01 Nov How to Survive Winter as a Skateboarder
Skateboarding’s a hell of a drug!
But seriously, as skateboarders, our passion to get out and cruise can sometimes feel like a real addiction. Especially with endless skate videos shown to us on social media every day, sometimes going just a few days without riding your board can feel like an eternity!
If there’s anyone who understands the pain of not being able to skate, it’s those of us who live in cold and wet climates. As a skateboarder who grew up in Michigan, I know all too well what it’s like to skate in a freezing garage or tiny basement, just to get the thrill of feeling your board again in the winter.
For skateboarders who are (un)lucky enough to live in the upper northern hemisphere, November through March can be some of the most dreaded times of the year.
When the cold winter days seem endless and you can’t stop thinking about skating, you start to wonder “Where can I skateboard in the winter?”.
The answer: You have to make like a true skateboarder and get creative! To inspire and spark your creativity, we’ve put together this list of things to do to help you survive winter as a skateboarder.
Take a Skate-cation
Seriously, just leave!
Okay, okay… it’s easier said than done to plan a trip so far away that you completely leave the cold climate you’re in. Chances are, you’ll have to travel at least several hours or fly on a plane. Not to mention, getting time off work and simply having the money to take the trip. But, hear us out.
Skateboarding is largely about exploration! Your skateboard is like a discovery tool, always encouraging you to go a little further and search a little more to find the next best spot. Sometimes, the journey to skate can be just as much fun as the skating!
During those cold winter months when you’re fiending to skate, there’s no better time to take a skate-cation to a warmer destination. If you’re concerned about the time or money it will take, consider these things:
- You’ll probably meet new skate friends along the way
- New spots will challenge your skating in new ways
- Getting out of a dull winter routine can make life a whole lot better overall
Consider these awesome destinations to skate in the winter:
- Anywhere that’s not wet, snowy, or freezing
To make it a reality, start planning.
As we said above, a skate trip takes time and money. Set a budget for your trip and plan a time that will work for you.
Taking a weekend trip is cool, but wouldn’t it be more fun to stay a little longer and get to know the skate scene where you visit?! If you’re buying a flight, it’s not going to make a difference in price if you stay a weekend or a week. You might as well get your money’s worth!
For accommodation, consider staying somewhere that you can cook your own food. Then, you won’t have to eat every meal at restaurants, saving you a ton a cash.
You might be surprised how affordable it can be to take an awesome skate trip. For maximum fun, get as many of your homies to join as you can!
Indoor Skateparks (Duh!)
The obvious choice for skateboarding in the winter – indoor skateparks.
Because this is pretty self-explanatory, we won’t go into too much detail about indoor skateparks.
Instead, we challenge you to find and skate some indoor skateparks you (probably) haven’t skated before!
To find skateparks in the United States, check out Skatepark.com
To find skateparks in Europe, check out Skatemap.de
To find skateparks in the UK, North Europe, and Russia, check out Extreme Sports Map
Skatehalle Berlin – Photo by Skatehalle-Berlin.de
Some indoor skateparks have an entry fee. Remember, many indoor skateparks survive only by business they get during the winter months!
It’s up to us to keep them around by visiting them often.
Established indoor parks may even have monthly or year-long membership passes. Not only do these give you unlimited access to the park, they often greatly help the skatepark to survive financially! Indoor parks must be cleaned and maintained regularly to stay in operation.
Support your local park!
If you’re not afraid of bundling up in some warm clothes and possibly getting your board a little wet from puddles, bridges often provide a haven for skaters during the winter.
However, prepare for the worst, it’s probably not going to be so pretty!
Bridge designs can vary a bit by country and region. In some places of Europe, you may find pretty big areas of reasonably nice concrete to skate under bridges. In the US, it can depend on whether you’re in a city or rural area if there’s even concrete at all under a bridge.
Therefore, it may take some exploration to find a bridge/overpass that’s good to skate under.
Stay safe! Watch for cars. We’re not advising that you skate in the street where cars drive under a bridge. Ideally, you want to find an area that’s a sidewalk or open space of concrete that cars don’t use. Even then, you may need to be extra careful that your board doesn’t shoot out into any streets nearby.
Bring a broom. We’re not going to lie, it’s probably not going to be that nice or clean under a bridge. The ground may have a layer of dust or dirt and there may be rocks or rough ground. In this case, it’s extremely helpful to bring a broom and clean it up before skating. If the ground is rough, it can be a lot more enjoyable to skate with a set of cruiser wheels with a soft wheel durometer.
Burnside Skatepark in Portland, Oregon – One of the best under-bridge DIY parks ever!
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Bonus: Build something or bring something to skate! Many times, the flatground or simple banks found under bridges can be made a whole lot better by building or bringing a skate obstacle. A simple curb, ledge, or rail can really amp up the session. Just keep in mind that these spaces are usually owned by the city, meaning they have a right to remove anything you may build or bring there to skate.
This one is especially fitting for the cruiser lovers out there!
Parking garages can be a super awesome winter skate spot, but there are some challenges.
Usually, car parks and parking garages are under surveillance, either by a guard at the entrance or cameras. But not always.
Additionally, parking garages are usually in cities and used by office workers during the day. Therefore, there are definitely good and bad times to skate them.
The key with parking garages is to either find one that’s not under surveillance or go to a part of the garage that’s not being watched.
Also, it’s strongly encouraged that you go outside of business hours. So, weekends and nights are your best bet.
When these things come together, parking garages are often like urban hill bombs! Not only are they usually quite dry, there’s usually sick banks between each level of the garage that you can cruise down between the levels.
Just be careful of cars that may be entering or exiting the garage.
You might also find some curbs, ledges, or bumps to skate in parking garages as well! Things like this make parking garages some of the best places to skate in the winter, you just have to be cautious of cars and security.
When all else fails: Turn your house into a skatepark!
Bam Margera shredding over the fireplace – photo from Fearless
Desperate times call for desperate measures – turn your house into a skatepark!
Yes, your neighbors probably won’t be too happy about it.
Yes, you might break your mom’s favorite vase.
Yes, you will probably have fun, so does anything else really matter?!
We’re going to say it now – Cruisin City is not liable for damage done to your house! But, please do send us any clips of you doing a nosegrind on your coffee table…
Even if you don’t build a skatepark in your house, maybe you can appreciate these guys who have filled their houses with skateboards!
If you need some inspiration, check out the PAS Skate House in the video below!
Text by Skatetexter