Building Community with Satellite Skate’s Raul Pinto

When you think of Boulder, you think of Chautauqua Park. You think of Saturdays with the Buffaloes and shopping bags filled with treasures from Pearl Street. You should also think of skateboarding.

Since Raul Pinto was 14-years-old, he’s been a part of the skateboarding community — first as a skate park builder and then as a skater himself. As co-owner of Satellite Skate and the leader of the new DIY skate park, Green Block Project, Pinto is doing his part to keep skating alive in Boulder for generations to come. 

The Green Block Project’s mission is to keep alive a sport that seemed to be growing in Boulder but didn’t have the proper support. Skaters were commuting to skate parks outside of the community, leaving Pinto and Satellite co-owner JG Mazzotta to conjure up an idea to keep kids skating within the city limits. 

“The skate community and city had been spinning its wheels for many years to move forward with plans on how to help skateboarding grow,” says Pinto.

By reimagining unused land and working alongside students from CU’s environmental design program and even young skaters throughout the community, Pinto designed a street-style skating area perfect for nailing a kickflip. All of the features of the pavilion stake park were donated by community members. 

“The green block and what we have planned moving forward with the city is so much more than building skateparks,” says Pinto. “It’s building safe spaces for kids to be creative on any vehicle and turning neighborhood relationships into lifetime passions.” 

Born in San Francisco and raised by a single mom, Pinto found skating through his eighth grade friends and it quickly became his obsession. After earning a degree in environmental design from CU, Pinto’s continued passion for skating led way to the birth of a new attraction at Valmont City Park. 

“From my standpoint skating has always been a safe space, but it’s been perceived a certain way for so many years,” said Pinto. “It’s been Satellite’s job to make it a creative and inclusive space since 2002.

“I had worked on a thesis project in college on Drosscapes with a visiting professor, Allen Berger, from Harvard, who had asked us to do city mapping based around the idea of destitute or unused public space.”

From this came the Green Block Project.   

The community has rallied behind the innovative idea of the Green Block Project, providing Pinto and his team at Satellite with overwhelming support. 

“Figuratively speaking, everyone that has put on the Satellite uniform has bled it until the end, and that creativity has led them to careers in our industry and beyond,” says Pinto. “They’ve used the creative experience at Satellite and installation to become something even more amazing down the road.” 

Pinto hopes for continued support for not just Satellite, but all small businesses throughout the Boulder community. 

“I have hope and creativity so I believe that locals and newcomers will continue to support Satellite and see what shopping locally has done for our culture and how much more potential there is for it to grow.”

But as things change, Pinto’s life philosophy remains constant.

“Remember to lead, not follow,” says Pinto. “And always push with your good foot.”