Activism

Share Path Video

This post was originally published in 2012. It’s still relevant today.

We recently contacted City of Calgary aldermen and urged them to watch the video below, titled “Share Path Skate Path“.

The simple fact is, we need more places to skate. Did you know that Calgary has the most extensive pathway network in North America? And skateboarding IS allowed on the pathways, provided all other rules are being followed.

Wouldn’t some little skate spots and skateable art pieces be a nice addition to the pathways?

SHARE PATH SKATE PATH from Skate Sculpture on Vimeo.

 

Skateboard Strategy Update

From the Skateboard Amenities Strategy:

“Currently, The City of Calgary is in need of additional skateboarding area to meet the needs of the skateboarding population. It is recommended that the City develop an additional 243,860 sqft to meet the needs of the current skateboarding population. To meet projected needs of the skateboarding population over the next 10 years, it is estimated that a total of 277,607 sqft be constructed.”

The above image shows the size of the parks built in 2015 and 2016 in square feet. The total is about 50,000. That means we still have a lot more skatepark terrain to go, if we’re sticking with the recommendations of the Strategy.

Click below to read it if you haven’t yet.

 

What Flamingo Girls’ Skateboarding Tour

The ladies from 100% Skate Club are collaborating with artists Eric and Mia for “What Flamingo”, an all girls city-wide skate tour and collection of events.

Beginning on June 21 (Go Skateboarding Day), the ladies will tour Calgary skateparks, host a photo workshop, and premiere a skate video.

Follow 100% Skate Club on Facebook and watch Eric and Mia’s website for updates.

Interview: Marlene Hielema

I met Marlene a few years ago while skating at Millennium. She was skating and shooting photos and I was impressed by how passionate she was for skateboarding.
Some time later I witnessed Marlene speak publicly about her passion for skateboarding. It was a very traditional setting and she brought her skateboard up on stage to the podium. The theme was “joy” and Marlene talked about the joy skateboarding brings her. She said that after many years, she’d finally found her tribe. It was inspiring to hear someone tell a few hundred people how she’d gotten back into skateboarding after many years and felt like she fit in. That’s one of the great things about skateboarding.
–Zev Klymochko, CASE Co-Chair

Where are you from?

I was born in Toronto, but lived in Calgary as a kid and through school. I moved back to Toronto in 1986 to go to Ryerson University and then returned to Calgary in May 2000. Never thought I’d leave TO. But I’m staying here in Calgary now.

How and when did you start skating?

I started skating when I was 13 on one of those banana boards. It was so crappy and wobbly, but I had so much fun on that thing. I lived on a quiet cul de sac in Varsity, so I skated on the street. Our driveway had a good slope to it and it also attached to our neighbour’s driveway, so I went down ours and up theirs and kick turned at the top and did it over and over again for hours every day.

When I was 14 my family went to La Jolla, California for spring break, and that’s when I got a real skateboard. G&S Fibre Flex with Bennett Pro trucks and Road Rider 4 wheels. It cost $75 USD in 1977. That was a lot of money for a kid like me. I don’t think skateboards cost that much in today’s value. I had saved up $45 so my parents had to kick in the extra $30. I still have that setup.

I also built a couple of wooden ramps with scrap wood from some condos that were being built nearby. I stored the ramps on our neighbour’s driveway, as theirs had a flat parking spot at the top, and they were super cool people. One of them is still alive and still lives there! That’s when I fell in love with transition skating. To this day, I still love kick turning on the tranny, as you probably can tell from all the photos of me doing that. Or maybe that’s my only trick.

I understand you stopped skating for a while. What brought you back into it?

Ya, in high school I quit skating for some reason. Probably because I got in a bit of trouble now and again with my best friend (also a skater girl) in grades 8 and 9, so I went to a high school far away from my neighbourhood to break the cycle. I started over. I was pretty quiet and introverted in high school – more like uncomfortable. I should have kept skating as I know that would have helped me through those tough times.

Throughout the years, I occasionally pulled out that vintage Fibre Flex board and my skate sense always came right back.

But I really got back into it four years ago (when I was 50), when my 12 year-old neighbour kid got a longboard for her birthday. I pulled out the old Fibre Flex and hit the bike paths with her. This time the skate sense turned into a bigger stoke and within days I went out and bought a long board from Royal Board Shop — a classic shape with a kick tail, of course.

How did you get involved with 100% Skate Club?

A friend of mine saw the Metro newspaper article about Erica (Jacobs) when she started 100% Skate Club and thought I might be interested. I was at the club’s first session at Millennium Park in April 2015. The weather sucked and the skatepark was empty except for 8 of us girls. I took that neighbour girl along too. I was so pumped to be at a skate park, as it was new to me. We has so much fun cruising around Millz, that we didn’t even notice the cold and snow flurries that night.

I was hooked! Doing the weekly skate sessions with 100% Skate Club changed my life. I don’t think I missed one session that first year! I wasn’t very good at skating, but soon realized that it doesn’t matter how good you are. It still feels great.

As we all know, skaters celebrate your small successes with you. Skate Club was such a fun and supportive environment to be in. And really for the first time in my life, I felt I truly fit in somewhere. I found my tribe.

I soon realized that the whole skate community was my tribe. To this day my heart skips a beat when I see skaters, or hear the “clickity-clack” of a skateboard when I’m out and about.

During that first season I became close friends with Erica, Maggie, and Bryena. We ended up forming the core group of the club, because Erica couldn’t do it all by herself. Plus, I think we all wanted to give back, because Erica gives so much of her time and energy to women and girls skating in Calgary. It was natural for us to want to help out. Currently I manage the 100% Skate Club Facebook page and do the photography for the club.

Our membership exploded in season two of the club. That was probably due to a couple of media stories about us. Global TV did a story on us at Huntington Hills last April. And now it’s not uncommon to have 20 to 30 of us at each session. And a few of us gals with more flexible schedules skate together during the day when the kids are in school, and some of us skate on the weekends too. But we are all connected through the Wednesday night 100% sessions.

100% Skate Club

Where do you like to skate most?

Huntington Hills is my home park and I have to say, also my favourite in Calgary. I need a bit of gravity to keep me rolling and the drop in is high enough so that I maintain a good speed around the bowls, with enough in the tank to pop out at the end. I know the regular crowd at Huntington, most of them are  dudes in junior or senior high school. I love their energy and I think they’re awesome! And they’re super encouraging to me, and they make me laugh a lot too. Who knew I’d be 54 years old and hanging out with teenaged guys every day.

Huntington Hills Skatepark

You travel to skate fairly often too. Where do you like to go?

I’m hooked on California skating. I go there 2 to 3 times a year just to skate. I’ve got a bunch of older skater girlfriends down in SoCal and it’s like being with family when we get together. When I got down to meet them we skate a couple times a day and tour a variety of parks. They were there cheering me on when I dropped in for the first time last May at the private backyard Iguana Bowl in Encinitas. I was high for days after that!

Most of the California parks are quite challenging for me. The drop ins I do there are huge compared to what I have the guts to do here at home. Strange but true. I think it’s because I get encouraged, and caught up in the stoke. Plus when you have highly experienced women skaters around, you naturally want to keep up with the fun, or at least try to. I have to give myself a break sometimes though, because a lot of those women are 10 to 20 years younger than me, and skate nearly every day of the year.

A park in California

You’re kind of like one of the caretakers are Huntington Hills skatepark. Do you think people respect the parks enough with regards to taking care of them?

I sure hope people respect the Calgary parks. It’s not always evident, but I think things are improving. We need to be stewards of our parks, and the rest of our city too. Have some pride! Most of the parks I skate in California, you have to pay to get into. Some are $10-15 a day! And they are open limited hours. So good luck skating before noon or after 10pm on a week day, like we do here.

City of Calgary skateparks are all free to skate, and they aren’t gated, so the least we can do is keep them nice in exchange. We, and our parents have paid taxes to build those parks. Let’s get the best value for those dollars. If we don’t, the new city council that’s getting elected this fall might not want to spend the money to build more skateparks in the future. Skater’s choice! p.s. Make sure you vote for skateboarding positive candidates too!

When I started skating I learned about taking care of the parks from the old boys crew I skated with at Millz. Before each sesh they went about sweeping rocks, and picking up garbage.

Very often when I start picking up trash at Huntington Hills, the other skaters will start picking it up with me. It takes 2 minutes for the whole place to be cleaned up. My hope is that people will do this when I’m not there too.

Same goes for shovelling in the winter. I had the best time getting to know the shovel crew this past winter. I’ve got a bum shoulder (from a bad slam last year) and don’t have the muscles to do as much snow hauling as the guys, but I helped organize the troops for Pat (Magnan) on a few occasions, because he was wearing out, and a bit shy to ask for help. I used my Instagram account to reach out, plus I know all the Huntington regulars, so I’d just show up with shovels and brooms and hand them to people. A couple 100% Skate Club members also came out to shovel too.
You’re a professional photographer and instructor. How did you get into that?

I got my photo degree from Ryerson in 1990, and then went to grad school so I could teach at the college level, and in 2004 completed a Masters at U of C, in Communications. I did corporate and industrial photography in the oil and gas industry for a few years too. I loved that. Crawling around refineries, terminals, tank farms, lube and grease plants. My job was to make people and structures look beautiful.

I started teaching photography at ACAD in 2004, then at SAIT in 2008 and a few classes at Red Deer College a couple years back. My career has evolved over time, as they do. I don’t do any corporate photography anymore. I mainly shoot for fun now and only work with fun clients. I always loved teaching though, and have been teaching my own online photo courses since 2010 at www.imagemaven.com

Now at my age, I’m conciously trying to enjoy my life more. Life is short. You realize that when you know you’re past the half way point, or a couple of your friends get cancer, or your parents need your help more each passing year. I worked like a dog for many years when I was younger. I’m playing as much as I can now – living in the moment and enjoying every minute. Skating and the skate community keeps me happy and strong, both physically and emotionally.


How does photography tie into skateboarding for you?

Being creative is definitely part of the happiness equation for me. I get as much joy from shooting skaters as I do from skating. Skating and photography go together. It’s just as much of a challenge to get a really good photo as it is to do a really hard trick. But you need to learn what that peak moment in that trick is, and capture it in the best possible way.

 

I follow a lot of skate photographers on Instagram and I’m inspired by them as well as the skaters who I work with on the photos. I’m still working on my signature style. Not sure if I’ll ever get one, as I’m having too much fun experimenting.

I’m also happy to help anyone with their skatepark photos or take photos of anyone who asks me, so don’t be shy to hit me up when you see me.


Are you looking forward to What Flamingo?
Yes! It’s going to be awesome. For those who don’t know yet, What Flamingo is a 5-day women’s skate tour of the Calgary skate parks. It starts on Go Skate Day, June 21, and runs until Sunday June 25.

What Flamingo brings two of our favourite Canadian women skaters to Calgary to skate with 100% Skate Club babes for a week in June! Melanie Mercier is the co-founder of Chickflip in Vancouver and skates with Sillygirl Skateboards. Annie Guglia hails from Montreal and among many other sweet things, rides for Meow Skateboards.

There’s going to be lots of open skate sessions, a Go Skateboarding Day park take over, a trick clinic, the Calgary premiere of the all-women’s skate vid, “Quit your day job” featuring Annie, a 100% Skate Club fundraiser, and Melanie is gonna be launching Dame Skatezine Issue #2 here in Calgary!

What Flamingo was created by artists Eric & Mia with 100% Skate Club as part of The City of Calgary’s Public Art Program and Skateboard Amenities Strategy.

As part of What Flamingo, I’m teaching a skate photography workshop for women. I’m super stoked to be able to share my knowledge and launch a new crop of women skate photographers in Calgary.

So you will see a few more camera-wielding skater chicks around the skateparks of Calgary this summer. Smile and give them your best trick!

Calgary Skatepark Costs

We reached out to the City of Calgary to get the costs for the skateparks that have been developed in line with the Skateboard Amenities Strategy. Here they are (design and construction costs together):

CKE: $376,032.32 (4,500 square feet)
Huntington Hills: 1,059,006.33 (12,500 square feet)
Southwood: $1,066,730.89 (13,500 square feet)
New Brighton: $760,203.45 (9,950 square feet)
Midnapore: $407,558.95 (3,997 square feet)
Deer Run: $598,326.02 (4,786 square feet)

The Strategy recommends 243,000 square feet of new skatepark terrain.

New Brighton skatepark photo by Cory Brown

Cory Brown photo – New Brighton Skatepark

 

 

Interview: Jay Balmer

I can’t remember exactly where and when I originally met Jay but he has had a huge influence on my life and business. We worked together for many years as he was the executive producer of Slam City Jam and we were the guys that were designing and building the course. During the course of that event we had a short time running ‘The Project’ together which was an indoor skatepark in Burnaby and the headquarters of Slam City Jam for a brief time. Jay was also the key driver behind getting ‘Skateboard Week’ officially established in Vancouver and getting skateboarding legalized as a legitimate form of transportation in the City (which eventually led to the symbolic moment of the last 3 skateboards ever confiscated being handed back to a cheering crowd at Slam City Jam by the chief of police).

Jay has always been a high level thinker and encourages people to think and dream big. He has always had a huge heart for the global skateboarding community and is still pushing hard to see that we are represented well in the eyes of the world.
–Kyle Dion, New Line Skateparks

Where did you grow up and when did you start skating?

My kid years were spent in Kitchener, Ontario. Dad brought home 3 skateboards for himself, my brother and me.  It was 1976 and I was 5 years old. My first board was a yellow banana board and then I moved up to a California 500 with a nose and kicktail. Since then I have always had a skateboard ready to ride.

Our family moved to Calgary when I was 12. It was there that I was introduced to the wide boards of the 80s and it quickly went from fun hobby to my obsession.

Riding his first skatepark in 1977 in North Carolina

Was there a reason you started skating?

Skateboarding really was a gift from my Dad. He had a beautiful aluminum Quicksilver himself and we all rode together in our driveway and on trips. He would take a group of us to the mall on weekends to ride the loading ramps.

For me it was the simple joy of rolling and carving that was my reason to skate. I feel blessed to have started skating before I was exposed to the tricks and possibilities. It was just about the fun with no expectations beyond turns and crazy turns.

First session on the Snoboard Shop ramp in the backyard, pre-stain and railings

Can you tell us more about the ramp you had in your backyard? Was it before or after the ramp bylaw was put in in 1986?

We did have a ramp in our backyard. It was actually the Snoboard Shop ramp, but they had to move it out of their parking lot. My brother and I were both part of their team and our house was nearby on 11th Street in Kensington.

We had some inside knowledge that the bylaw was coming and we moved it the day before the bylaw was passed. It was grandfathered as a pre-existing ramp so we could keep it, as long as they didn’t get complaints.

Our parents made sure we talked to all the neighbours before we moved the ramp in. We agreed on hours, maximum amount of time per day and that we needed to ask around before having a long day or late night session. We also sound-proofed it as much as possible with layers of carpet hanging under the transitions. We avoided complaints and the ramp stayed until after my brother and I had moved away.

Jay carving at Seylynn bowl (North Vancouver) on Canada Day during the Bowl Series

Where did you skate back then? Were there any parks?

My inspirations were videos like the Bones Brigade Video Show, Future Primitive, Wheels of Fire and Hokus Pokus.  So, skating was about the adventure of being out on the streets finding places to skate. That also meant a lot of night skating when the good spots were empty. The ramp was really just a bonus to come home to.

We skated downtown and the Kensington area mostly. Parking lots, parkades, Stephen Avenue Mall, City Hall, James Short, SAIT, Riley Park wading pool, Bowview Pool and the abandoned construction sites that were all over Calgary back then. One building was just a concrete skeleton and there was a ramp a few floors underground and obstacles a flew floors up. I think it is now the Catholic School Centre.

Calgary did have a mobile vert ramp program back then, but they were really sketchy. After Animal Chin came out we also started building launch and wallride ramps that we rolled to nearby parking lots.

Frontside air on the Imra ramp at The Clubhouse, opened by Jay and his brother after the first Slam City Jam

You moved out west. Why?

The simple reason for moving to Vancouver was for the skateparks, like Seylynn in North Vancouver.

On one of our family vacations in the 70s we drove past skateparks in North Carolina. The next year we brought our skateboards with us, but most of them were already torn down. We did find one that was closed and climbed through a hole in the fence. That was my first experience with transition and the magic of skateparks. Finding out there were skateparks in Vancouver meant that was the place I had to be.

With the skateparks, local hills for snowboarding and skimboarding at the beach, moving to Vancouver felt like moving to my home.

High speed double grab over the top hip at Seylynn (North Vancouver)

How did you start working in the video game industry?

After a few years in Vancouver, I started focusing on what I could do for skateboarding. That led me to become the Producer of Slam City Jam, to be a co-founder of New Line Skateparks and help cities like Calgary understand the reasons why they needed to build skateparks.

I felt like I had accomplished my goals for skateboarding when a friend at EA asked me if I was interested in a career in video games. As it turns out, they wanted to make a skateboarding game and were looking for someone to lead the charge. The result was the EA Skate franchise.

Slam City Jam 1998 course overview

What keeps you busy these days? What’s Session Games all about?

Four of us decided to launch Session Games in September of 2016. We all share a passion and background in what are often called ‘Action Sports’. At Session Games we created a place where we get to do what we like to do and work with the people we want to work with. Our primary partner is Red Bull. We have been creating a series of games with them and have more planned for the future.

It has now been 14 years in the video game industry and it has given me some great experiences. It also allows me to help out skateboarding when and where it makes sense without having any financial goals.

The announcement of skateboarding in the Olympics has definitely sparked a new round of excitement and interest in skateboarding. My hope is that it leads to fresh wave of new skaters and for cities to start supporting or building more indoor skateparks, like they provide indoor facilities for other ‘sports’. With all the new skateparks in Calgary there will be a lot of skaters looking to keep riding when the weather changes.

Do you still skate?

I do still skate and have no plans to stop. It is a less frequent now because I like to fully recover between sessions, instead of just charging everyday. There are still tricks I want to learn and places that I want to ride. Last year we went to Hawaii for a week of skateparks and ditches.  That little kid who got his first skateboard over 40 years ago is still in me looking for that next adventure and the next crazy turn.

Hawaii, carving the Stoker Hill ditch in flip flops

Any thank yous or shout outs?

I feel ridiculously thankful for all the places and experiences and friends that I have gained through skateboarding. My thank you list would be huge from my Dad who always supported our interests through to the guys who I still ride with and call me to get out for a session.

My shout outs are to everyone who has stepped up to make skateboarding better from C.A.S.E. to anyone who helps keep the parks clean or gets out there for some DIY, to the champions within the cities that help turn our dreams into reality and the crews that build the parks.

In the end, it will comes down to the survival of the fittest community and it is up to all of us to keep building our skate community. Keep killing it out there!

Recent Bertlemann tribute to Natas Kaupas at Bonsor skatepark in Burnaby, BC

Millennium Park Repairs

It’s no secret that Millennium’s infrastructure has seen better days. However, we’ve been working with the city’s parks department to recommend repairs and they’ve completed them.


If you see anything that needs attention at Millennium (or any other skateparks), please contact 311, preferably with a photo and description of the situation. Feel free to let us know too, so we can follow up.
Please refrain from making repairs or alterations yourself. Thanks!

 

Annual General Meeting May 10

Photo by Liam Glass. www.glassphoto.ca

On behalf of the CASE board, I’d like to invite you to our Annual General Meeting. This year it will take place on Wednesday, May 10 at Festival Hall, 1215 10 Ave SE at 7:00 PM.

It’s important that you join us for the meeting. This past year was an important one for Calgary skateboarding and the coming year will no doubt be important too. We want feedback from you.

Where do you see CASE going? What would you like to see from CASE? How did we do over the past year?

Come out to hear about new skateparks planned for 2017, events, and a few other things we have in mind for the future.

Keep skating!

Paul Derksen, Chair

March Board Meeting

Our March meeting is on Wednesday, March 8 at 7PM. Contact us if you’d like to attend.

 

Skateparks in Calgary

CASE is not directly affiliated with any skateparks in Calgary. We advocate for new skateparks and skateboard friendly policies and legislation in Calgary on behalf of the Calgary skateboarding community, but we don’t own or manage any skate facilities.

Downtown:

  • Shaw Millennium Park – Calgary’s oldest skatepark is located on the site of the old Mewata Stadium, on the west side of downtown at Bow Trail/9th Ave between 14th and 11th Streets. It’s Canada’s largest at 75,000 square feet. The skatepark is open 24 hours a day; the greenspace surrounding the park adheres to regular park hours (5AM-11PM). Read more about it on the city’s skatepark site.

South East

  • Deer Run – 2223 146th Ave SE, next to Deer Run Community Centre. 2016 construction.
  • Midnapore – Midlake Blvd SE, next to Midsun Community Centre. 2016 construction.
  • New Brighton – 130 Ave SE, east of 52 St SE. Opened Summer 2016.
  • McKenzie Towne has a small modular park with mostly steel-framed ramps. View the park details here. It’s located at 200 McKenzie Towne Gate SE.

South West

  • CKE Skate Spot is about 5,000 of plaza style terrain located at the corner of Elbow Drive and 73 Ave SW.
  • Southwood – Sackville Drive SW, next to Southwood Community Hall. Opened Spring 2016.
  • Westside Rec Centre, located at 2000 69 St SW has a smaller modular skatepark that is open during the spring and summer months. The set up includes various street obstacles and a 40 foot wide mini ramp with a bank and two distinct sections. Read more at this link.
  • Woodcreek, a small modular skatepark built by area Community Associations separate from the Skateboard Strategy.

North East

  • Genesis Centre – skatepark is in the design process

North West

Mobile Skateparks

The City of Calgary operates the Mobile Skatepark Program during the summer months, generally starting in late June. There are a few parks that travel to all quadrants of the city. Check out this link for dates and locations.

Calgary Region Skateparks

There are a number of free outdoor skateparks in towns close to Calgary.

Skateboard Amenities Strategy

In spring 2017, the City will be moving into the construction phase of the last 2 parks of the first eight, as outlined in the Skateboard Amenities Strategy. You can read about how the initial skatepark sites were selected in this report. The City’s Skatepark Development website has some more information on it regarding these future skateparks.

 

Indoor Skateparks

Currently, Calgary has one indoor skatepark, The Compound, operated by Riders on Board Snowboard Club.

The city has had nearly a dozen indoor parks come and go, however. Places like Skatopia, All Skool, Four-O-Three, Skateworld, and Skate Jungle were all privately operated. It’s been proven that private indoor skateparks cannot exist in most cities. High overhead/operational costs combined with insurance costs make indoor parks a tough go financially.

skatopia

CASE has submitted proposals for indoor skateparks on two separate occasions. The first was for a location in Inglewood, the second for the former Science Centre building downtown.

skate-jungle

CASE is working constantly towards an indoor facility. We live in a city that is unskateable nearly half of the year. We hope to follow the models of parks like Le Taz in Montreal or the Regina Indoor Park. The cost of running a skatepark cannot be supported by user fees alone; a partnership is required. For example, a donated building.

source

Skatelife operates a temporary indoor skatepark every Tuesday night at Dalhousie Community Church. More info on their website:

skatelife

Donation to CASE

Recent Posts

Post Categories

Calgary Skateshops