Skateboarding Club connects UCCS’ skater community

Skateboarding Club provides biweekly opportunities for the UCCS skating community to connect under one roof. The club offers a relaxed and encouraging environment for both experienced skaters and newbies to practice skills and learn from one another.

The club meets every other Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at Mountainside Skateshop, about 2 miles from campus. Club meetings are open to UCCS students only, and no dues are required.

Some loaner skateboards and helmets are provided for students who don’t have equipment but want to try skateboarding. The skate shop has a complete halfpipe and a box (a wooden platform with a metal rail on one edge) for skaters to practice riding and tricks on.

Meetings flow casually, and participants are welcome to try their hand at the halfpipe and box at their own pace. Club members help each other to learn skills without any pressure to achieve perfection.

Before the club was started in Nov. 2023, UCCS skateboarding enthusiasts were connected but wanted a place to come together regularly, said Skateboarding Club President Alex James.

“There’s a skatepark that’s our local skatepark … Everyone knows everyone there,” James said. After rumors started floating around the skatepark that UCCS was creating a skating club, James “did some paperwork, and now it’s an official club.”

When James officially registered Skateboarding Club, he was surprised by the amount of funding they received from UCCS. Club officers decided to use the funds to help Mountainside Skateshop build their halfpipe, in exchange reserving the shop for regular meetings.

Vice President Braeden Grebenik says the club is “for whoever shows up.” Grebenik and James have had first timers show up for lessons, while experienced skaters capitalize on skills they already have. “The whole goal is to get beginners hyped on skateboarding,” said James.

“People just walk through the front door and say ‘hi’ to us. And then we give them waivers, and that’s it,” said James. “We have some regular people … They come every time, and then we have people that just show up one time and try out skateboarding.”

Indoor meetings are a good place to give shredding a halfpipe a try, according to Grebenik. The indoor ramp has much more give than concrete, making it the best place to fall while learning.

I learned some skating tips at Thursday’s meeting. I had a slight advantage from longboarding here and there, and already knew I was goofy-footed and had a basic understanding of balancing on the board.

Sophomore Aidan Aguilar, who has been skating for around a year, talked me through ticktacks and pumping on the halfpipe. Aguilar says ticktacks — a board pivoting technique — are the fundamental basis for most of the things he has learned. Ticktacks encourage skaters’ balance as they learn.

I used a loaner board and practiced ticktacks for a few minutes to find my footing. Once I got a feel for the board, I moved onto the halfpipe to practice pumping (a technique to maintain speed when going side to side on the halfpipe) for the first time.

Kaylie Foster learns to ride a skateboard on the half pipe during the club meeting. Photo by Lexi Petri.

Aguilar advised me to keep my feet over the bolts (the top of where the wheels are). Grebenik told me keeping “your shoulders above your knees above your feet” is the best way to stack your body over the board.

After a short practice, I got up to three passes back and forth, before toppling down when I tried picking up speed. James and Grebenik applauded my efforts anyway.

James hopes to expand the scope of the club in the coming months. He’s hoping to connect with more skate shops in the area and increase regular meeting attendance. “The overall goal is to get skaters at UCCS connected,” he said.

Hunter Smith takes his turn on the half pipe during the club meeting on March 7. Photo by Lexi Petri.