It doesn’t take Mark Heyka to know that Montana’s weather imposes certain limitations on outdoor sports. Skateboarding, for instance, thrives at MOBASH Skatepark in McCormick Park during summer months and, for some diehards, dry winter stretches. But pulling an inward heel flip in two feet of snow? Not so much.
“As anyone knows, seven months out of the year you’re snowed under and can’t skate,” says Dylan Tucker. “We’re about to fix that.”
Tucker and his fiancé, Jayme Erickson, have launched a nonprofit organization set to open Missoula’s first indoor skatepark later this winter. The couple, along with co-director Josh McIntosh, secured a 10,000-square-foot warehouse on aptly named Roller Coaster Road—located west of the airport off of West Broadway—and begin construction on a 2,000-square-foot wood bowl next week. With approximately $50,000 already raised in private donations and corporate sponsorships, Tucker says the group’s next step is to raise additional funds for an indoor street course. If all goes as planned, Four Seasons Skatepark could open as early as November.
Tucker, 31, graduated from the University of Montana Journalism School and has been an integral part of the local skateboarding scene. He teaches at summer skateboarding camps around the country and was one of the original board members of the Montana Skatepark Association (MSA), which built MOBASH. Erickson, a professional skateboarder who still competes nationally, worked as a stuntwoman in Los Angeles—she was Lindsay Lohan’s double in Herbie Fully Loaded—before returning to UM, where she’s working toward her teaching certificate. Tucker says the skatepark has been something they’ve wanted to build for a long time and once they found the space, everything fell into place quickly.
“With Jayme’s connections in the industry and throughout the sport, plus the community’s support, it’s been amazing,” says Tucker.
“As a skateboarder, personally, I think it’s amazing and awesome,” says Chris Bacon, president of the MSA. “For the skateboarding community in general, I’m stoked that we’ll be able to add something like this. Missoula needs it.”
While Bacon is supportive of Four Seasons and has offered guidance, he’s careful to point out that MSA’s current grant structure doesn’t allow them to offer financial support to the project. That puts the onus back on the community to help Four Seasons reach its goal of $150,000.
“We’re already building, which is exciting,” says Tucker, “but we still have more to do to make this into the type of facility we envision.”