The arrival of winter is the most depressing time of year for many skaters. After the chilly fall air gives way to the brisk, freezing winds of winter, many areas prepare for snow to arrive.
When the snowfall hits, this is a signal for most skateboarders to put down their skateboard deck and either pull out the snowboard or pass the time some other way. Sadly, not every area is lucky enough to have an indoor park to salvage the winter season. Indoor skateparks are few and far between, so you probably need a backup plan.
The only type of skateboarding you can think about doing in snowy conditions is longboarding. Longboards are made for rougher terrain and could be efficient enough to brave the slippery hazards on skating surfaces. Don’t expect to be in the snow doing technical tricks.
How efficient are these boards in the snow, though? Is it even worth the risk to get a few hours of skating in during the winter season?
It depends on how diehard of a skater you are. For many, life is about skating by any means necessary. Let’s examine the possibility of skateboarding in the snow.
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Can Your Skateboard Deck Handle the Snow?
If ice begins to accumulate on surfaces, you can forget the whole idea of street skating in the winter. However, even when snowflakes fall, temperatures don’t always get cold enough for roads to freeze.
If you break out the longboard, if your wheels are grippy enough, you can still ride wet pavement. However, if you’re not careful, you can damage your skateboard deck.
Use a Longboard
The best idea would be to use an old skateboard deck. An old skateboard deck isn’t as valuable, so damaging it wouldn’t be as big of a loss. However, this always means you may not get the efficient ride and full-scale experience you’re looking for. You need to balance boards and use both equally.
If you’re going to longboard in the winter, make sure your board has plenty of paint or clear coating. When the water hits a board without adequate coating, it will become waterlogged, and the board will be useless.
It could be risky, but skating in the snow can be super fun, and can lead to some good skateboard videos.
Use Your Own Coating for the Snow
Regardless of whether you add the urethane coating, you should always keep something with you to wipe the board off every so often. Try not to let any substantial amount of water collect or pool on the surface of the deck.
Protect Your Bearings In the Wet Snow
Bearings are especially susceptible to water. It’s easy for these components to rust and become damaged. Make sure you lube your bearings up adequately before heading out onto the wet pavement.
You can also use a trick to avoid getting extra water in the bearings. Cover the outside of your wheels with duct tape to protect the bearings from getting wet.
Whenever you’re done with each session, remove the bearings and wipe them down. Make sure they are completely dry before replacing them.
Avoiding the Damage from Salt
Salt is usually on the roadways after fresh snow hits an area. You need to be mindful of this for two reasons.
First, this salt can be a potential hazard when you’re skating downhill. If the debris pieces are too big, it could cause you to flip your board and injure yourself.
Use a push broom or squeegee to clear the portion of the road you plan to skate. This will eliminate the risk of being thrown off the road.
Second, salt is very damaging to metal components. Look at the bottom of a car that’s spent a long time in a state like Michigan or Minnesota. Rust eats these cars alive, and a lot of it is from the salt.
Keep all metal pieces wiped clean, and make sure no salt gets lodged into the crevices of your board. Watch the nuts and bolts and areas between the bushings.
Alternative Snow Tips and Ideas
Travel If You Must
1. If you can manage, travel to an indoor skatepark. An indoor skatepark during the wintertime might be crowded, but it’s worth it. Even driving two or three hours away will be reasonable during this time of year to avoid injury or damaging your board. It’s a small price to pay to skate comfortably and have fun.
Even if the indoor skatepark is three hours away, you can easily make the trip once or twice a month. Just remember, indoor parks can be busy, so you might want to arrive ahead of time and give yourself more time.
2. If you have a large basement or garage, take advantage of these areas. Alternatively, ask friends if you can use their space to skate for a while. Most likely, they’ll be cool with it. It’s better than nothing and it won’t be cold. You can’t skate very far, but you can probably manage to practice some tricks.
3. Find a covered area that’s safer from the precipitation. Even if it’s not completely covered, it will still be better shielded from accumulating snow, and it could be easier to skate. Be mindful of the wet conditions, you need to balance boards and make sure you don’t fall off.
Skateboarding might be harder in the winter, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Be resourceful and exercise all your options. You might find a new fun winter hobby that doesn’t include a snowboard if you can brave the cold and still skate.
Remember, if you do decide to skate in the snow, it has to be on a longboard. If you decide to take the risk, make sure you use safety equipment to avoid injury! Use your head, and you can still enjoy the fun of a board this winter!