While the weather is looking surprisingly pleasant out of the window right now, winter is undoubtedly gearing up to stick its soggy hobnail boot into our collective faces; with more and more of my time seemingly spent in the pub, at House of Vans or down Southbank coming to terms with my own personal ledge skating deficiencies. I don’t really want to descend into skateboard writing cliché, but our frankly fucking mental weather patterns are integral enough to how a day’s skating is spent that an article of this kind at some point was pretty much unavoidable. Bollocks to complete negativity though, alongside five winter scenarios to get you running for hibernation here are five reasons to welcome the grim.
Snowver It: Slug Trails
There’s nothing quite like picking up your board after rolling happily down some vaguely damp street and feeling the remains of mutilated molluscs oozing across your cold, chapped hands. This is even more of a treat if the underside of your board brushes against your side, leaving a trail of slug debris splattered across clothing.
Snowver It: Palm Slaps
The feeling of a good palm slap is something every skateboarder knows all too well; the sting of blood returning into freshly bruised hands creating a uniquely irritating and frustrating sensation. The winter also seems to speed up the onset of the malformed child of the palm slap, the palm bruise; which as the current owner of a strange miniature egg just above my wrist I can testify to being shite.
Snowver It: Black Ice
Most people would agree, there aren’t many better feelings in skateboarding than a good long powerslide. The exception to this, of course, is when those powerslides are unexpectedly thrust upon you by a sheet of black ice as you bomb down a hill and you end up going head first into the tire of a parked car. In front of a large group of people. Slapping your palms on the way down. STOKED.
Snowver It: Dog shit in leaf camouflage
This is basically the beefed version of finding bits of slug on your board. Skating through a pile of leaves might feel artier than doing a kickflip outside a Wes Anderson premiere wearing a beret, but those mounds of leaves often come fully furbished with dog egg landmines. Maybe its worse for me due to a phobia - I once threw away a shoe after stepping in a massive turd then throwing up from the smell - but there's still nothing pleasant about a scatalogical Pollock across your trucks and board.
Snowver it: Excess
As the nights draw in and the weather has you ever more holed up indoors between work, the temptation is always there to get fucking on it. There aren't many ways to negate alternate beers and whiskeys other than with excessively sugary tea and custard creams, or more booze. Then all of a sudden your getting puffed out after hitting two walls on the local miniramp - and that's if you can keep your shaky, hungover legs on a board for long enough to make those two tricks.
Warm Glow: hip flasks
Now that you've been utterly depressed at the thought of the next few months stretching endlessly ahead, these next few pages will hopefully restore some equilibrium. This first point might seem like a complete contradiction of the previous page - and, to be honest, I can't really think of a reason to help argue to the contrary. On the other hand, there's nothing better than filling up a hip flask with your spirit of choice (Irish Whiskey for me ta) as you head out the door to face the elements with nothing but your board, the clothes on your back and a warm whiskey glow in your belly. Here's the fine folks at Boggin' Zine showing you how it's done!
Warm Glow: Rip clothing, not skin
Apart from the aforementioned palm slaps, slamming in winter can be a lot more forgiving in some ways - those extra layers mean that when you hit the cold hard ground then clothes are getting torn to pieces before you are! Dressing up like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man might have you struggling to maintain the same agility as when you were skating in shorts and t-shirt, but on the upside you won't wake up with your own blood sticking you to the bedsheets.
Warm Glow: Underground car parks
Underground car parks are the eternal staple of the skate scene in any part of the world with long winters. The combination of flickering yellow lighting, smooth ground and painted curbs is all the hype a winter session needs if you can't make your local indoor park or need a street fix. Getting chased by security is a good way to keep warm as well.
Warm Glow: Creative possibilities
Edits like the above Street Feet Equinox video and photo's like the Paul Shier Sidewalk cover below ably demonstrate how adversity can drive innovation. Knowing the tribulations a skater has been through to get a trick always adds an extra element to your own appreciation of the footage, so seeing a full edit of these guys skating in rain, sleet and snow is bound to inspire your winter sessions. Along with the Shier Sidewalk cover, it will make you want to snatch opportunity from the jaws of sub-zero despair!
Warm Glow: Ghost town
Hopefully the above four pages will have you hyped to head out in the next couple of months and take on the first five. If by some chance they haven't, remember this; almost no-one else will be outside either. That means less pedestrians, less cars, even less security guards willing to leave the comfort of their huts if your lucky. We are one of society's few groups who gain an active enjoyment from rolling around in the dirt in some rancid alleyway, and there is no doubt that you can explore this to its full potential on dark winter evenings. The majority's loss is our gain, so get out and get some before the sun returns and brings every other bastard back out onto the streets!