Steamboat Springs While some local teenagers complain there's often nothing to do in town, others are trying to improve what recreational opportunities already exist.
A group of Steamboat Springs High School students are joining the ranks of those involved with the skateboard park and Emerald City teen center by making improvements to the BMX track at Howelsen Hill. The students decided the track wasn't up to snuff and decided to do something about it.
"It's not cool enough," sophomore Jeff Fuller said. "There's really only one big jump."
The students were talking about the track in class, and teacher Laura McCoy challenged them to do something.
"I said, 'We can do this. This can be a service learning project,'" McCoy said.
The boys got to work, which meant going through the BMX track and figuring what changes they wanted to make and then making sure those changes would be OK with the Parks and Recreation Commission, which had to give the final stamp of approval.
"We met with Jeff Nelson (of Parks and Recreational Services) and he told us that we need to measure the old (jumps) and make a new track," sophomore Glenn Hammond said.
Sophomore Dusti Henning also is assisting in the effort.
The students started working on the project last October and have spent the past few months embroiled in mathematical problems and graphs. They said that some of the jumps had strange lips and less experienced riders were getting hurt. So while the new jumps may be a bit bigger, they also will be safer.
The material used to build the new jumps is critical.
"Clay is the best," Fuller said. "It makes it smoother."
The students have approached several local construction companies, but so far have had no luck in getting the materials they need. They wanted to complete the project before school was over but are lacking the clay.
While the students would have liked to make a track that's ready for the X-Games, Parks and Rec was looking for something a little bit more user-friendly. For example, something like a gap jump, where riders clear a an open space, was probably not appropriate, Fuller said. He said city officials wanted it to be safe for younger children, who may not be catching big air, but are instead riding over the jumps.
Chris Wilson, who runs the Parks and Recreational Services Department, said the commission didn't want the track to be completely torn up, and it advised the students to complete the track jump by jump. In the end, the students convinced the city panel they would complete it run by run because it's safer than jump by jump, Henning said. There are four runs, each with one to two jumps.
"These guys were persuasive speakers," McCoy said.
Wilson also said that, as in most volunteer projects in the community, the commission was most concerned with follow-through.
"I think it's going to be a learning experience," he said. "The process for them is what it would have been for anyone else."
For their part, the boys said it the project been a lot of work, but they love the sport and are hopeful it will be worth it.
"I'm pretty surprised," Fuller said about his commitment to the project. "Usually I start stuff and I get lazy. But we just love BMXing and want the track to be good."
- To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail email@example.com