Skateboarding Winter Survival Guide


Skateboarding in bad weather is usually a bad idea. Where I live it sometimes rains or snows for days, so skateboarding outside is out of the question. It’s time to get creative and think of alternatives to keep in shape and still improve your skateboard skills. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t live close to an indoor skatepark. Abandoned buildings, basements, your garage or even your living room can be used to keep skateboarding during bad weather.

So let’s see what options there are to keep skateboarding offseason and maintain your dopamine levels. Here are a couple of ideas to keep skateboarding in the winter, fall and rainy days. Make sure to grab an old skateboard with old trucks and bearings.

Where to Skateboard When it’s Cold or Rains

You can skate in indoor skateparks obviously but you also have a few less obvious options to pick from. You could also focus on core strength and your balance to keep yourself in shape until the weather improves, the gym isn’t for everyone though. If you skateboard during bad weather (especially when it’s cold), layer up to keep yourself warm and grab an old skateboard.

Make sure to use a board that’s waterlogged or one that lost its pop. Snow, rain, and ice can be devastating to your board and can dissolve the glue that holds the wooden ply’s together.

skateboarding in the winter snow
Redditor Rullbradepojk skating in a snowy park in Sweden. Photo taken by Jesper Kjellsson. Thanks guys!

Skate in Your Garage or Basement

Many skateboarders start out in their garage to learn the basics because they are a bit embarrassed to go out there (seriously, don’t be). It’s time to clear out your garage and maybe even build a smart quarter pipe. Practice those axle stalls, rock to fakies, blunts, or anything you’re comfortable with. Even if space is tight, you can get creative and create a couple of obstacles. Make sure not to damage your (moms) car.

Practice on a Carpet

Carpets are great to practice your technique at least I see many videos of skateboarders using a piece of carpet to get some ollies down. Might not be a good idea if you live in an apartment, your neighbors probably won’t appreciate it. I personally never tried this, but hey, it’s better than doing nothing. To reduce the noise consider placing a large piece of wood under the carpet, it will become a bit bouncy though.

Too snowy to skate today but at least I learned how to Switch Flip on a carpetboard from r/NewSkaters

Indoor Skateparks

Well, I should mention indoor skateparks but not everyone leaves near an indoor park. Take some of your friends and split the gas, usually, you have to pay entree fees. If you’re new to indoor parks, don’t hesitate to go. Make sure you don’t get in anybody’s way and ask about skatepark etiquette. If you act nice, people will be friendly and gladly help you out.

If you don’t have a local skatepark try to have one build, in order to do so you can contact the Tony Hawk Foundation and they’ll tell you exactly what you need to do. From what I understand it will cost you about 2 hours a week.

Abandoned Buildings

This may not always be legal, depending on where you live but abandoned buildings are a good place to practice skateboarding. Explore abandoned urban landscapes and bring your camera to get some great shots. Make sure to check for broken glass or debris that might cause you to fall or injure yourself. If you spot needles, get the hell out.

Parking Garages

If you have one around, go for it. Parking garages are perfect! Sometimes they might be a bit slippery and keep an eye out for oil stains. You might have this happen to when playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater, but it actually can happen. Not everyone appreciates the presence of skateboarders. You probably get kicked out by security eventually. Careful when you make a turn, hitting a car can be painful.

Clear Ramps Using a Floor Squeegee

skateboard deck on a wet miniramp

If you want to skate your local mini ramp and it’s still wet, bring a floor squeegee. Depending on the temperature, the surface dries up quickly. Bring some friends and carefully go back an forth in the mini ramp, quarter pipe or funbox. This usually speeds things up and after 15-30 minutes your good to go. If you’re out of luck it starts raining again (I hate it when that happens). Use your rain deck and also bring an old towel to get rid of wet spots the squeegee can’t reach.

Last Option, Your Living Room

I wouldn’t advise this but if you have no other option consider your living room. You’ll require skate trainers to prevent a board from moving and destroying everything in its path. I never tried it myself and I don’t think I can convince my wife this is a good idea. If you decide to use your living room, make sure to get a piece of carpet or a Yoga mat if your floor is made of wood. You don’t want to mess up the floor.

Other Stuff to do When the Weather is Bad

If you don’t have skateparks, parking garages or any options to skate inside there’s still some skateboard related stuff to do. Get creative using a balance board, grab a bag of popcorn and watch some video’s or play some games. As a last resort, try your living room. If you’re lucky enough to live near mountains, snowskating and snowboarding are a great way to keep yourself in shape.

Snowskating

Snowskates come in a couple of variants but you could go for a single board. I wouldn’t try to use a regular skateboard deck because it doesn’t have any grip and you’ll be all over the place. Snow skates have special plastic with grooves at the bottom and rubber patches on top to keep you from slipping. I’ve never done this myself but it looks like a ton of fun.

Watch Skateboard Videos

This might get you more frustrated because skateboard videos just make you want to go out there and shred. I recently gathered a list of 40 skateboard videos in chronological order. There’s something for everyone, old school skateboarding by the Bones Brigade in the ’70s and gnarly hardcode street skating in Mouse, mini ramp fun time in Cheese & Crackers and make sure not to miss Rodney Mullen’s Round 3.  You can check out the list here, scroll down if you want to watch something more recent.

Practice on a Balance Board

Practice your skills using a custom-made balance board, it takes a few minutes and a large bottle of water.  Consider wrapping it in duct tape to make it a bit stronger, you don’t want the cap to come off. This also requires you to remove your trucks or use an old deck. You can buy balance boards designed for skateboarding but it’s not really necessary.

Here’s a video of a guy balancing on a bottle, quite amazing actually. It’s probably safer to use a baseball bat instead of a bottle. I’d say this is only useful for practicing manuals.

Tony Hawk Pro Skater Video Games

So here I am, doing everything I can… I played this game so much back in the day that my friends decided to kidnap the game, they even left a ransom note, good times! Unfortunately, the latest Tony Hawk Pro Skater is a bit of an abomination but if you can find older copies, go for it. S.K.A.T.E is still my favorite game mode, I wish I still had my Playstation. Such a shame the recently released Playstation Mini doesn’t have the game (what were they thinking!).

Consider Snowboarding

While snowboarding is quite different from skateboarding (and a lot more expensive) it really is a great sport. If you’re decent on a skateboard you’ll learn snowboarding much faster. Maybe balancing and riding will take some time as they are different, but as soon as it clicks you’ll learn tricks much faster. Slide some rails and jump some gaps, it will make you more confident the next time you step on your board.

Is Rain, Heat or Cold bad for Your Skateboard?

Wood is an organic material, so extreme heat or cold can damage the board. Moisture is the worst as it dissolves the glue and your grip tape will come off. A waterlogged board loses its pop and delaminates. It’s not just your board, your trucks can take a lot but your bearings should never get wet. If they do, take them apart, clean them and lube the bearings with Bones Speed Cream. Salted roads also are really bad for your bearings and really hard to clean.

Ruben Vee

I 'm an aged skateboarder, but I still shred responsibly. I started skateboarding 25 years ago and I'm out there whenever I can.

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