This winter, manager Blake Waters and skater Cory Distad chopped up the existing park at 61297 390th Ave., Zumbro Falls and put it back together in a better way. For four weeks, for seven to eight hours a day, Distad and Waters put hammer to nail and crafted a beautiful redesign.
They’re celebrating the improvements with a skateboard contest on March 11. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and the contest starts at 2:00 p.m. Competition classes are intermediate and expert, and there is a $15 entry fee.
Spectating, however, is free and encouraged. Similar events in the Twin Cities draw close to a hundred people. Winona’s last contest garnered 20 or so people.
The park opened in 2010. “The first year was pretty slow getting going, not many people knew that we were out, because we’re so far in the middle of nowhere,” said Waters.
Soon, though, word spread and a scene built itself around the park. Contests helped garner the attention of more skaters and bikers. A handful of Rochester skaters made a habit of going once a week to keep their skills up.
Indoor parks are essential to skateboarding in the winter. “You can skate in parking ramps, but security does kick you out, and with cars driving in there, slush and water and whatnot from all the cars coming in and out. And sand, too. That kind of makes it terrible,” said Distad.
The last three years have seen a drop-off in interest, though, which helped spur the rebuild in a desire to bolster the scene. The plan is working.
“Last weekend, when I was there, there were probably thirty, forty kids,” said Distad.
As word spreads, and new people get attracted to the park, skatepark etiquette is important to consider.
“As kids are wanting to drop in but they’re unsure, just follow the same order as we’re all hitting the rail or the hip. You go, then you go, then me, then so on. Keep repeating it,” Distad advised.
Accidental snaking, or cutting in line, happens all the time. Just say sorry. If you’re hesitating, someone might jump past you. Watch for the order, and pay attention to the rhythm.
During the winter, Over the Top Skatepark is open Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. From April 15 through October 1, the park is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days a week. It costs $10 for the day.