The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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July 17, 2013

Summit skate park second-largest in the world

THE SUMMIT — Scouts at The Park at Thrasher Mountain are living up to the 2013 National Jamboree theme “Go Big and Get Wild.”

The Park, over 100,000 square feet of skate park, boasts being the second largest outdoor skateboard facility in the world, with six distinct areas for all skill levels.

Whether they have never stood on a skateboard before, or they’ve been doing it since they could walk, these Scouts are being treated to the adventure of a lifetime.

Scouts can be seen scoring some major air on mini-ramps, dropping in on bowls and cautiously eyeing the half pipe, which was actually brought in from ESPN’s X Games.

This skate facility, as well as the BMX tracks, were actually designed and constructed by the designer for the X Games.

The Park manager, Ed Wolf, said they hosted a soft opening on Monday with about 200 Scouts.

For the remainder of the Jamboree, however, Wolf said 2,000 Scouts will be visiting the skateboarding area each day.

“It’s been hectic,” he said.

Although the park was as busy as a beehive, the site was well organized, directing Scouts where to go to get geared up, then to color coded markers for their experience level.

Wolf said the green zone is for beginners. First they will go through basic orientation, then they will develop their skills with the staff.

“We have 583 skateboards, 1,030 pads and 1,500 helmets,” Wolf said, and he means business about safety.

He directed a park staff member over to one Scout who was near the skate bowl without a helmet, to either have him gear up or clear the area.

“We have a medical tent right next to The Park and we have watchers everywhere.”

Wolf said Scouts are allowed to stay at the skateboarding area for as long as they like, but they are required to stop every 20 minutes to re-hydrate.

During the soft opening Monday, Dr. Wycoff, of Arkansas, said there were only a few minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises.

“The progress staff is doing a great job assessing the abilities,” Wycoff said.

Scouts are not allowed to advance from beginner to intermediate to advanced without being assessed by a staff member.

Wycoff said the medical tent can handle “mostly what you would walk into a clinic with” but more serious injuries will be handled by airlift EMS.

If there are any broken bones, Wycoff said his staff can splint the Scout while waiting for further medical assistance.

Injuries seem to be the last thing on the Scouts’ minds at The Park though — They’re too concerned with landing a kickflip or trying a backflip into the foam pit.

Alex Khoury, 14, of Troop 92 in Vienna, W.Va., was loving the foam pit during the first official open day at The Park.

“I absolutely love the foam pit,” Khoury said after sailing high over the mini-ramp and landing into cushiony foam squares.

He’s been skateboarding for seven years, and he said he frequents a skatepark in Wood County, but “it’s nothing like this.”

Khoury was planning to spend more time at The Park, but was also looking forward to zip lining and rock climbing.

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