Action sports are one thing – building ramps is a totally different thing, yet they are inseparable. California RampWorks is the most trusted and well-known design and build firm of premium action sports courses and events globally. D-rooted in the skateboarding community and beyond, CA RampWorks is known for its creativity and customization going into each and every project. We sat down with Brian Harper, Founder and President of CA RampWorks, and got some insights into their mind-blowing build of the 2017 X Games course.
Tell us a bit about CA RampWorks and how it all started, please!
California RampWorks all started when California Skateparks merged/bought Vertical Production Industries (VPI) to form a new company that could focus on building the highest quality event/temporary structures in the action sports world. California Skateparks was already the leader in permanent concrete skateparks and VPI was the top wooden temporary/event skateparks builder, the combination of all the principles involved quickly made CA RampWorks the premier choice for events worldwide.
How long have you been involved in building the courses for the X Games?
We have been involved with X Games one way or another since 1996. Our presence there has grown over the years and we are now responsible for building all of the skateboard courses, most of the BMX courses and we have added in the interactive areas open to the public.
How long did it take to build the entire construction?
It took 14 days to build X Games inside US Bank Stadium. This includes Street, Big Air, Park, Vert and the interactive obstacles. We used to have a whole month to build these courses, but with the progression of our building techniques, the use of concrete, and our experience, we have been able to bring the build time down to make it easier to occupy venues like the US Bank Stadium that have events year round.
You are a fairly big crew, how many people did you need to finish the build in time?
We have 26 crew members who can truly be called jacks of all trades - they are carpenters, welders, and climbers. Our crew is a diverse group, each with their own expertise, some with passions for building, skateboarding, and BMX. In addition, we also bring in 10 of the best concrete finishers to finish the park and street courses, making these competition courses one of a kind works of art.
What is the most exciting thing about this specific project?
There are so many exciting things about being a part of the X Games, the history of X Games is a rich one and we are so grateful to have been so much a part of that. The first and probably most exciting thing is to watch our design literally come to life. We spend months brainstorming, drawing, and re-drawing the perfect park for that year based on the progression of the sports as well as the venue itself. We render the courses with all the perfect colors and exact dimensions and then we get to build it into existence. We are able to see progress every day, specifically on this project seeing the Viking ship come to life was awesome. A close second as the most exciting thing is getting to watch others enjoy what you just built. Nothing rivals the pride we feel when someone comes up and says “Hey, this is the best course I have ever seen. “
Was it helpful to have the support of STANLEY?
The support of STANLEY during this X Games build was overwhelming, from knowing that we had reliable tools in the hands of all our crew to having a place for everything in the tool boxes and tool chests gave us all the confidence we needed. Pride in our tools is something we take very seriously and STANLEY has surpassed our expectations in quality of tools when really put to the test.
What is your favourite tool?
In a quick poll, the STANLEY® FATMAX® Tape Measure seemed to be the fan favorite. We use tape measures throughout every portion of the build and a reliable one that won’t break or kink or stay put is key in our line of work.
What is more fun – building the course or riding it? :)
That’s a tough question and I think you would get different answers from all of our crew! However, it is definitely a perk of the job to get to skate or ride something you just built.
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