Sights from the 5th annual Chris Ferris Memorial Skate Comp |

Sights from the 5th annual Chris Ferris Memorial Skate Comp

The new Breckenridge skatepark was the place to be on Aug. 29 when it hosted the fifth-annual Chris Ferris Memorial Skate Contest. The contest has been a big part of the local skate community since it’s inception, held to honor and celebrate the life of the late Chris Ferris, the former owner of Big Hit skateshop.

Last summer, the event skipped a year due to the construction of the town’s new skatepark, making this year a special one that saw the most competitors and attendees to date, including an appearance from Denver snowboard legend Marc Frank Montoya. Members of the Ferris family were also on hand, including Ferris’ mother, who flew in to see the dedication of the park’s brand-new big bowl. There were many reasons to celebrate: her son’s new namesake bowl, nearly-perfect weather and high-level riding from local skaters, some of whom have competed in every Ferris skate contest.

The day saw skate contests held on various sections of the park for skaters of all ages. The highlight was watching the open division — the best skaters — christen the newly dedicated big bowl.

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I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a session in a big skate bowl, but it is a sight to behold. People surrounded the deck to watch the show, while skaters smacked their skateboards on the ground with approval and excitement anytime a feat was pulled off. Some of these kids I’ve watched grow over the years. They have become so good, it’s baffling. I’ve watched the older guys for just as long, and they continue to progress and inspire.

Skateboarding and snowboarding are unlike other sports in that both are based around individual achievement, with a communal celebration of those achievements. If someone lands a trick or gets excited watching someone else, the collective benefits. For more on that, I suggest watching the TedTalks by legendary skateboarder Rodney Mullen. In this case, the achievements of Chris Ferris brought the community together in celebration — a day to honor his life and legacy and impact.

I once met Ferris there at his shop off Main Street in Breckenridge, where he was always surrounded by friends, family and fellow skaters and snowboarders. He once even built a short-lived mini-ramp in the shop, which is something of a dream within a dream for any shop owner. I was lucky enough to be part of a Big Hit advertisement, with a clip of me hitting a jump in the now-defunct Country Boy park. This was my first “shot” of anything in Colorado, and I was so grateful.

Ferris was always their to encourage the youth, just like he encouraged me. He had a knowledge and love you simply can not fake. It must be earned through a life of dedication. The beauty of the Ferris legacy is this: what he got from skateboarding and snowboarding, he gave back to future generations. Even in his passing, he continues to do so.

The expression “Ferris Lives” has come to represent his legacy, and his presence was evident at the skatepark that Saturday on the faces of all who were there. He would have loved to see the world-class park and thriving skate community here in Summit.

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