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Calgary Skateboarders raise money for indoor digs

Hoping to provide a space to skaters during Calgary's winters

Jason Huang is hoping to have an indoor skatepark up and running for next winter.

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Jason Huang is hoping to have an indoor skatepark up and running for next winter.

Calgary may be building a number of skateparks and bowls, but once a blanket of snow descends on the city, outdoor parks are as good as non-existent until the white stuff melts.

A member of Calgary's skateboarding community is embarking on a mission to make winter skateboarding accessible and safe for everyone by moving the concept indoors.

"Every winter, skaters have no place to go," Jason Huang said. "Or they have to go underground to underground parkades where it's warm and dry and you can skate…I just thought it would be nice to have a place to skate legally and safely, and not get fined. I figured why can't I be one to make that happen."

Huang has a company of his own where he designs and sells skateboard decks, but he's hoping this new venture can turn into a successful non-profit for skaters to enjoy year-round.

"I've been skateboarding ever since I moved to Canada, which was about ten years ago," Huang said.

Currently the City of Calgary doesn't have an indoor facility for skateboarders. But there have been attempts in the past. The Source Skatepark, All Skool, 403 Skatepark, Skate Jungle, and Skatopia are a few names for private parks, but all failed because of the sheer cost involved to run a large-scale facility.

Huang said the last facility he remembers closed in 2006, almost ten years ago.

"On top of that, insurance companies are still under the impression that skateboarding is dangerous. It actually ranks quite low compared to most popular sports for injuries," said Zev Klymochko, of the Calgary Association for Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE).

Huang is already investing $10,000 towards the endeavour, and searching for the ideal location to lease space in the inner city. His crowdfunding ask so far isn't dependent on funds, but any support would be the icing on the cake, going towards a good cause for skaters.

As for Huang's endeavour, CASE is on board – so to speak – to support this skateboarders dream.

"CASE supports anything that benefits Calgary skateboarders and makes the city a better place to skate," said Klymochko. "We've submitted a couple of proposals for indoor parks but to date have been unsuccessful. We've promoted Jason's crowd funding campaign; kudos to him for taking initiative."

Huang said the earliest his skatepark can open up is early next winter.

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