PARK CITY — The new park at Gorgoza isn't one you'd want to walk the dog, play catch or picnic in. You wouldn't even want to spread a blanket under the tree and sleep awhile.

Too much action — spinning wheels on a wood surface, going up and down and up again and down again, broken now and then by a "grind" or a pause for air or the results of a failed trick — a loud bang.

The Gorgoza Skate Park, located across from Jeremy Ranch in Parleys Canyon, isn't your standard park. It is, however, one of a growing number of skate parks being built around the state.

The parks resemble a half-built move set. Nothing is complete. There are half-pipes and quarter pipes, and hand rails, ledges and play boxes.

All of them, said Kim Stevens, manager of the Gorgoza Park, intended to be challenging and entertaining to the skaters, bikers and skateboarders.

Pushed off the streets by the law, skateboarders and in-line skaters are moving to skate park to ply their tricks. On the street the wheeled athletes look for challenges to conquer, such as stairs, curbs, planter boxes and bus benches.

The Gorgoza track is called a "street course." In the park they "grind" or slide along rails and edges instead of curbs and benches, and they go for the big air off half- and quarter-pipes instead of speed bumps and stairs.

"It's interesting, because parents will drop their kids off in the morning and come back at eight that night and the kids are still going strong. They really do enjoy this," she noted.

Matt Sickels, manager of one of the specialty stores, Milo Sports, pointed out that there is a definite line between simple roller blading and active in-line skating. Even skateboarding on a sidewalk is a lot different from running up a half-pipe.

Roller bladers go with the larger wheels for a smoother ride over rougher surfaces, where in-line skaters go with smaller wheels for more maneuverability, a lower center of gravity and a better handle on tricks.

Roller bladers roll along, where skaters soar in the air and in the blinking of an eye perform tricks such as backsides, curb grind or Misty flip, which is a front somersault with a 540 degree spin.

Skateboarders are no different. They spin and flip and do vertical disciplines and the only thing permanently fixed to their feet are their shoes.

Sickels pointed out that boards used today are very different from first-generation models, which were little more than a two-by-four fastened to metal-wheels roller skates.

Wheels are urethane and decks are a laminated maple in a range of different shapes. The simplest trick on a board, one everyone starts with, is the "Ollie," where the board flips into the air when stepped on and into the hands of the boarder.

From there, said Sickels, the tricks get more challenging and are certain to get even more so as athletes improve. One of the top boarders, after a lifetime of practice, recently connected the first perfect "900," or three complete spins, and nailed the landing.

Bicycle stunt riding is a little different, but no less exciting. In the park they do spinning tricks, contortion tricks and limbless variations, which are maneuvers where the rider takes both hands and feet off the bike while in the air.

The Gorgoza park was first introduced at the Park City Mountain Resort two years ago for a few weeks near the end of summer. With no more room at the resort it was placed in storage for two winters. Now it has a new home at Gorgoza, the old ski area recently taken over by the resort and run as a sledding center over the winter.

Jensen said the park consists of a couple of quarter-pipes, ramps and fun boxes or obstacle centers, where the goal is to move from object to object. Under construction is a vert ramp or half-pipe.

For now the fee is $6.50 for four hours in the park. When the vert ramp is completed the fee will go to $10 for the four hours. Helmets, said Jensen, are required. Safety equipment, such as pads and helmets, are available for rent. Hours, in four-hours blocks, are noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

And, despite what many think, this is not simply a kid's park. Both Jensen and Sickels said they're getting a fair number of adults involved in the sports.

Which could eventually lead them to a day in the park.


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