• GreySwan

The Best Hill I've Ever Skated*

*Disclaimer: it was a closed road, and I have yet to skate a lot of roads.

We managed to get a 360° video of Rachel and I skating down one of the best roads ever. Click the screen to change the viewpoint. Tip: you'll have to click around to face the camera forward ;).

Can you guess who's who? Thank you to Gabriel Shin of Polyboards Boardshop for following and filming us down the run!

This was one of the best events I've had the privilege to attend and I wholly recommend it, because it will be held again next year! It ran very smoothly, apart from some early rain on the first day. There was a taco truck for lunch, a coffee sponsor (I know right???), and the campsite was at the bottom of the hill, courtesy of the kind landowners who had allowed skaters to camp on it.

We arrived late at night and managed to set up our tent before it rained! Due to the earlier rains and the little stream running through the property, non-4wd vehicles were prevented from accessing the rest of the campsite. It was a little cramped around the entrance, but that was fine. So much easier to find people to socialise, and socialise we did.

Slight panorama fail, capturing two Rachels and two doggos!

We woke the next morning to rain. Boo, hiss. But we were lucky because the road dried pretty quickly, and then skating began.

The event organiser (Kevin Reimer) asked the riders to sort out themselves into groups A, B and C. A if you were wearing leathers and totally hucking it, etc etc. We began by dropping in at the tail end of B.

Pack runs all day, everyday! Photo by Mason Shin.

The road itself was a rollercoaster of banked deliciousness. Every corner was so, so banked - if you had a better line/drift than the person in front, be prepared to overtake quickly. So rewarding! The track was so engaging that the 5-7 minutes it took to descend felt like 1. My legs were so tired after the first day.

Such an awesome photo by Ken Napp! I may have been drifting, or not...

"You can't skate with us if you're not wearing maroon and black." Photo by Joe Gutkowski.

On day two we got to the hill and realised that there were at least 3 other girls wearing a maroon and black outfit. No planning beforehand required, which made for identification problems.

The pros were out in force! Given that I'm from New Zealand, it's a weird concept to rub shoulders with so many pros I had seen in pictures and media, and to see what they're actually like in person. Even Cliff Coleman himself was there. Everyone was so lovely.

Pros, pros everywhere.

We ended the day full of smiles. Most people packed up and left quickly, leaving just 3 carloads of people. We spent the night around a roaring campfire, sipping on the keg of beer that hadn't been touched by skaters in their rush to leave.

You'd think think this was the end of it, but it wasn't. We were invited to view the landowner's awesome antique collection, with a private tour of his property!

Yes, that is a bomb in his attic...a flyer bomb (i.e. harmless). Rachel for scale.

I also got to view Aaron Breetwor's (author DGM) project called 'What Makes A Man' (and an instagram handle by the same website name). So what it is - "a publishing project exploring women's expectations of and experiences with men—their fathers, brothers, friends, coworkers, partners, and sons." Beautifully composed, with stories from women from different walks of life. Insightful and reflective, and despite my very different background, still incredibly relatable.

After our goodbyes, we set out for Santa Cruz, postponing our plans to travel to Yosemite. It was snowing and my gear wasn't terribly suited for snow, which was forecasted for Thursday.

See you soon, San Francisco/Oakland!

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