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Skaters with purpose

Jason Starr

SILVERTHORNE – Mark Liscak sat in the afterglow of his win at the Sk8 Over 8,000 Feet Skateboard Competition on Saturday watching kids half his age tear through the skatepark he helped build.

A satisfied smirk graced his face and a big “yeah!” escaped his mouth as an up-and-comer nailed a no-grab transfer during the post-competition skate session.

The victory was nice for Liscak to be sure – it was his second straight on the Mountain Madness tour after last weekend’s win in Breckenridge – but the Silverthorne resident’s soul was warmed more by the energy of the 42 skaters who competed and the thought of how far skateboarding has come in Summit County.

“To see these kids progress,” he said, “that makes me feel better than winning this contest.”

Liscak came to the county when the Breckenridge park was a local skateboarder’s only option. He was part of a group that spearheaded the effort to build a facility in Silverthorne and has since watched the half-acre of undulating cement swell with young, talented skaters.

“These kids weren’t even skateboarding until this park was put in,” Liscak said. “If it wasn’t for my friends and I, this park wouldn’t be here, and these kids wouldn’t be learning all this.”

Liscak’s pride was backed by the fact that the beginner and intermediate categories in Saturday’s competition were the largest, showing that the sport is attracting young, local talent. There were also divisions for advanced, sponsored and female skaters.

The females are in the early stages of a similar growth and evolution. Dana Wissmiller and Dru Adams made up the entire women’s field Saturday.

“You have to do it,” Wissmiller said. “You have to show little girls that they need to start skating. It’s just fun, and I’d like to see a little bit more competition from girls.”

The pair, a school teacher and a waitress, met at the skatepark and together overcame the initial gender barrier.

“We come out here all the time and rally together,” said Adams, who, in the eyes of the judges, out-

skated Wissmiller. “It was intimidating at first, but you get used to it. The guys respect you. They’re stoked to see girls out here skating.”

Madison Ellsworth, who won the street competition last weekend in Breckenridge, won the advanced division on Saturday. Al Brunelle won the intermediate class, and Tyler Pharo took the beginner title.

The best-trick competition, usually decided in a jam format, was contested as part of each skater’s regular run. Jason Martin’s Chicken Wing took the prize. The Chicken Wing is a one-footed aerial move that Martin pushed as far as he could.

“It’s just like a Japan, but I kicked my back foot off,” Martin explained. “I just try to tweak it as far as I can to make it look like I can’t land it.”

But land it he did, and it not only won him best trick, but also helped him place second in the sponsored division.

Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at jstarr@summitdaily.com.


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