Echoing from the sides of CSUâ€™s Rockwell Halls at 11 p.m. you can hear skateboard wheels rolling across pavement and grinding against benches. There youâ€™ll find a group of students turned skaters.
Itâ€™s not just a popular form of transportation â€“â€“ itâ€™s an overlooked culture for students.
Freshman Adam Concannon builds his own fixed gear bikes to fit his own specifications and style. He has been riding â€œfixieâ€™sâ€ for less than a year, but has skated his whole life and has enjoyed the Fort Collins skate scene.
â€œAll the parks are awesome. Northside is awesome, Spring Canyon is cool. Iâ€™ve heard theyâ€™re building a new one. But all the kids are pretty rad and the scene is awesome,â€ he said.
In Thornton and Denver, where Concannon is from, he explained there are some traces of a skating community, but not as much as Fort Collins.
â€œIn Denver they just want to show up everyone, but (in Fort Collins) these kids grow up together and develop their skills,â€ said Concannon. â€œTheyâ€™re a family and they want see each other do well.â€
Cody Oliver, a freshman skater also from Denver, agreed.
â€œIn Fort Collins people are a lot tighter. Everybody knows everybody and everybody is friendly,â€ Oliver said. â€œIn Denver thereâ€™s just way too many people. Here itâ€™s a smaller scene, but the kids are more dedicated.â€
Concannon has noticed a rivalry between bikers and skaters, but more of a tension between longboarders and scooters.
â€œIn Arvada youâ€™ll see 20 kids cruising through with $300 Razor carbon fiber scooters,â€ Concannon said. â€œThe two attract different types of people and different attitudes. It also just depends on the person â€¦ bikers are more our allies in this war.â€
Oliver put it differently.
â€œIf a biker were to ever hit a skater, every skater in the park would just beat the s*** out of them,â€ he said.
This kind of bond is not just in Fort Collins, Oliver added. Skaters tend to stick with skaters and bikers need to be cautious.
â€œA skateboard is so much smaller and so less dangerous and a bike can do so much more damage, and they can go super fast,â€ Oliver said. â€œBikers just need to be careful, just as long as theyâ€™re not irresponsible.â€
Tensions aside, Concannon canâ€™t get enough of the sport he loves.
â€œItâ€™s a release from school and the everyday stresses,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s good to clear your mind and refocus.â€
Concannon has ended up at the Northside Aztlan Community Center at night or taken a ride to Horsetooth Reservoir.
â€œItâ€™s a good way to release, have fun and meet people,â€ said Concannon.
Oliver began skating in sixth grade and has continued ever since.
â€œItâ€™s like my creative outlet, itâ€™s how I release my creativity,â€ he said.
But itâ€™s not always a good time. Concannon was fined $75 for riding down College Avenue two weeks ago.
â€œItâ€™s crappy because skateboards are defined by law as toys in Colorado. So I was fined $75 for playing with a toy.â€
Evan Humphreys, a freshman fish, wildlife and conservation biology major from Wisconsin, recently got into the skating and biking scene.
â€œI just wanted to get a fixie, so I bought one,â€ he said. â€œAnd then I moved to Colorado and I decided to get a skateboard or longboard, but most of the kids I hang out with here skateboard so I got one of those.â€
He hasnâ€™t had any run-ins with the law due to his boarding, but one of his friends from Wisconsin received a $125 fine for longboarding in the road.
â€œI think itâ€™s about time lawmakers recognize skateboards and longboards as legitimate modes of transportation,â€ Humphreys said. â€œI want lawmakers to do to skateboarding the same thing that theyâ€™ve done to every other legitimate form of transportation â€“â€“ make it legal.â€
Concannon, however, doesnâ€™t think that the laws need to be changed towards skating. Instead, officials should maintain citiesâ€™ concrete quality. He has had a few spills on campus due to cracks in the concrete and wears two scars from the incidents.
And heâ€™s not alone. Oliver has broken his left wrist and pinky once, right wrist twice, as well as torn ligaments in his foot up to his shin. But it doesnâ€™t bother him too much.
â€œItâ€™s absolutely worth it to be injured,â€ he said. In a weird way when Iâ€™m injured I think, at least Iâ€™m out there doing something. Itâ€™s like battle scars.â€
Collegian writer Bailey Constas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northside Aztlan Community Center
112 East Willow St.
Free and open to public year round
Opened in 2008
Edora Skateboard Park
Located between the Edora Pool Ice Center (EPIC) and the ballparks and tennis courts at Edora Park
Free and open to public year round
17,500-square-foot concrete facility
Opened in 2001
Fossil Creek Skateboard Park
Located between the parking lots and playground near the front of Fossil Creek Community Park
15,000 square foot urban obstacle skateboard park
Opened in 2003