Skate park activity heats up along with the weather

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Willimantic - posted Wed., Jun. 19, 2013
Recent Windham High School graduate Zack Fox works on his skills at the skate park at Lauter Park on June 15. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Recent Windham High School graduate Zack Fox works on his skills at the skate park at Lauter Park on June 15. Photos by Melanie Savage.

Completed in late 2011, the skate park at Willimantic’s Lauter Park has quickly developed a following among local, and not-so-local, skaters. On June 15, the park was busy. But, according to recent Windham High School graduate Zack Fox, it’s usually much busier. “Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days,” said Fox. Fox is well-known among his classmates as a dedicated skater. Many think he has a future as a professional. “People tell me if I just keep at it, I can make it,” he said.

The Willimantic skate park attracts a lot of out-of-towners, according to Fox. “We’ve had up to 80 or 100 people on the weekends,” he said. “People will be lined up along the outside of the park, waiting for their turn to ride.”

The attraction, according to Fox, is the layout. “It’s the flow,” he said. “You can go around it and do anything as you’re going around.” The park features smoother, cleaner and steeper ramps than other nearby parks, said Fox. “Other parks in the area don’t even compare,” he said.

Strategically-placed features such as speed bumps, ramps, coping and rails make for a challenging skater’s destination, according to Fox. “We’ve had people from Canada come here, and further away than that,” he said. Fox recalls a day when a visiting skater complimented a trick and gave him a high-five. He found out later that the skater had been Tampa-area pro Dave Bachinsky. “I didn’t even know he was a pro until someone told me later,” said Fox.

Now that school is out, Fox said that he generally spends all day at the park, working on his goal of achieving pro status. He will leave for college in the fall, most likely attending Oberlin College on a diving and swimming scholarship. Fox, who placed first in the ECC large division for diving his junior year (he couldn’t compete his senior year due to an injury), said that diving and skating are complimentary sports. Diving involves “having more air control,” he said. The air control that diving demands translates into skating, according to Fox. “I’m already used to the feeling, so it’s not that much of a challenge,” he said.

Fox is supported by The Skate Shop in Willimantic. “They’ve been a really big help with my skating,” he said. Located at 754 Main St., The Skate Shop has a presence on Facebook. Visit their site for information about upcoming events held at the park. The Willimantic skate park is located at Lauter Park, 625 Jackston St., in Willimantic.

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