Vertical ramp has boarders 'superhyped'

January 02, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Brett Roper of Falls Church, Va., skateboards on the new vertical ramp Sunday at the 180 Skate Shop in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Peter Furnee was too excited to stand still and talk at length to anyone Sunday as his fellow skateboarders glided on a vertical ramp.

“I’m just superhyped,” he said.

Furnee joined two other men in raising money and volunteering to build the vert ramp at 180 Skate Shop off W.Va. 9. The end result — 12 feet 6 inches high and 60 feet long — was debuted Sunday during an open house.
“It’s just a dream come true,” Furnee said. “It’s something this I-81 corridor needed.”

“Talented people” turned out for the open house to put the ramp into use, according to Furnee, a Charles Town, W.Va., resident.

The semiprofessional skateboarders were able to show less-experienced hobbyists the safest way to fall, which involves sliding on knee pads, business owner Tim Parker said. The activity is much less dangerous than many people expect, he said.

Tim Parker and his wife, Ann, opened the business six years ago and moved it a couple of times before taking over the 6,000-square-foot facility. The space is rented from Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation.
Expansion talks are under way, Tim Parker said.

Furnee, Wes Meadows and Jeff Lambert started talking about the vert ramp 2 1/2 years ago. In October, they donated money themselves and sought contributions elsewhere.

Assistance from 84 Lumber and Federal Stone drove the estimated cost of $9,000 down to about $6,000, Furnee said.

Meadows, of Front Royal, Va., tackled the construction using hundreds of wooden boards.

“Everything turned out smooth, no kinks,” he said.

BMX bicycles will be allowed on the ramp unless they start to damage it, Tim Parker said.

Skateboarding requires little investment beyond the skateboard, knee pads, elbow pads and helmet. The 180 Skate Shop charges a $5 daily fee and rents equipment. On Friday nights, skating is free for three hours during Christian-based events.

TJ Vance, 16, is one of eight members of the shop’s skate team, which competes, tests new equipment and assists young skateboarders. Like Meadows, TJ said he was somewhat intimidated by the new ramp.

“It’s something new to learn. I’m pretty comfortable with everything else here,” said TJ, of Inwood, W.Va.

On the Web:

The Herald-Mail Articles