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Chinks Peak Skatepark

Photo of the old snakerun at Chinks Peak skatepark.

Chinese Peak, or as it is more commonly referred to as “Chinks Peak” skatepark is located in Pocatello Idaho. This particular skatepark gets its name from the mountain summit that stands as the backdrop to the skatepark, which derived during the 1890's when a Chinese man died near the summit. During 2001 the name was officially changed from Chinks Peak to Chinese Peak. So this park still exists today, it is in quite a state with cracks and trees going in some of the old runs, yet it is still rideable. The location of this skatepark makes this place so intriguing, it is in a very rural part of the world, that is surrounded by the high mountain ranges and the surroundings are very desolate yet it just sits there in perfect formation.

Aerial shot of Chinks Peak Skatepark 2023.

History of Chinese Peak Skatepark

Chinese Peak was completed during the summer of 1978. There was an early competition held in May of 1978 before the skatepark was fully completed, probably to create some hype around this place before its official launch. It was built by the Maag brothers who had received funding from their father to kick start this project.

Article mentioning the opening of Chinks Peak Skatepark. Dated the 5th of May 1978.
Idaho State Journal May 5th 1978

15 year old Jim Hess riding the snakerun at the Chinks Peak Skatepark. Dated July 23rd 1978.
South Idaho Press Sun, July 23rd 1978 feat 15 year old Jim Hess

Jim Hess 15, doing a 180 on the vert ramp out the front of Chinks Peak Skatepark. July 23rd 1978.
South Idaho Press Sun, July 23rd 1978. Feat 15 year old Jim Hess.

The skatepark has a total of 4 sections. The first is a deep, pretty narrow snakerun. It looks like it would have been quite difficult to ride, there are 5 of these mounds that would have been used as transitions to either gain air or to do more lip tricks. They widen out to what looks like the start of the run, which has this vert section with a small platform. So our guess is that you could either just roll in from the start of the run and hit the vert section or just carve down the snakerun. The next section is more of a mellow ditch or bowl that would have been used to target more beginners and intermediate skateboarders. You can also roll into the snakerun from this more mellow bowl. Today there is an entire tree going in the centre, which makes it more difficult to skate. The third is more of a flat area that potentially could have been used for more freestyle skateboarding. There are a few small bumps but the majority of this section is flat. The final section is a pretty short steep little ditch that looks like it was used as a half-pipe, then on the top you have these two platforms that sit opposite each other that would have been used to drop in and then basically hit the opposite lip. Chinese Peak looks like it has more of a DIY approach and could have posed quite a challenge to skate. It also seems like there was a wooden ramp that was setup out the front of the skatepark, based off one of the newspaper articles that we found.

Inside of the snakerun at Chinks Peak Skatepark, Idaho.

Picture of the middle ditch at Chinks Peak Skatepark, Idaho.

Picture of the vert section as you enter the snakerun at Chinks Peak Skatepark, Idaho.

So during the late 1970's, Chinese Peak Skatepark was one of 3 that existed in Idaho. The very first park to be built in Idaho was the Americana Skatepark in Boise, which included a bowl, snakerun and freestyle section. The snakerun was restricted for more advanced riders while the bowl section for more intermediate and freestyle sections for beginners. The second was in Idaho Falls, now we can’t find any information about this place, so if anyone has any history about this place please feel free to contact us.

During September of 1978, the Americana skatepark in Boise, was forced to close its gates due to profit losses and increasing insurance costs. There was an attempt to acquire a new lease for the land, yet this failed and the park was destroyed. It also became a liability as even after closure kids were breaking down the fences to get into the park. The owners were pushing that the local council take ownership of the skatepark, yet this attempt failed and the park was bulldozed. It is lucky that the same did not happen for Chinese Peak, the park eventually suffered the same fate, minus the destruction and closed its doors during 1983.

Article outlining that the Americana Skatepark in Boise is set to close it doors. Dated November 1978.
Idaho Statesman Nov 24th 1978.

Apart from an article and some nice pictures taken from Skate and Annoy, there is pretty well zero documentation of this place. There are a few random videos of this place during the winter when it is covered with snow, yet its really hard to gather much media for it back in the 1970’s. Majority of the information that we found on this was through a few newspaper articles, which only feature some bad quality black and white shots. We have been told that the same family still owns the property, yet the entire park has been fenced off since it closed in 1983. There is a rumour that Thrasher did approach the owners to do a photoshoot at the spot, but they were declined. Most recently inspired off our podcast episode a local resident decided to create a YouTube video about the skatepark which is a must see. This shows the most current state of the skatepark and also showcases the concerns about the construction that is undergoing in the area which highlights the risks ahead of this place.

So it is an interesting story this one, the skatepark has been left in its original state for decades untouched. It really is like a museum and a window into the history of skateboarding during the 1970's and really is a shame that it's just growing older with no sign of being resurrected.

During the course of our first season of skate spot pod, we have been looking into a lot of skateparks and this situation that we see in Chinese Peak is not uncommon. There are so many skateparks in the world that reside on private property, that are really just rotting away. Now our whole stance on this is that there should be more attention and push to track down these places and get them protected. With all the money many pros from that generation have I find it sad that there has not been a foundation setup that deals with history skatepark preservation. It is only a matter of time before so many of these places just perish and so does their history and contribution to skateboarding.

If you have any further information or media about any of these early skateparks in Idaho, please don't hesitate to contact us!


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