WORDS Pete Eubank ART Kris Haro
Often times when I hit a roadblock in day-to-day life I find myself daydreaming of swooping-sweepers and dropping-hairpins. I catch the thought and fixate on an area of my local skate territory and dream up the roads that must lie deep in the mountains. Therein sits an innate sense of adventure that keeps me out on the hunt, week after week, looking for incredible runs.
One thing is guaranteed in exploring a new “skaterritory” and that is that there are always risks involved. Your first risk to consider is that you will not find anything at all. You may find yourself spending much of your time driving around in a fruitless expedition. If you are like me though, after finding your first great run during a mission, you will be enslaved by the thought that there has to be more out there. This will eventually cause you to explore more often and most always results in an expansion of your local skaterritory. The second big risk to consider is that many roads that appear to be awesome on a map are commonly considered private. These roadways are sanctioned and maintained, not by the local or county government, but by the residents who live in that area.
When dealing with a private road, first find out if it is actually private. Many times, signs are posted for “No Trespassing” on roads that are perfectly public, by grouchy anti-social neighbors. That said, two dead-giveaways of a private road are the mailboxes and the presence of a gate. If you see all the mailboxes at the entrance to the road you can bet that the road is not open to all. If you choose to enter a private road, know that it is at your own risk. Remember to be respectful as you are an unexpected and often uninvited guest. I have dealt with unfriendly neighbors, trespassing tickets, andI have friends who have been chased off of someone’s road with firearms—the list goes on, so be careful.
The way I usually go about looking for new skate-able hills is to routinely check Google Maps. I find a specific area to focus on and then scour the roads with a litany of measures. For me to justify a mission out to explore a new road I look for geographic landscapes that foster a roadway with quality elevation changes. Then I look next for the shape of a road. For me, I try and look for hairpins, sweepers, and a length of continuous downhill of a half-mile or more. Once I have selected all the different candidates in the region-of-focus, I go through and exclude any that look to be dirt roads or ones that have considerably bad pavement. Keep in mind, this is what I look for, you may look for something vastly different. Whatever your taste of road may be you can always create a workflow to suit your exploroskate needs.
Keep your daydreams alive with some exploration on your next session in the hills. Remember to always be respectful of private roads and to be clear about what you are doing and why. Use the tools that technology gave you to make it easier, and spend less time consuming. Stay true to your exploratory self and get out there—you may be surprised with what you’ll find in your own local region.