Skateboard racing rediscovering its niche |

Skateboard racing rediscovering its niche

Jason Starr

BRECKENRIDGE – In some ways, the sport of skateboard racing is easy to get involved in. In other ways, it’s difficult.

All you need is a well-paved hill and some cones to have a slalom race. But the equipment is not what you’ll find in your local skate shop. A slalom skateboard is different from both a freestyle trick board and a long cruising board. At this point, the internet is the only place to find the right gear (

But that didn’t stop Longmont’s Chris Barker from entering the racing fray this weekend after a youth spent in skate parks.

“This is more thrilling to me than riding in a park or pipe,” Barker said of Saturday’s giant slalom on King’s Crown Road – his first-ever race. “You can go as fast as you want to go. The only limiting factor is you. You’re on the edge, and the consequences are big.”

After two qualifying runs, racers are seeded based on their fastest time. Then the dual, elimination runs begin. Riders go head-to-head in two runs, switching between the two courses. The faster rider over the two runs moves on in a bracket format. Time is deducted for knocked over cones.

A company called Fat City Racing organizes the races. It puts on two types of contests: the giant slalom, like Saturday’s, and the slalom, which will be held today on Adams Ave. Pads and helmets are required, and occasionally, really needed.

There is an open class for amateurs and a pro class, filled largely with holdovers from the old guard, before the sport’s 25-year hiatus.

It’s a much older demographic than what you’ll see in a skatepark on a Saturday afternoon. But a few youngsters participated Saturday.

“Here, people can experience the fun of turning instead of ollieing over everything,” said Fat City Racing’s Jack Smith. “Some of the older guys are really into getting the younger guys going. We try to get younger all the time.”

The sport is not trying to cut into the progressive elements of skateboarding, it just wants to re-establish a niche.

“People don’t know it’s out there,” Barker said. “Some people will never get out of the (skate park). That’s alright. I respect all types of skateboarding.”

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