Sun was beaming down on the Castleton University skatepark when sophomore Andreas Stefanokis went for a boardslide on the down rail in the middle of the park.
He surprised himself on his first attempt by actually landing on top of the rail but failed to connect his wheels to the ground
“It’s sketchy being that high up, especially because I haven’t done it before,” said the nursing major riding on a beaten “Anti-Hero” deck with “Independent” trucks.
He was wearing a pair of vans, ripped at the outside edge of his left foot, and cuffed black pants with his shirt tucked in the back pocket, exposing his one and only tattoo on his ribs.
Each attempt after that was just about the same.
The board would crack off of the box underneath it, the rail would sing, he would land on his feet unscathed, or he’d hit the ground.
“I really wrenched my back. This is fucked,” Stefanokis said in pain.
Despite the hurt, his friends were encouraging him to get cracking and land that trick.
“Yo, that was it. Stay on top,” Jack Strohmeier added with encouragement during one of “Dre’s” attempts.
It seemed like a never-ending cycle until it actually ended when he began to ooze blood from the bend of his left elbow.
Activity at the park like this happens a lot and there has been a noticeable rise in the skateboarding community around campus this year. Whether it’s someone riding to class on their board, cruising around a parking lot or shredding ramps and rails in the skatepark, the skaters are out in force.
“It takes more than just a board to be able to skate,” Stefanokis said. “It takes some technique, but it’s mostly a mindset, you know?”
Some residents of Morrill and Wheeler houses, whose balconies are facing the park, find it entertaining to watch people maneuver on a skateboard.
Others say they find it distracting while they’re trying to do work on their balcony because of how easy it is to find themselves rooting for the skaters below.
“It’s more entertaining than it is annoying, but, I mean, definitely distracting. But it’s a good distraction!” Jamilla Buzzel said through a smile.
“It’s pretty cool to go to a school with a skatepark,” Stefanokis said. “It’s definitely a cool factor having one on campus.”
But a few skaters in the area have find themselves traveling to other parks around Vermont in search of a bit of variety. They go to skate parks in Rutland, Manchester and Ludlow if the park stationed at “The Castle” isn’t hitting right that day. They said they like to mix it up because one skatepark can get pretty boring. It lacks a few things to make it a serious attraction for people who use it, they say.
“A whole new park made entirely out of concrete. Like, a bowl, a street area, a mini ramp. Mini ramps are chill. You can learn a lot of tricks on a mini ramp,” Andreas said when asked what could make the park better.
And while fall may be a transition, winter doesn’t seem to be an obstacle for skaters in the area. Most of them seem to be ready for the powder to hit and trade their wheels for their mountain carvers.
When asked what he was going to do during the winter, he said, “I’m going to ride at Okemo. Killington. I’m going to get the pass for sure. I think everybody who goes to Castleton and skis or snowboards should take advantage of that,” he said
“You’ll see me out there.”