Gimme Shelter

Running an indoor skatepark isn’t easy. If you’ve been riding for a few years you’ve probably seen a fair number of parks come and go. Upstate NY, specifically the Albany area, has its share of street spots but save a few backyard setups, bmx-friendly transition is almost nonexistent. Fortunately, The Shelter Skatepark in Albany started opening its doors to bikes two years ago, making Northeast winters a little easier to handle.

The Shelter – Version 1

In the summer of 2010, The Shelter was faced with the situation of needing to leave the space they had occupied for close to seven years. The options were few. Move into the vacant warehouse space next door, halving the square footage in the process or close the doors for good. In order to keep the park alive, the existing ramps would have to be broken down and moved. The available warehouse space would need heavy demolition and remodeling before building with existing ramps, a four digit budget in a very short window of time.

At this point you have a choice, take on this very difficult task or let it be and return to the 3-4 hour weekend trips to the closest skatepark. If you’re truly passionate about something, a scenario like this doesn’t look like much of a choice. The only option is to form a plan, pool all available resources and give it all you have.

Demolition of the old park

A bunch of bmxers and a handful of skateboarders proceeded to spend two months putting in long days, late nights and vacation time busting their asses. Lack of electricity, materials and time made the process difficult, but everyone persevered. End result was a fun park to ride all winter long.

Build process

October 22, 2010 the Shelter re-opened its doors.

Trevor Ashworth (right) toothpicking and inspecting the masonite he pre-drilled

There were kids who sat on their bikes complaining that the park wasn’t triple the size with a bowl and full street plaza. There were guys fresh off of two months of building enjoying the fruits of their labor. Most importantly, there were kids with open mouths and wide eyes watching people ride these ramps in ways they could have never imagined.

If you’ve been riding for any length of time, you know you were once in awe as they were. You know how pivotal that moment can be.

Toby Pettinelli (left) walltapping out of the bank to transition he built

Check out for more info on the park. Build your own fun.

Jason Morris

Code slinger at leastmost and bmxfeed. Ramp building and lip trick enthusiast.