Crossroads Skate Shop & Park opened its doors in Ogden in 2008, providing a new indoor public space for skaters to keep skating during the winter months. Over the past three years, the shop has become a staple of the Ogden skate scene with its quality brands and what co-founder Dr. Sam Dahlin refers to as “cheap baby-sitting” for young skate rats. What many don’t know about the shop is that it is an extension of Crossroads Academy and serves to provide work experience for boys enrolled in the therapeutic boarding school that hosts out-of-state youth for rehabilitation.
When Dahlin opened Crossroads Academy with Derek Bowles and Eric Dahlin, his goal was to create a program that implemented the things that had given meaning to his life and had helped him through his time of drugs and alcohol. “I definitely have that thrill-seeking gene and that was a big part of why I was into drugs and alcohol, but I think that’s also why I was more prone to board sports,” says Sam. His moment of clarity came to him in what he describes as his “rock-bottom experience,” over 20 years ago when he was attending a community college in San Jose. Sam passed out at the wheel after a night of partying and hit some parked cars, totaling his and two others. Miraculously, he walked away unscathed, and decided to make something meaningful of the experience.
Since then, Dahlin has developed a philosophy that Crossroads Academy employs with all of its students. “A big part of overcoming addiction is figuring out what your values are, and then living those values, as well as having some goals to work towards. That’s what board sports are all about: finding those passions, finding some meaning to your life,” he says. The academy uses recreation such as skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding as the centerpiece of their program. “At most schools, kids have to earn activities like this, but we believe that recreation is therapeutic. Any kind of physical activity is really good, it gets the neuro-transmitters in your brain firing the way they’re supposed to without any medication,” says Dahlin. There are currently 28 students enrolled in the academy, which provides a nine-to-12 month program for boys ages 13-17 who come from all over the nation to experience the many “natural highs” Utah has to offer.
Students at Crossroads spend a portion of every day either at the gym, riding at Powder Mountain in the winter, wakeboarding at Pineview Reservoir in the summer or skating at the indoor park anytime of the year. The school also takes every student on a two-week annual service trip out of the country. Following their week of service, students spend a week at a surf camp learning how to surf: an illustration of the “work hard, play hard” culture at Crossroads.
The skate shop/park, which was founded a year and a half after the school, was originally opened solely to serve as a place of employment for students. “We wanted all of our boys to go out and find jobs as soon as they hit the four-month mark,” says Sam. Unfortunately, with the economy struggling, students were having trouble finding jobs. “We decided to open up our own shop where kids can come and work. Then we thought, okay, most shops don’t make it, so let’s build one with a skate park in it, that way our boys can skate year round and the community can have a drug-free place to come skate as well,” says Dahlin.
The shop/park, which launched their grand re-opening last September after completely revamping the layout, has picked up steam over the last year. “We’re trying to set [Crossroads] as the local hub for skating in Ogden. People can come stop by before they hit a spot and get their bearings or wheels or just come hit the park if it’s raining or snowing,” says Sam’s nephew Jeff Dahlin, who co-manages and supervises the shop.
Jeff notes that the indoor park has also been great for the younger kids that come to skate. “The kids here progress so fast so young because they’re able to be here all day, and skate these big obstacles, as opposed to skating in front of their house on a little rail their dad built,” says Jeff.
The academy hopes to one day open an outpatient program for kids in Ogden and the surrounding areas to participate in, but until then, come shred their park and see for yourself what all the buzz is about. Crossroads is located at 95 N. Harrisville Road in Ogden. You can also check them out on Facebook and at crossroadsskatepark.com.