By Andrew Mitchell
There’s no question that skateboarders love the indoor skateboard park at Franz’s Trail, on the P3 level of the parking garage. Given to skateboarders by Whistler-Blackcomb in 2005 and built up by the skaters themselves, the park is free, open all night, and indoors, allowing it to be open all year, rain or shine.
But there’s also no question that skateboarders have loved the facility to death. The particleboard that lines the bowl has been almost completely chipped away from heavy use, while the ramp beside it is close to being unusable. Other features of the park are also showing signs of wear and tear.
The Whistler Skateboard Association, which was created to administer the skatepark — as well as provide a voice for skateboarding in Whistler — is planning to completely refurbish the park. It will be an expensive fix, but by using the right materials it should last for at least five years.
“Right now we’re looking to spread the word to get everyone to come out to our next board meeting, and to help us assemble a dedicated and experienced crew to rebuild the ramps and bowl,” said association president Lenny Rubinovitch.
“Because of the abuse it gets the hardwood doesn’t really stand up. To build something that lasts we’re going to have to use Skatelite, which is the toughest surface you can buy but it’s pretty expensive — about $150 a sheet.”
Through a series of local fundraisers, the Whistler Skateboard Association has enough in the bank to pay to fix the bowl, as well as a $10,000 grant from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation once the association finalizes its paperwork.
Rubinovitch is hoping to get started on the repair work as soon as possible, ordering the materials after the next board meeting in early January. As with the original park, the association is going to rely on volunteer expertise to get most of the work completed.
He’s not sure how long it is going to take, but assures the skatepark community that the resurfacing will be completed as soon as possible.
“We know it’s been frustrating for everyone to see the ramps in this condition, and we all want it resurfaced. It’s going to happen,” he said. “Right now it’s a matter of getting the stuff together, the build crew assembled and Skatelite delivered, and it should be back in shape in no time.
“I know a lot of skaters are counting on that park for the winter.”
Skatelite surface sheets are a combination of natural and synthetic materials that are weather resistant and extremely durable. The sheets are also exceptionally smooth, which is why they are used by most major competitions, like X Games.