Street Riders to Pros Play Here
The first time you drop in the 4.2m (14-ft.) section of the concrete clover bowl at Shaw Millennium Park, I hope you’re ready. I also hope you’re a really good skater and that you’re wearing your helmet and pads—because you’ll be going extremely fast and the concrete is hard. Hopefully, you’ll have practiced in the 1.2m (4-ft.) and 3m (10-ft.) bowls first or, more appropriately, at the beginner (Intro) and intermediate (Central) areas of the park.
Though western Canada is renowned for extreme skiing opportunities, there’s also plenty of fun to be had sans snow. At the Millennium Skate Park, there’s plenty of room for boarders of all skill levels—from street riders to pro-level experts such as Devin Morrison, one of the best skateboarders in Calgary, who periodically shows up. Called the world’s largest skate park, when the next phase is completed it will cover more than 8,360 sq. m (90,000 sq. ft.). According to a city report, there are more than 10,000 skateboarders in Calgary. The park is open 24/7 and attracts an average of 1,000 users daily. (It’s less crowded on weekdays and evenings.)
The Intro Area is set up with a pool, small rails, curbs, stairs, and ledges. This is a great place to learn drop-ins, Ollies, and get really comfortable. The Central Area is awesome with higher rails, a six-foot bowl with metal coping, stairs, ledges, pyramids, pool type wall rides, banks, larger transitions, double drop. Here you can work on those vert Ollies, Axle Stalls, catch some air, and Rock to Fakie. Then there’s the oh-my-gosh Expert Park. How about a 30-foot full-pipe connected to a 15-foot halfpipe, and a clover bowl with 4-, 10-, and 14-foot sections? Rippers heaven! This is a park for observers as well as participants.
Calgary is a major Canadian city with numerous museums, world-class shopping, and great restaurants, including the Teatro and the Belvedere. Eau Claire Market (pedestrian only) and Prince Island Park are great to just relax and take it easy. The Glenbow Museum has a wonderful interpretation of the settlement of western Canada and the life of its Native tribes. Hiking, running, fishing, and biking are popular pursuits within the city. Banff, one of the truly beautiful mountain towns in the world, is only an hour and a half drive from Calgary.
Shaw Millennium Skate Park, 1220 Ninth Ave. SW ( 403/268-2489; www.calgaryskateparks.ca).
When to Go: Year-round.
$$ Kensington Riverside Inn, 1126 Memorial Dr. NW ( 877/313-3733 or 403/228-4442; www.kensingtonriversideinn.com). $$$ Fairmont Palliser, 133 Ninth Ave. SW ( 800/441-1414 or 403/262-1234; www.fairmont.com).