City gets on board

Steamboat Springs to offer youth skateboard class

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— Beginning snowboarders couldn't hang with Shaun White. Beginning cyclists couldn't climb the Alps with Lance Armstrong. Beginning skateboarders are no different -- they need a positive environment conducive to learning new skills.

The city of Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department is holding two summer sessions for beginning skateboarders. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club snowboard and skateboard coach Jon Casson will run the program.

"I think one of the biggest comments I hear is, 'My kid wants to learn, but they get so intimidated,'" Casson said.

Casson, who taught himself to skateboard by hanging out with older boys, said the Howelsen Skate Park can be overwhelming for a beginning skateboarder.

He hopes the class teaches a group of new riders about the sport.

"I think it will be fun," he said. "I've been thinking about how to teach certain things. There is no real unified method."

As a snowboard coach, Casson has a long list of how-to instructional tips for winter athletes. Some of those tips may carry over to the summer skateboarding sessions.

"Just the movement to turn is the most similar," Casson said, comparing snowboarding to skateboarding. "You are standing sideways on a board."

The first session begins Monday and runs through July 28. The second session is from July 31 to Aug. 18. Each session costs $100 and includes six lessons held from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday and Friday at the skatepark.

Additional sessions may be offered depending on demand.

Casson thinks organized classes go against what he believes skateboarding is all about -- individuality -- but the sessions will make it easier to teach more people.

"We're pretty flexible," Casson said. "It's a total experiment."

To register for a skateboard session, visit the Parks and Recreation Department at 245 Howelsen Parkway. For more information, call Casson at 846-1599 or Susan Peterson at 879-4300.

The classes are open to anyone between ages 8 and 18. Skateboarders will need to bring a skateboard and helmet.

Pads are recommended.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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