been instrumental in bringing Tony Hawk and several others to Trinidad for special Skating events including the Funfest. The 2006 festival on May 14th will include Pro demonstrations, shows for the kids, plenty of free giveaways, plenty of free riding, and an evening party at The Brewery on Commercial Street in Trinidad for the adults. The Droppin In also sponsors another special event with Pro skaters in August which includes workshops, hints and tips for participants and plenty of fun and free stuff. For more information on special events at the Trinidad Skatepark call Droppin In Skate Shop @ 719-846-8340
Trinidad’s state of the art skatepark is mostly maintained by the users of the park under the direction of an active adult citizen of Trinidad. Because the park offers a safe community place to hang out, residents and visitors alike keep the park clean, friendly, and well kept. Trinidad’s Parks and Recreation department comes once a week to clean up and haul trash away that the skaters deposit in one of the trash bins on site.
The skatepark’s regulations are simple and respectful.
Use the park at your own risk. Skate within your abilities and have fun.
Use of safety equipment including helmets, knee and elbow pads, wrist supports, and proper shoes is required and must be worn at all times.
All users are responsible for providing their own equipment and ensuring that it is maintained and in good working order.
Pegs on bicycles MUST be Skate Park friendly, rounded at the ends to protect the surface of the facility (plastic covers preferred).
Profanity, recklessness, and rowdy behavior are prohibited.
No modifications to the Skate Park or makeshift items allowed on, or in, the premises.
Skating is allowed only in authorized areas.
Respect the neighborhood and avoid excessive noise. Loud music will not be tolerated at ANY TIME.
Keep food and beverages off the skating surface and use the trash cans.
No tobacco, alcohol, or glass containers.
Spectators should observe from outside the skating area.
Keep Our Skate Park Clean.
Hours of permitted use are 8AM to 10PM.
In case of an emergency dial 911
The City of Trinidad reserves the right to revoke use of the site privileges for individuals that do not follow park regulations.
Skateboarding is a sport and culture that has always embraced individuality and independence from the constraints of society. It offers children a place to belong when nowhere else seems to embrace them. Looking beyond the unorthodox clothing styles, the jibe language, and the whirring wheels we find that skaters can walk into most any place with a skateboard under their arm, and automatically begin making friends and finding a place to belong. So mom and dad, put your fears aside, get out those suitcases, pack up the kids and their skateboards and head to Trinidad where you and your kids can have the vacation of a lifetime.
Directions: To get to the Trinidad Skateboard Park exit I-25 at Main Street (exit 13A.) Turn right at the stop sign on Santa Fe Trail Drive by Sonic. Go to Jefferson, the fourth street on the left, and turn left. There will be signs here for the Community Center and the Skate Park. Turn right at the second right and stay left for approximately 500 feet.
You can’t miss it. Have fun!
Compiled and Written by Meta Porter, MsD