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Home » Recreation in St. Albans, Things to do with Kids in St. Albans

Skateboarding in St. Albans: Pioneer Skate Park & Conspiracy Skate Store

Submitted by Robin Hamman on June 11, 2007 – 12:254 Comments

  Girls Skate Jam 2007 252 
  Originally uploaded by breakbeat

We discovered Pioneer Skate Park a couple years ago when our nephew, then 13, came to visit us for part of the summer. He’d just started skating so was very much a beginner when we took him the first time. After signing the mandatory waiver forms, he was introduced to one of the skate guards who promptly introduced him to a few of the more expert skaters there that day. Before long, our nephew was getting what basically amounted to a free beginner’s lesson. For the next few weeks, we dropped him off at the Pioneer, knowing that he’d have a good time and that the skate guards would ensure he came back in one piece.

By and large, the kids, teenagers and parents we met at the Pioneer were friendly, welcoming and – as far as we could tell – the skatepark was entirely free from drug or alcohol problems.

Here’s what some local skaters thought of the Pioneer.

Pioneer Skate Park is located about 10 minutes walk from the north end of St. Peter Street, on Heathlands Drive, St Albans, Hertfordshire Tel: 01727 850741.

If you want to find out more about the local skating scene, Conspiracy Skate and Snowboard Store on London Road (near Domino’s Pizza) would be a good starting point. You’ll find them at 17 London Road, St Albans. Tel: 0870 752 8880 Email: mail@conspiracyclothing.co.uk

GeoData

Popularity: 39% [?]

4 Comments »

  • P. Parker says:

    I have been skating (rollerblading) regularly at the Pioneer now since 1998, and I have to say, this was one of the most legendary UK skateparks in the oldschool days. I have made many friends there, most of which have become my best buddys to this date. Pros would travel from all around the UK to roll there and experience the great lines, the atmosphere, and the friendliness of the locals. I pretty much grew up skating the Pioneer every Monday night after school, all the way through to today. Pioneer was an asset to both the skateboarding and the inline UK scene. It holds some of my best memories, and helped craft my skating to an advanced level.
    Unfortunately, today, the Pioneer is a mere shadow of its former self. The ramp setup was changed a few years ago from one of the most pleasurable and gutsy setups I have skated to a watered-down, meek, and rather lame excuse for an indoor skatepark. The rails are boringly low, not to mention ALL square, there is an unreasonably wide flatbank where the space it consumes could be put to use for far more interesting and useful ramp combinations, and there are ramps (like the double rail pyramid) against the wall which are pretty much no use to man or beast. The frankly quite amatuer lack of imagination that has gone into the latest layout of this ‘park’ is simply heartbreaking to anyone who skated this place before 2002. And unlike other skateparks around the UK, it doesn’t change or get updated, and adding insult to injury, the maintenance of the ramps is appauling.
    The outside ramp, pleasurable as it is to ride, rarely sees use due to typical British weather and the lack of a canopy. The result of this, it has to be resurfaced yearly, with cheap wood which rots after a downpour.
    Upon questioning a member of staff as to whether they had maintenance tools for the ramps which I needed to remedy a sharp screwhead protruding from a quarterpipe, I was presented with a pair of child’s scissors to fix the offending screw. We now bring our own tools in a van, but even so, we as paying customers should not be expected to maintain the ramps we ride, just because the staff won’t. If they claim they are, then I should say they are doing a darn poor job.
    And for Christs sake, don’t leave your personal belongings around the skatepark, as they will disappear. I’ve lost several bags in the past at Pioneer, due to lack of lockers, and not being old enough to have my own vehicle. Too many lightfingered little toerags hang around these parts, so beware. Now I leave my gear in the car.
    The skatepark staff don’t seem to give a rats whether they are getting customers or not, or even what the active skaters are doing, and the attitude and lack of dedication to the job they are contracted to do is very grim. And the first aid procedures are less than acceptable. A friend of mine broke his wrist there fairly recently, and the staff didn’t have the first idea what to do with him, or even how to fold a sling.
    Pioneer used to even open bank holiday Monday evenings, so the local rollers could have a session as normal, as there is no holidays in skating! We don’t even get that anymore, as no one wants to open up, never mind money.
    These days, they seem to find every excuse possible to not open the skatepark, and to be quite honest, its not good enough. You’d be hard pushed to find more than a few people skating there at one time.
    So if you guys at Pioneer are reading this, take heed.
    You are going the right way to completely killing off whats left of a once-decent skatepark. If you want to stay in business, sort out the above problems without excuse. The Herts and Beds rollers are sick of your rubbish and are rapidly losing faith in Pioneer’s worthiness in both the skateboarding and rollerblading scene. Don’t wait until no one bothers coming anymore, do something about it now.
    So all in all, a small, ugly, boring park with a bad attitude and maintenance problems. It no longer deserves the good name it has sported for over a decade and quite frankly, its dead in the water.
    If you are after a good skatepark in ta reasonable distance, try out Wigmore ramp in Luton (near the airport), Harpenden skatepark in Rothampstead park, Bedford shortstown, Hemel, Biggleswade or Borehamwood. Indoors, I would highly reccomend Corby’s Adrenaline Alley or an easy train trip to Londons Bay66 (formerly Playstation) in Ladbroke Grove.
    Don’t waste your time or money on Pioneer, you’ll only be dissapointed.

  • J.Talbot says:

    This is a view, true. However if you would like an unbiased view of the Pioneer from someone who has worked at the park since 2001/2 then conact me on my address. Some of the problems highlighted above have been a major issue, largely due to politics and management issues however doesn’t portray an honest picture of the place to this day. You can find me on Facebook (Joff Talbot) leave a message for me there if you can as I can’t put up my email address on here.

  • sk8burger says:

    I fear the Pioneer has been going down hill since the new senior youth worker replaced Ian Marchant a couple of years back.Out went common sense and listening to what skaters and Skateboarders wanted ( and hot food) and in came political correctness.Rodney who started the skatepark left:photography was banned and parents forbidden to watch their kids skate unless they had been police checked.Now the place is but a shaddow of its
    former friendly self…no wonder it is loosing money

  • Alot of the above is a very bad way to look at and advertise our park. We have had issues with management and funding but currently the park is doing well for its self and is busy every session. Please check our website out and come down for a session to see for yourselves rather than listen to this pessimistic bunch of People!
    http://www.pioneerskatepark.co.uk