Wild West Skate Series shreds Jackson
Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Most adrenaline-tinged activities have a hefty price tag affixed. Now, I’m not referring to the distinct threat of bodily harm (though perhaps I should be). I’m talking dollars and cents – it’s expensive to amass gear for skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc. But with skateboarding you need only three things: a deck, a slice of pavement and a disgusting sense of dedication.
“It blows my mind the amount of pain skateboarders are willing to go through to achieve split moments of success,” said Jeff Moran, Freeride Program director for the JH Ski and Snowboard Club and co-organizer of the second annual Wild West Skateboard Contest Series. “There are tricks people might only land once in their lifetime and the amount of pain and suffering that skateboarders endure in order to achieve those goals is incredible.”
This weekend marks an opportunity to see just what Moran is talking about.
Moran, along with a few other devoted members of the JH skate scene – Lauri Aittola of The Boardroom, Claire Johnson of CJ Management and Mike Estes of Teton County Parks and Rec – are gearing up to host the first installment of the 2014 skate series this weekend at Jackson Hole Skatepark.
The 2013 inaugural competition was a historic moment for the Jackson Hole skate scene. It was the first time the spotlight publicly illuminated some of the valley’s potent skateboarders and the skatepark they destroy daily, which Moran says, a lot of folks said they didn’t know existed until then.
“It went incredibly well; way better than any of us had planned,” Moran remembered. “We had two events with 85 entries over the course of both events and about 500 spectators showed up.” Even Mayor Mark Barron and State Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff made an appearance, Moran added.
This year the contest encompasses three events. Two will be held in Jackson Hole and one happens in Driggs. In addition, competitors who shred in the Ketchum, Idaho, Skate Contest on August 23 will receive points toward their overall standing in the Wild West series.
Similar to the 2013 event, this year’s comp is in jam format. That means contestants skate simultaneously, injecting the contest with a steady stream of energy. Moran said it makes for less nail biting, too. “We are essentially creating a more comfortable, fun, competitive environment [with jam format] as opposed to contests where your number gets called, you drop in and take your run and all the pressure is on at that moment,” Moran said. “The jam session that was created last year was super high energy and it didn’t feel like a contest. There was a lot of camaraderie and a lot of people supporting each other.”
Skaters can compete in street or bowl competitions in five different divisions for cash and awards tallied at more than $10,000. Awards also will be doled to skaters exhibiting overall aptitude in both categories.
An avid skater himself, Moran describes skateboarding as a lifestyle and an art form that feeds creativity and spikes the imagination. It also glues together some unlikely characters. “Open a skateboard mag and so many walks of life are represented,” Moran said. “Skating has the ability to break down cultural barriers and provide an activity that is accessible to all sorts of different people.”
Wild West Skate Series, with registration from noon to 1 p.m. and the first competition at 1:30 p.m., Saturday at the Jackson Hole Skatepark, 1374 Gregory Lane. Enjoy music, art and more.