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Ramping It Up
For the extreme athletes to show off their skills, they needed the proper architecture for riding and skating. Perhaps not surprisingly, real-life malls lack the kinds of ramps they needed. The production would have to build the ramps, and so they went to the best.

Nate Wessel is the premiere ramp builder working today. "Nate makes all of the parks for the X-Games,” O'Hara says. "He's had the contract with them for four years.”

O'Hara, Wessel, and Blake teamed to build ramps that would integrate with the look of the mall and the sets without being obvious. It was fairly easy to include ramps in the blueprint of new sets like Santa's Village and the ball pit, a little more challenging to incorporate them into the public areas of the mall itself. But with the dream design team in place, even the crew was often fooled by what was permanent and what was set.

"We worked pretty hard with Perry Blake to make ramps into the mall and still have it look like a mall,” O'Hara confirms.

"We needed to make opportunities for our BMX guys, our skateboarders and our free runners to be able to interact with the different sets,” Blake adds, "and still have it feel natural.

"So we brought Nate in to make ramps that look organic to the mall. We have planters and benches and even storefronts that didn't exist. They were all made to look like they lived in the mall, and they gave us the opportunity for our skaters and bikers to really hit them and do all the stuff they do so great.”

"Nate Wessel made it legitimate,” O'Hara points out. "Everybody knows who Nate Wessel is. He is the number one extreme sports ramp builder.”


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