New Frisco Skatepark celebrated as special in Colorado skateboard community
As skatepark designer Billy Coulon dug out his company’s latest park from an excavator in a remote location Friday in Montana, he waxed poetic about one of his latest concrete playgrounds.
“It was a wonderful project,” the Evergreen Skateparks founder said. “I think about it all the time. I can’t wait to make it back. It is my favorite.”
The project Coulon was referring to is the town of Frisco’s new 28,000-square-foot skate park at the Frisco Adventure Day Park on the Peninsula Recreation Area. During the few weeks it’s been open, the park has essentially gone viral, but in the old fashioned way. Skaters all around the state, and even beyond, have sung the praises of the expansive, flowy park — one with seemingly endless options of lines linked between a street section, pockets of transition elements and the park’s crown jewel: the flow bowl.
Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, the first skateboarders to ride the park told their friends about it, those friends told their pals, and before long, there are semipro skateboarders from Colorado Springs road-tripping up to the Rockies for a weekend getaway.
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“The word travels fast,” said Chris Landry, a longtime Summit County local and member of the area’s skateboard community.
Landry can speak to just how special this park is for Summit County within the state’s skateboard scene. A resident here for the past two decades and a skateboarder since 1984, Landry has DJed and emceed many skateboard competitions and events at the county’s three skateboard parks — Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne — through the years. The Copper Mountain resident was a regular at the old Frisco skatepark, a 10,000-square-foot complex that was known to have all above-ground features, namely a pair of halfpipes built with a traditional Masonite surface. For years, Landry said that within the Summit County skating scene, the park unofficially was regarded as the “kids park.”
“Which sounds a little demeaning,” Landry said. “But, basically, a lot of us older guys who skate really aggressive and hard, it was really limited as far as what you could do with the small ramps there and everything. And with quite a few kids, it could get dangerous at times. One person could skate the ramp at a time.”
To Landry, the old Frisco skatepark was what it was: an average-sized park more suited for kids and halfpipe riders that didn’t really differentiate itself from its peers. Which led the town and its skateboard community into the brainstorming process of what they wanted the future of the Frisco park, and the town’s skateboard scene, to be.
Breckenridge local Ginger Ebbinghaus, a Summit County resident who came here 28 years ago for snowboarding and has stayed for skateboarding, played a pivotal part in putting things into place for the town of Frisco. Ebbinghaus, who currently leads the town’s summer skateboard camps, was tasked during the town’s request-for-proposal process with looking at different companies that could come in and build the park. Being one of the lead people to make sure the town got the best park it could was the equivalent of a dream assignment for Ebbinghaus, who was part of the county’s skateboard scene long before there were three renowned parks in Summit.
With Ebbinghaus’ knowledge, the town soon paired up with Evergeen out of Portland, Oregon. Coulon, the founder, estimated the company constructs a dozen parks a year, typically two at a time. As part of the design process, Coulon attended a community meeting where locals like Landry provided their input. Landry said that during that time there were different desires expressed by varying members of the community. There were some older, more-skilled riders who desired steeper transitions and more epic features that might be less friendly to beginners or children. Then there were those who wanted to keep a halfpipe, similar to the old park, because that’s what Frisco was known for. And there was talk about a trade-off between more freestanding, aggressive features versus the benefits of more connected features.
Through the process, Landry said, it became clear the new Frisco park would be one with that flow bowl nucleus serving transition to other portions of the park, such as a distinct street section with features such as a rainbow rail. And, in the end, Landry, Ebbinghaus and Coulon all agree what the park became is the best of all desires. Call it a concrete compromise.
“For example,” Landry said, “what they’ve done with the street section, they’ve built some really nice rails, ledges, bank ramps — things of a different nature that can cater to any kind of skateboarder because there tends to be street skater faction and bowl rider-type guys. And I think this park brings those two worlds together while still separating street from bowl stuff, but you can access it all.”
The feedback Landry has received from some of his friends in Colorado Springs is that the centralized Flow Bowl setup surrounded by bumpy terrain allows skateboarders to ride almost all afternoon without repeating the same lines. It has the kind of feel that “you could make your own line as you go.” The reviews so far are that the park truly is something different than almost any other in Colorado.
Reflecting back on the entire process, Coulon described building Frisco in two segments. The first involved utilizing, or recycling, the slab on which the previous 10,000-foot park sat. Working with that slab, Coulon said his team last summer and fall cut in and added about 3,000 square feet of obstacles. As for the new, 18,000-square-foot expansion, Coulon said the company thoroughly thought out every square inch of what would become the company’s largest park build to date.
Sitting in that excavator somewhere in Montana, Coulon was confident Evergreen succeeded on its vision for the town of Frisco and Summit County’s skateboard scene. Then, he got back to work.
“I’m more proud of that park than any project I’ve ever worked on,” he said.
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