See you at Scotty’s: Tahoe City’s first skate park opens
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Scotty Lapp and his group friends were well acquainted with officers of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
Not because they were known for getting into trouble or causing problems around the North Lake Tahoe area, but because of their love of skateboarding.
Lapp and his friends could often be found grinding curbs at one of the local schools or creating features to hit at the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transportation station.
Eventually the crew, though never causing real harm, would find themselves being urged along by local law enforcement, but not before begging an officer to let them hit one last feature — all the time dreaming of a place they could call their own.
“Scotty loved nothing more than having the whole crew together,’ said mother Amy Lapp. “We want them to have a place where they belong, where they can be together.”
Skate for Scotty
It’s been roughly six months since Lapp passed away following a ski accident at Alpine Meadows.
Lapp’s death, which occurred Feb. 13, when he collided with another young skier, left the Tahoe community reeling. But in the wake of tragedy, that community has risen to honor his spirit, erecting a temporary skatepark in Tahoe City — the first of its kind — with an open invitation for all to join in remembrance of the North Tahoe High School sophomore and to simply, skate for Scotty.
“I can’t get over the fact that it’s actually here,” said Lapp’s friend Ezra Sullivan. “It has pretty much everything you could ask for from a skatepark. You have a chill rail. You have a hip. You got good progression for learning how to drop into quarter pipes. It’s got ledges, a three-stair, a five-stair — it’s a good park to learn how to skate at.”
The 4,000-square-foot temporary skatepark opened in Tahoe City last month, and will be available free to the public every Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to sunset. The park is located in the parking lot of outdoor retail company evo’s recently acquired property at the site previously occupied by the historic Tahoe Inn building and America’s Best Value Inn.
“We have been so inspired and grateful to hear the vision of the Lapp family,” said Tommy Trause, head of new locations development and hospitality at evo. “When we heard what the Lapp’s were doing, we were just honored to be introduced to them … We’re just so stoked for their vision of the skatepark and the memory of Scotty.”
Though only moving to the area last fall, Lapp made an immediate impact on those around him.
From a classmate saying he was the only one to say good morning to her each day in the halls of North Tahoe High School to helping a younger peer learn a new trick skateboarding, Lapp found a way to connect with anyone he met.
That spirit now lives on at the Pop Up Scotty Lapp Memorial Skatepark to the tune of youngsters slapping their boards against plywood as they cheer on a landed trick from one of their friends.
“He was the type of kid to help all of the younger kids out,” added Sullivan. “He would have been mind blown. He was the one that was really finding all of the spots in Tahoe City for us.”
The pop-up skatepark has a variety of features for people to get creative on, including a mini pipe, hip, flatbank, two quarter pipes, 5-stair with a hubby, tabletop, flat down bar, step up gap, 3-stair, grind ledge and China gap ramps.
For decades skaters have asked for a park in Tahoe City, and have instead had to find other places in town or travel to parks in Incline Village or Truckee.
“Talk of a skate park in Tahoe City has been going on since I first moved to the area 30 years ago,” said local sports legend Jeremy Jones in an Instagram post. “The late Scotty Lapp continued to get kicked out of the same skate spot my friends and I would. Thanks to the Scotty Lapp Foundation’s relentless effort we now have a place to skate without getting the cops called.”
’He’d just start skateboarding’
Lapp’s energy was “just unmatched” recalled Team Palisades Tahoe teammate Stellan Lane.
He could befriend anyone in any situation said those that knew him. He’d often go out of his way to help those younger than him or be found leading a chorus of cheers after a friend finally landed that trick he’d been working on all day.
“He’s still doing his work,” said his mother Amy when looking out at the pop-up skatepark. “This is all him.”
On Sunday, Aug. 28, the park was full of skaters ages ranging from children barely enough to stand on a board to adults enjoying a long-held dream of skatepark in Tahoe City.
“It was such a surprise, but having it is amazing,” said friend Kadin Harris. “Everyone was expecting like two more summers (before a park was built) and we’re standing in a skate park right now. This isn’t two summers from now. It’s right now. There’s nothing more we could ask for.”
Harris said he and Lapp envisioned opening a clothing line together. Following Lapp’s death, Harris launched http://www.smokebomb.shop to help promote skate tournaments and raise funds for a permanent park in Lapp’s honor.
“To have this is super cool, especially in Tahoe. There’s so many skaters here,” said Harris.
“Scotty would be in so much disbelief. His jaw would just drop to the floor and he’d just start skateboarding. He wouldn’t say anything, he wouldn’t say anything. He’d just start skating. He’d be like, ‘I gotta try this out.’”
Scotty Lapp Memorial Skatepark
Plans are to keep the pop-up park open until snow falls this winter. The Lapp family said they also hope to soon receive a permit to open the park daily.
Future plans include a permanent skatepark in memory of Lapp. A site has yet to be determined for the future park.
“We are hard at work fundraising and collaborating with Placer County and the North Lake Tahoe community to find a permanent home for the Scotty Lapp Memorial Skatepark, but in the meantime, having partners like EVO step up to offer a temporary location and insurance to open a pop-up skatepark has been incredible,” said Amy Lapp. “Our intention is to give people of all ages and backgrounds a local, legal, safe place to gather and connect to their common love of skateboarding, and we hope the pop-up park helps to demonstrate how valuable this can be for our community.”
Amy Lapp and family have set up the Scotty Lapp Foundation, which has a goal of finding a location that can accommodate a 20,000 square-foot park that is inclusive, accessible, community-minded, attractive and a safe space for all.
Between mid-February and June, $250,000 has been raised, however depending on the size of the park that can be built on the land that is made available, the cost to construct the skatepark could exceed $1 million.
“This community is like something I’ve never seen,” said Amy Lapp. “They’ve lifted us up, scooped us up, and wrapped us up in their arms and still are.”
The Foundation also has the support of Placer County, the Tahoe City Public Utility District and The Skatepark Project.
To learn more or to donate, visit scottylappmemorialskatepark.org.
“As a Mom, the last thing you want is for someone to forget,” said Amy Lapp. “I don’t want anyone to ever forget him. I want people to remember him so let’s build something.”
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.