Bring back the skaters – with just a few rules
So badly we want to say “Thrash on, ‘Bonedale!”Unfortunately, fire and vandalism have made it much more difficult to suggest that a second year is in order for the Thrasher Magazine Carbondale Run, a skateboarding competition/free-for-all that descended on Carbondale last weekend.The event itself was something to marvel. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of skateboarders traveled from around country to Carbondale to check out the town’s recently completed skatepark and compete against one another.Saturday’s contest was scrapped due to heavy rains, but the inclement weather really didn’t stop much else. Hundreds of skinny skaters with short hair and black T-shirts lined the skatepark, waiting for the right time to jump in and show off their moves to the spectators stacked behind them.Throughout the day, live punk bands banged out the driving rhythms to match the edgy athleticism on display in the skatepark. Beer flowed freely. Cops and security personnel mixed in with the crowd, keeping a nervous eye on what at times felt like anarchy.For most of the day, it was fine. Though the event teetered on the edge of mayhem, it never crossed the line.In fact, the Carbondale Police Department deserves a nod for not over-reacting when all the mud and booze and boards and people were flying full throttle.But by about 9 p.m. Saturday night, the giant hay bales that rancher Paul Nieslanik stores on the plateau above the skatepark were fully engulfed in flames. By Monday, Nieslanik was negotiating a settlement with his insurance company for 240 tons of lost hay.Fireworks set off nearby were one of the potential causes under investigation this week. Meanwhile, in town, a tree on Main Street was denuded of its branches and an ATM machine was smashed in. From a purely anecdotal point of view, it feels like the damage would never have occurred if all those skateboarders and headbangers had stayed home.On the other hand, it was refreshing to have some punk music and skateboarding here in the valley as an alternative to the usual jet-set suspects who come here to play. It felt a lot more Fundeck than Sundeck.Ideally, the town of Carbondale can work with Carbondale Run organizers to make a second annual event possible. More self-control and a few clear and well-enforced rules would be a good start on the skater side. Better planning and preparation is needed on the town side.If this event can be pulled off next year without a fire or vandalism, it should be welcomed.After all, this valley can use a breath of fresh mayhem every now and then.Thrash on, ‘Bonedale.
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After several loud explosions near the Smuggler Mine rocked Aspen on Saturday morning, local and state authorities are digging in to the cause and impact of the blast.