I spent 2 months in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2013. Not finding a job allowed us to skate almost every park in the area. The really nice thing about being there when we were, was that it never got so hot you wanted to die, but for when it does, the vast majority of the parks are lit at night.
Unlike Denver, the parks here seemed harder to find on the internet, and so for the first few weeks, it was discouraging because the only ones that we did find were… shitty. However, by the time we left, I was pretty siked on what we’d found.
The first park we found, and one of the closest to the strip.. how do I say this nicely.. I wouldnt recommend it to a friend, unless you really dig weird transition and bowls with potholes. Theres a little street section with manual pads, small banks, and a couple rails. The big “meh” aspects of this park is the flow bowl: it goes from roughly 3 feet to 6, some of the coping is below the concrete, its got some rough concrete, 3-ft spine, and some banks/extensions. There’s a larger 6-ft circle bowl, with the tallest nipple I’ve ever seen and another 5 to 7-ft bowl with lots of weird pockets and again, weird transition. Overall I think its fun to skate something that isn’t perfect, something “with character,” but expect to leave and be over it.
If you can only go to one park, make this it. i think it was $3.00, you had to fill out a registration form, and wear a helmet, but the park is so worth it. A couple of the biggest bowls I’ve ever skated, perfect transition, no rough spots anywhere (this place is nice), a massive full pipe, that you can haul absolute ass through, sweet kidney bowl. Its got a pretty sweet street section too, with banks and euro-gaps, a couple 4ish stair sets, hubbas, a block 3(?), and a real long, 2 or 3-ft china bank. Thinking back to it, this park was pretty much the best of every other park I’ve ever skated. It was lit at night (til 10 i think), and the view of the valley below was to die for.
OK so it’s pronounced roe-may-oh, and everyone calls it “pro park” so don’t worry about that. The top of the park is a massive bowl that probably gets as tall as 15 ft. Some of the transition is kinda weird, and some of the ground was kind of rough, but get the fuck over it. There’s a reason they call it pro park, and I would give anything to watch a real good bowl/ramp/vert skater shred this. Some of the features (for lack of a better word) were on such a gnarly scale that it felt like the only way they would ever get properly utilized is in a videogame…
Below the huge bowl is a little tranny/street park- between extensions, quarter pipes, launch ramps, rails, and banks this has everything you could ever want.. but beware, its where the hundreds of scooter kids stay.
The neatest thing about this park, is the old-style bowl- I’d heard that originally, it was the only thing to skate in the complex. Theres a snake run-esque sidewalk that leads to it from the main park. The sidewalk has rainbow rails and pole jams, and is very fun in itself. The bowl is essentially just a drainage ditch you won’t get kicked out of, so unless you dig ditches (ha!) you probably won’t enjoy it. Old School skaters enjoy!
A nice neighborhood demands a nice park..
This was the most consistently crowded park we frequented, and there were always tons and tons of little scooter kids. This park has anything a tranny/bowl skater could ever want, and you could probably flow around the entire park without pushing, if you didnt have to worry about all the other people. I think the pool-style bowl was pretty sweet, and obviously very tight. The view of the valley/Henderson is also really really good too.
Prepare yourselves for a name-drop. OK ready?
So back when i was a senior in high school, I flew out to Vegas for a weekend. While driving down towards Lake Mead, I was enamored by the drainage ditch/running trail(?) that ran parallel to the road for what seemed like miles, downward. I didn’t get to skate it, but it really stuck in my mind. On the plane ride home I sat next to.. wait for it.. Fred Gall, who slept for most of the flight, but we did end up talking about ditches, and that one came up in conversation.
Fast forward almost exactly 3 years, and there we were, drinking PBR with a bunch of gnarly punk skater people, skating a good section of this sweet ditch…
I forget the name of the shop, but they were having their first annual ditch jam, and it was fucking cool. The parking lot was literally right off the major road, and there were neighborhoods right on the other side of the walls, but nobody seemed to care about the extensive public alcohol consumption, or loud punk rock. There were alot of really good skaters, interesting people, and I would definitely love to skate that ditch again.
So this post is two things; 1- something I put off doing for over a month, and 2- the prequel to the next post, which is also about Charlotte…
It was a really interesting experience, everyone was really chill, there was a cool, Local H meets Steal the Prize, band that played the first night. I drank alot, met alot of sick East Coast Skaters, and talked to their moms on the side of a giant miniramp… Also there were min horses.
At the end of the second day, after the awards, the majority of people had left, or were packing up. We had no plans, and nowhere to stay the night.. At one point i walked back to our campsite to find Josh conversing with some girl.. who told us her friend was having a party near Charlotte, which was directly on our way back, and that it would be cool for us to sleep there. We were siked, but 3 hours later, discussing it over Moe’s, we decided there way, or reason, she would actually hit us back up and text us the address.
She did, we found the place way out in the middle of nowhere, entered a party that we didnt actually no anyone in, and proceeded to have one of the greatest nights ever.
After playing the awkward kids that just stand around the beer pong table for a while, we kinda split up. Walking through a hallway, i could faintly hear a guitar, which got me- especially drunk me- very excited. for the second time in my life, i walked into a room full of kids I didn’t know, who were all loudly singing “Wonderwall,” and met some of the coolest people ever. If you’re ever around Charlotte and you have a chance to see the Carolina Runaways, totally do it. Even just in some guys bedroom at a party, these guys owned everyone in the room. They did a couple of originals, which were good, but most notably an acapella version of “Wagon Wheel” (at that point i hadn’t heard the Darius Rucker version a million times) in which EVERYONE participated and a slightly redone “Sweet Home Carolina.”
Late in the night We somehow found ourselves in a circle with a bunch of drunk black guys jamming to rap music.. I started a “skate Charlotte” chant that went on for probably 10 drunk minutes.
I ended up sleeping in the back of Jake’s jeep just because there wasn’t anywhere in the house left to pass out, which meant i woke up, in the back of a car. with a terrible hangover. near some guys house, in the absolute middle of nowhere, in North Carolina.
I was 17 years old, probably listening to the “Seether Itunes Sessions,” on an airplane with my dad flying back to Charlotte to catch a connection into Lynchburg, after spending a few days in Las Vegas. I didn’t know who Fred Gall, the gnarly looking, long-haired 40-something sitting in the aisle seat, was, and I must’ve really disappointed him when I didn’t recognize the name, but I remember we did have good conversation. He talked about how the Alien Workshop team had just gotten back from some demos in Cuba, and how hard it was just to get there, as well as other tours and pro skaters and boards. We also got on the subject of ditches, and he talked about shredding crazy ones in New Mexico and California. I told him about how there was a ditch that paralleled the road down to Lake Mead for like 3 miles and how awesome it looked. He gave me some stickers (some of which, when removed, will peel off most of the paint on my old bedroom door at Clay St.), and a video of Orchard Skateshop in Boston (some of who’s skaters we likely skated with when we were up there).
Now the reason I started this post with bragging about meeting Fred Gall has nothing to do with him. The ditch I told him about in Boulder City- while we were 30,000 in the air- we skated it today. And oh yes, it was fucking awesome.
Nate found the first annual something ditch Jam event page on facebook, and at first I was kind of surprised it wasn’t huge (300 people had “RSVPed” and members of a famous punk band were hosting), but the people that were there were fucking great. It was a lot like skatopia- gnarly punk dudes, tons of pit bulls, no water but hundreds of PBR cans- except much less scary, and the people were all super stoked and supportive. They played good punk songs the whole time, didn’t waste time with too much contest stuff (it was in a ditch after all), the weather was phenomenal, the views were incredible, and skating the ditch was probably the most fun I’ve had skating since Southside back around Christmas. Definitely not something you’d find in, or around Lynchburg, and solidly, another reason I’m glad I moved here.