Cultivating the gentler side of skateboarding |

Cultivating the gentler side of skateboarding

SUMMIT COUNTY – Skateboarding is sometimes labeled a misfit sport, its participants inhabiting a fringe of youth culture.

That’s part of the story, said local skateboarding coach Angus Morrison, but there’s a kinder, gentler side. And that’s what Morrison and Gregg Davis hope to cultivate this summer as coaches of the Summit County Skate Team.

The team is re-forming for its second season this summer with a $5,500 Summit Foundation grant. For Morrison and Davis, the trick will be to respect the soulful roots of the sport while simultaneously coaxing a culture of camaraderie among the 12 chosen teammates.

“Skateboarding is not a very nice sport,” Morrison said. “Companies try to push this hard, dark side. That’s one part of it. But we want the kids to be nice to each other and to help each other.”

The application deadline is July 3, and the team is looking for 12 local children between the ages of 10 and 15 who need it the most.

“We’re looking for kids who aren’t involved in a lot of other extra-curricular activities,” said Breckenridge Recreation Coordinator Diane McBride, who, along with Silverthorne Recreation Coordinator Joanne Breigenzer, secured the Summit Foundation funds. “We’re looking for kids who have a genuine interest in skateboarding and who can commit to (the program).”

The team does demand a big commitment. It will practice four days a week at the Silverthorne and Breckenridge skateparks. Friday will be a travel day, when the group will drive to a Front Range skatepark. On Saturdays, it will compete in the Mountain Madness Series, which stops in Breck July 19 and in Silverthorne July 26.

The state grant the team used in its first year – called the Tony Grampsas grant – was cut this year. But the Summit Foundation came through with funds for this summer’s team. The money will pay for coaches Morrison and Davis, who are returning from last year, and for travel expenses. For the dozen kids selected, the program is completely free.

With the grant money comes a responsibility for the skaters. They will be asked not only to attend all the practices and field trips, but also to maintain an encouraging, positive attitude.

“We try to get the kids to mentor each other,” Morrison explained. “It doesn’t matter if you’re having trouble at home or having trouble learning a trick, your friend talking to you could be the most important thing, so we really try to encourage encouragement and camaraderie.”

Call the rec centers at (970) 453-1734 (Breckenridge) or (970) 262-7370 (Silverthorne) for application forms.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at

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