Bringing the team concept to skateboarding
SUMMIT COUNTY – There is not a more individual sport than skateboarding. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for teams.
In fact, the number of skate teams in Summit County has gone from one to three in the last two years.
A Big Hit skate shop in Breck sponsors the county’s oldest team. Last year, the Summit County Skate Team formed out of the Breckenridge Recreation Center and now, Silverthorne’s new skate shop, The Grind, has recruited three skaters to represent the shop.
The shop-based squads are there to promote a business, but they also help to promote positivity in a sometimes attitude-heavy sport.
“I wanted it to be something that was fun to be a part of,” said A Big Hit owner Chris Ferris, who has been sponsoring skaters for six years. “I want them to feel like they’re part of something positive. I don’t get a whole lot out of it. I’m not really concerned about that. I just feel like, when they represent me, they might make better decisions.”
Team A Big Hit consists of Alejandro Tovar, Madison Ellsworth, Rod Carter, Jake Darling, Zach Rawles, Ethan Mason, Jeremiah Worm and Mark Liscak.
The team from The Grind is newer and smaller. The skate shop opened in May and quickly formed a three-man team around Lance Machado. Daniel Finholm and Evan Sandsmark are the other two members.
Generally, in the summer, the trio is either at the skatepark or at the shop. They are not traditional employees, but they do help out with customers. They are paid in equipment and clothing discounts and an occasional free board.
They understand that being represented by (and representing) a shop comes with certain responsibilities.
“A lot of kids look up to the shop and us,” Finholm said.
“That’s our main goal is to get kids to want to come here because they like the way we skateboard,” Sandsmark added.
It’s an essential part of the business plan for The Grind owner Robb Monnaville.
“They’re basically like free advertising,” Monnaville said. “I give them what they want. They go out, and they promote the shop for me. They’re in the mix. They’re down at the park with the kids.”
As the shop grows, the team stands to get bigger and better.
“They all hang out together, they skate together and they learn from each other,” Monnaville said. “(Sandsmark and Finholm) are the best on the team, and Lance progresses off of them.”
This is the crux of the season for local skaters. They are between the Breckenridge and Silverthorne stops on the Mountain Madness tour. Breckenridge was last weekend, and Silverthorne is today.
Finholm was third in the Breckenridge street competition. Ellsworth placed first.
Ferris believes part of his role as a sponsor and shop owner is to promote his team members’ skills through his connections in the industry. The more people and companies know about his skaters, the better.
“Their skills get them where they are,” Ferris said. “But I try to be a conduit between the industry and their skills.”
The Summit Skate Team is a different animal than the shop-based teams. It operates through a Summit Foundation grant and offers coaching, camaraderie and competition for 12 local skaters who applied for spots earlier this month.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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