Skateboarding North Tahoe
Legendary for crystal-clear water, billowing snow and lush, forested greenspace, North Lake Tahoe is not known for its sweet concrete. Sure, we have a few sandy roads and maybe a smooth sidewalk or two, but to the dismay of the legions of local year-round board riders, concrete worthy of busting out a skateboard is few and far between.Despite the fact that regional skateboarding opportunities pale in comparison to the lifetime worth of places one could snowboard, the local skateboarding scene is far from dead. Ride or Die is a four-season lifestyle that moves seamlessly from two edges to four wheels for countless local shredders. In the dog days of summer, it doesnt matter to these boarders that there arent that many places to skate. They just find the places they can.With just about every local street skating spot a bust or mediocre at best, finding a place to skateboard in Truckee and North Tahoe means finding the skate parks. To get you on board with the best of local, regional and even future skate parks, heres a quick rundown of all thats good to grind in the area.
Now 10 summers old, the skate park at the Truckee River Regional Park is undoubtedly the premier place to skateboard in North Lake Tahoe. From the second the snow melts until the night the snow dumps, the Truckee park gets ripped day in day out by both concrete destroyers and aspiring groms.Though its not a huge park, thankfully its a darn good one. The layout maximizes potential with a majority of the surface area taken up by interconnecting five-foot-deep bowls and smooth transitions. Accomplished park skaters will find endless fast, flowy lines that set you up perfectly for boosting hips and slashing corners. Novice and beginner skaters might find the bowl scene a bit heavy at peak hours, but there are several small street features ringing the main bowl that are good to practice on. Early mornings youll typically have the park to yourself.Maintained by the Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District, the Truckee Skate Park is located at the corner of Estates Drive and Brockaway Road, a half-mile outside downtown Truckee, and just adjacent to the Rodeo grounds. According to TDRPD policy, all skaters must wear a helmet when riding the park.Truckee ripper and skateboarding coach Dane Leonard summed up the feelings of more than a few local skaters with his thoughts on the Truckee park.The Truckee Skate Park IS North Tahoe skateboarding, said Leonard. Without that there wouldnt be a scene.
The Incline Village Skate Park is also popular, frequented primarily by packs of neighborhood youth and families. Even smaller than the Truckee park, the layout at Incline features two side-by-side five-foot-deep bowls connected with a spine, a three-foot fun box mid-park, small transition walls at the park entrance, and several street features, including a four stair and a rail on the parks upper deck.A convienent stop on your way to east shore beaches, the Incline park is located on the corner of Highway 28 and Southwood Drive. The park is maintained by the Incline Village Parks and Recreation department, which advises that all skaters wear a helmet and protective equipment when riding the park.
Although Truckee and Incline Village host the only truly local skate parks, several communities in the surrounding region offer killer skating opportunities for those who are ready to hit the road and handle the summer heat.The Reno-Carson area has parks in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Lemon Valley, Panther Valley and Gardnerville. The best of the bunch are the Burgess Skate Park in Sparks, which has manly eight-foot-plus walls, the old-school but classic Idelwild Park in downtown Reno, Open Ground skate park, which is a commercial indoor wooden park in Reno, and a spacious and diverse new public park in Gardnerville. If youre heading down to Nevada from breezy Tahoe, just remember that the heat of the day in the valley can be a real buzz kill. Morning and twilight sessions are the way to go.Other nearby California skate parks include a wicked-fun park in Grass Valley next to the disc golf course at Condon Park, a decent park in Auburn and a rather old park in South Lake Tahoe.
For the past two years, non-profit group League To Skate Lake Tahoe and the North Tahoe Public Utility District have been in the planning stages of constructing a world-class, 40,000-square-foot skate park in the North Tahoe Regional Park. Located adjacent to the ball fields, the proposed park would dwarf any existing park in the region. The North Tahoe PUD board of directors recently approved the park site, but work will not begin until the estimated $1.6 million needed for construction is secured. League to Skate Lake Tahoe President Andrew Eisenmann is confident the money will be found, as he has seen avid community interest in the project. Local enthusiasm for skateboarding has been tremendous. Skateboarding is here to stay in Tahoe, said Eisenmann. Providing a new facility where there is room for everyone to come skate will be a great addition to the North Tahoe Regional Park and the whole community.For more information about the Tahoe Vista project or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit the League To Skate Lake Tahoe on myspace.com.
Shredding a concrete skate park is not as easy as cruising your longboard to the 7-Eleven. Before attacking any of the above-mentioned parks youll need the skills to safely negotiate your way amongst the varied terrain features and other skaters. Learning to skate parks takes dedication and careful practice. Falling is a reality and the concrete never feels soft. Dont dismiss pads for the dorky, either. Wearing protective gear such as a helmet, knee pads and wrist guards just might save your healthy summer.If you’re looking for skateboarding instruction, look no further than two of Truckees best skaters – Dane Leonard and Trevor Kekke. Together they operate the Tahoe Boarding School, a skateboarding lesson service that offers group and private lessons to skaters of all ages and abilities.We create a comfortable setting for riders to improve their skills, said Leonard. Ollieing and dropping in are the first two tricks most people want to learn, but well teach them any trick they want to try.Lessons are taught at both skate parks and other good beginner practice arenas and are available by appointment. Classes cost $30 per hour for a private lesson or $15 per person for groups three or more. For further information check out Tahoe Boarding School online at tahoeboardingschool.com.
Got helmet? Got stunt wood? Go skate!Despite its difficult and dangerous reputation, skateboarding is an amazing technical recreational activity that brings out the best of your mind and body. Learning to trust your balance and committing to the concentration that it takes to land a trick or even a turn will improve your abilities in everything you do. So go ahead, grab your board, grab your friends, and get out to a skate park near you. With a little practice youll be ripping new lines in no time, and itll make the snow seem that much softer when youre ready to step it up next winter.