Music | October 1, 2021 11:05 am

Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament Has an Ambitious Skateboarding Plan for Montana

He's been working at it for seven years

Jeff Ament
Bassist Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam performs live on stage during Ohana Festival at Doheny State Beach on September 26, 2021 in Dana Point, California.

If you associate Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament with one state, it’s probably Washington — after all, Ament has played in notable Seattle bands ever since his days in Green River in the mid-1980s. But it turns out there’s another state that’s near and dear to his heart — and one where he’s taking a substantial stance on a certain corner of its infrastructure. That would be skateparks, something Ament is working to increase the presence of in the Treasure State.

Ament grew up in the town of Big Sandy, and now resides in Missoula — and, as a new article in The New York Times points out, he’s been involved in setting up skateparks throughout the region, principally in Montana. (The article notes that three are in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.) Via his foundation, the Montana Pool Service, Ament has built 27 skateparks in the last seven years.

Given the pandemic’s effect on touring musicians, Ament has had more time to work on the foundation in the last year and a half. This has also found him driving around to do maintenance work on some of the parks he’s been involved with setting up over the years. At the Times, Jim Robbins describes Ament driving from skatepark to skatepark and sweeping up several parks and cleaning the walls of another.

For Ament, skateboarding itself can help ease depression and build community, something Kim Petersen of Girls Who Shred echoed in a comment to the Times. “People come from all over the world to skate here and if you’re a kid, you are going to see some amazing stuff,” she said. Montana might not be the first state you think of when skateboarding comes to mind — but maybe it should be.