I’ve always been inspired by skateboarders, their style, skills, persistence, and sense of freedom. They make skateboarding look effortless, almost zen-like, and I’ve been a fan and a semi-passive bystander for a while. I own a couple of boards that I mainly use for cruising around the neighborhood, but I’ve never taken a lesson to really hone in on those fundamentals. Like with any sport, having a good mastery of the basics to build on is key to staying safe and having fun when you’re out getting after it.
As an “adult,” learning to skateboard has been very intimidating for me. I can feel the kids judging me for being in their zone, and I’m definitely not made of rubber, like when I was, saaaay eight.
When I heard Woodward Park City was moving into the neighborhood, I was ecstatic and knew this was my chance to develop some new skills in a, somewhat, controlled environment. When you walk into Woodward, a wave of excitement washes over you. For me, it was more like nervous butterflies and a smile so big my cheeks hurt. Kids are flipping over here, flopping over there, tumbling, scooting, biking, climbing, skating. Scattered amongst the youngsters are a couple of pros and adults who look like they’re having just as much fun as everyone else. As a newbie walking into a place like this, it can be a little intimidating, BUT it helped to remind myself that this is a community focused on progression, and this was the perfect spot for learning and trying new things. Woodward has built an incredible facility that is not only a world-class training facility but a place to facilitate creative expression and mastery. It is a place to let go and embrace your inner child, a place to play, learn, and get outside of your comfort zone. Essentially it’s an opportunity to be a kid again, not take yourself too seriously, and just have some fun!
As a New Year’s intention, I put out into the world that I wanted to get better at skateboarding and learn how to drop into a ramp, so I signed up for a 3-hour private skateboarding lesson to see if I could do it without hurting myself. At Woodward, you can enlist the help of a coach during an individual or group lesson.
What: Adult Skateboard Private Lesson
Where: Woodward Park City
When: 1, 3, 6 Hour Private Lessons Available: https://shop.woodwardparkcity.com/#/lessons-camps/p/private-lessons
Who: Those looking for some off-season fun while the trails are still covered in snow
I signed up for my 3-hour private skateboard session via the Woodward website, where you can also purchase lessons for snowboarding, skiing, BMX, tumbling, etc.
Although I was a little nervous heading into my lesson because I way out of my comfort zone, the name of the game at Woodward is progression. Woodward is set up in such a way that you can continue to take baby steps through each skill and feature and then progress to the next level.
I met my coach Aiden, a friendly 19-year old, who was going to be my skate guru for the next 3 hours. We chatted a bit about what I wanted to work on and laid out a couple of objectives:
- How to fall
- Correct foot position and form
- Skateboard basics and technique
- Dropping in
We started on the mats practicing basic falling techniques because let’s face it, as an adult, I am not as bendy and squishy as most of these kids are in here. After working on a couple of dynamic bailing techniques, we moved on to another area where we went over some skateboarding basics: foot position, pushing, and changing direction.
Aiden was super patient and clear with his directions. And I felt comfortable continuing to level up with his help and guidance. Throughout the entire lesson, he was like my zen master of skateboarding - always cheering me on and making sure my fear was not getting the best of me.
After progressing through the basics, we went to a secret little back area - kind of like a hidden lair away from peering eyes and judgment where there was a mini down ramp to vert transition. On this feature, Aiden coached me on how to roll down a ramp, which at first was pretty terrifying. To ease my fear and work through a progression Aiden held my hands and walked me down the ramp and up the wall offering tips like where I should be keeping my body weight over the board, to always commit to what I’m doing and never to bail because that is when you get hurt. We then proceeded to move a little faster down the ramp, still being supported by coach Aiden’s hands. I then advanced, gingerly, to Aiden only holding onto one hand, to no assistance where I was rolling into the ramp and up the wall all by myself! YEW! The next step was upping the ante by pushing into the ramp to gain a little more speed. Aiden was super encouraging, and I felt all the adrenaline coursing through me each time I dropped in. I even took a pretty hard fall and got back on my board to try it again.
Once we practiced in this zone for a while, it was time to try something new: the pump track, which is another beast in and of itself. The pump track felt completely different than the feature we were previously working on, but in due time I understood we were continuing to layer onto what I had already learned. Starting from the beginning, Aiden held my hands as we worked through the pump track technique, which is a little faster than just dropping into a down ramp. You need a lot more speed and momentum to get you through the rollers. As I progressed through the pump track, I started to get more comfortable pumping my legs to gather speed. And if you think skateboarding looks like no-sweat well, you’d be very wrong. On the contrary, it is quite tiring, and it wasn’t long before I was sweating and out of breath. Skateboarding, no joke, is a workout!
As we neared the end of our session, Aiden said I was ready to drop in from the top ramp and work my way down the entire pump track. I was definitely nervous but also exhilarated, reminding myself that speed was my friend here. Well, with some help from Aiden, I dropped in, down the ramp, and made it all the way through to the other side of the pump track. I even back, using my legs to propel my body over the rollers! Mission accomplished! of course, ended up wiping out a few more times, but Aiden reminded me that skateboarding is hard, and it takes countless hours of practice to progress, so if you’re not falling you’re not learning!
I was pretty nervous and scared most of the time during my lesson, but I leaned into my fear and overcame it with the help of my coach, who was so patient and helpful. Learning how to skate at the Woodward Park City facility is an excellent activity for any season. When the snow clears, they open more skateable features outside as well. This multi-season action sports activity center will keep you coming back from more!
- Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind ripping in case you fall
- Wear closed-toe lace-up sneakers
- Bring a helmet and wrist guards
- Bring a water bottle as skateboarding is way more of a work out than expected!
- Come with an open mind.