In 1987, one of the most popular skateboarders in the world came to Canada to design and build the world’s first connected multi-mini-ramp. Lance Mountain spent time on our west coast sawing, hammering and counter-sinking with a pack of Canadian teenagers to build The Richmond Skate Ranch in Vancouver. There was no ego dividing pros Lance and Kevin Harris and the small crew of skaters involved, and their little ramp soon became an international destination. We caught up with Lance to hear how it all came together. —Sean Mortimer

Lance Mountain, Frontside Invert. Fick photo

“Neil Blender was the one who told me Vancouver was rad to begin with. He’d gone there for a contest and stayed for a while because he really enjoyed it.

    Kevin Harris and I both skated for Powell-Peralta and went on tours around the world together in the ‘80s. Animal Chin had come out in 1987 and Kevin wanted to help build the scene in Vancouver. He already ran his skateboard distribution company, Ultimate, but wanted to open an indoor skatepark as well. We had talked on tour and he asked if I wanted to help him build what he called a ‘mini-Chin’ ramp. He wanted a ramp with features like the Animal Chin ramp, but with small hips and spines. We just tried to connect ramps together to get more options and lines like at the old parks we grew up in.

    Kevin came from a strong skate scene and knew the strength that comes from that. If you can build a place where skaters can come hang and spend time together, it’ll draw more people, which will help skateboarding grow. It wasn’t like Kevin was trying to start a scene—there already was one there. It had roots. He just seemed like he was trying sustain the scene.

    I built the park with the locals. I designed it and cut wood and directed people on what to do. I wanted to be part of it. That’s how I’ve always been. Sometimes there’s a perception that if you get in there and do the dirty work that you’re not an elite skater, but I’ve always loved helping out.

    When the Ranch had to find a new location, Neil came and helped me build the second set of ramps. Neil doesn’t go anywhere unless he likes it, so I know he must really like Vancouver. By that time at the Ranch, there was a full-on scene. It had built up, for sure. Some strong kids were coming out of it: Colin McKay, Sluggo, Moses Itkonen, and Rick Howard. It was obvious that this was a place for kids to develop and get better.  I liked building the Ranch.”

As told to Sean Mortimer