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skate barnum

Every skater’s dream job By Paul Andrew Last spring when Jim Barnum took on the job of skateboard park co-ordinator for Whistler’s new street-style skateboard park, he was hoping to have a Whistler park to skate in. But Barnum recently took the job one step further when he started his own business of consulting with cities that need advice on how to design a safe and challenging skatepark. Thus, a career almost any self respecting skateboarder would want has now become Barnum’s full-time occupation: Barnum, 25, is now a skatepark consultant and designer. His initiative last year to co-ordinate the new addition to the park between day skier’s parking lot No. 3 and Fitzsimmons Creek has impressed many people in Whistler, and he now gets referrals from local business people and from magazines such as Concrete Powder and Snowboard Canada. "It all started last year when I was asked to do the Whistler park," Barnum said. "People would walk by and say, ‘hey, what are you doing here?’ Then they would say they would like me to help with a park in their municipality." So now Barnum has created his own Web-site, has a list of cities across Canada which are considering a skateboard park, and is earning a reputation for designing world-class skateparks, such as the one in Whistler. Barnum’s computer aided design (CAD), of the new park showed its connection to the skatebowls, which impressed municipal staff. But the long road to completing the park in Whistler is only half-travelled. "This park was actually supposed to be finished last summer. We knew from the start we would have to use shotcrete in there," he said about the quarterpipes in the park. "But we’ve run into a delay because the contractor who committed to the project was too busy to do it. So the July 1 deadline won’t be met. But as soon as we find someone, we’ll get back on track." In the sometimes unscientific world of building skateparks, much improvisation goes into the process after the design is finalized. And in Whistler’s case, the community and volunteer skateboarders have contributed time and sponsorship, and some of the building material has been provided by a few of the local building contractors, making the project more difficult to organize. Still, Barnum has managed to keep it all together. And to make sure he receives the most exposure possible, Barnum became a member of the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association in January. Most municipalities in Canada will keep an eye on the CPRA trade magazine to find out who is out there and available for unique community projects. However, Barnum, who’s been skating for some 15 years and has lived in Whistler for at least half that time, is hoping to spread his wings overseas soon; Korea is calling for prices on parks. But first things first. "This is the first skatepark I’ve ever done," he said about the Whistler park. "And we haven’t made any mistakes. But we do need to find someone who is right for the concrete job. And that might be difficult because everyone is so busy right now."

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