Forbidden Skatepark: Build it Till it Flows
Out of the ashes of dead history skaters make it new. With that in mind Gitxsan skate punk and GOB rider Bubba Muldoe took his crew and 17 bags of cement sherpa style up to the skeletal remains of Forbidden Ski Lodge for a special 30th birthday party and the birth of something new: rising like a cement phoenix out of the ashes, a skate park in the ruins.
On Muldoe’s 30th he and crew built one small ramp, threw up some lights, threw in some djs and sparkle and have ever since been bringing the work party and their mantra: build it till it flows to the slopes. A graffiti gallery of immense beauty has emerged on the walls, rusty parts have been collected like archeological remains waiting to be transformed into rails and grinds, cement slabs have been jig saw puzzled into ramps, benches and bamboo planters.
Muldoe grew up in Prince Rupert. Finding a place to skate in rainy Rupert a challenge that requires imagination. Muldoe who has been skating since the age of seven would wrap his board up in plastic bags and follow his older brother to the one covered area in the fishing community at a mall where he could skate. The wrapped skateboard was often confused for a fish by the locals. He’d skate and walk back home in a deluge.
Since living in the Comox Valley, Muldoe with friends has built a skate park in the ruins of the old Field saw mill. Skaters by their very nature are guerilla artists and developers. Where some see ruins and a death trap skaters see a massive cement playground of unlimited potential. The history of the area supports adventure over caution, adrenaline over fear.
Located on the lower slopes of Mt. Becher history runs deep. A Komoks First Nation story tells of how Forbidden got its name. Adventurous hikers, snowshoers and skiers explored and and in the 1930s the first lodge was constructed.
Then, in 1946 The largest recorded earthquake on Vancouver Island shattered the development in the area with an earth shaking 7.3 on the Richter scale. Recovering from this setback serious ski activity kicked off on the slope with the installation of lifts in 1949 for the establishment of Wood Mountain Ski Park.
Intense snowfall took out the roof to the day lodge in 1999, and the lifts have been out of commission ever since. Fire also hit the remains of the day lodge.
Crawling in to the wreckage and history are Bubba and crew to build the perfect beast. At Forbidden they are free.
Grant Shilling, a writer, artist and street outreach worker is the author of the Cedar Surf: An Informal History of Surfing In British Columbia (www. cedarsurf. com) and Surfing With the Devil: In Search of Waves and Peace in the Middle East (www. surfingwiththedevil. com).