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Skateboarding at a different level

GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — When skateboarding enthusiasts talk about world class facilities places like California, New York, and Florida will come to mind. But now, you’ll have to add West Virginia to the mix. The skate park at the Summit Bechtel Reserve Boy Scout Camp is one of the top skateboarding locations in America.

“It covers all the disciplines,” said designer Aaron Spohn of Los Angeles. “We have a vert ramp, bowls at the opposite end, we have the street area that’s really popular and then we have the training area with the foam pit.”

Spohn is one of the world’s foremost designers of skate parks.  He admitted he was taken back at first when the Scouts called him.

“They said, ‘Come out to West Virginia we want to build this world class facility.'” Spohn recalled. “They put me in a helicopter, gave me a map, and said, ‘Go make something memorable.'”

Scouts clad in helmets and knee pads won’t soon forget the attraction. It’s designed to accommodate all levels. Spohn said the freedom of design enabled them to give scouts enough room to progress from a beginner and to build their confidence until they are grinding along the top of the vert ramp.

Spohn believes it’s a perfect marriage.

“Skateboarders get a bad rap. They’re just normal kids, but usually wearing baggy clothes and putting off an image which scares people,” he said. “I think the more scouts are involved in skateboarding the more it’s going to help skateboarding and I think it’s going to help scouting as well.”

For Spohn, the Summit Bechtel Reserve high adventure skate park is the Zenith of his life.

“I’ve never had an opportunity like this.  It’s a the highlight of my career for developing parks,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of cool things, but nothing is as cool as this project.  They allowed us to develop something unique and there weren’t that many boundaries for us.”

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