Normally, when people think of Montana, they think of horses, skiing, mountains, snow, cold temperatures, and more. Usually not skateparks. However, Jeff Ament from the band Pearl Jam is trying to change that thought. He founded and is funding an organization to build skate parks around Montana.
Jeff Ament told nytimes.com, “It’s much bigger than skateboarding. You are teaching kids to get up when they fall.” That means so much to kids in rural areas or small towns because they will fall a lot but get back up more. For a while, Montana actually had one of the highest suicide rates in the United States, but it doesn’t get looked at that much. So, Jeff Ament’s Army, a division in the Montana Skatepark Association, started building and funding the incoming skateparks. According to montanaskateparks.org, skateboarding is healthy and entertaining for all ages and skill levels. They also stated that there is little maintenance when it is put in and that there is very little and cheap equipment.
Skateboarding is not only a sport, but a coping mechanism. As said on concretejunglefoundation.com, “It’s escapism. You go skating with your friends and everything is normal.” That quote is true for an extraordinary amount of people who learned skateboarding during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic or if they have been skating for years. Not just for the stereotypical skater boy, but for girls too. In Montana, as a strand of Montana Skatepark Association, Girls on Shred (GOS) attempts to diminish the inequality of the male-dominated sport. Almost every month, GOS hosts at least one event each month, including snowboarding events in the western region of Montana.
Ultimately, the skateparks that Jeff Ament’s Army in Montana are installing and maintaining will be relieving for the skaters who use them. To either try some new tricks or to just escape this world and go to their own. The skateparks will help drastically and possibly have Montana get more visitors, just not for the mountains or other various land features.