The plan. Skate Hailey and Montana.

Saturday, July 5th 2003:

Arrived in Hailey, after nearly a 10-hour drive. It was around 11pm Hailey time (MT time). Steve with his two kids (Isaac and Jacob), and Jeremy and I were all pretty tired from the long drive. But, we made it. Getting to Hailey is no easy task. A flight in will set you back a few hundred bucks, plus. Driving is a test of ones patience and stamina. But, as always, it was worth it. Steve was overcome with joy. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Even in the dark he could see that this place was huge. Made for those who like to skate big parks. Steve said that he was a little scared (Steve scared by big vert? HUH? I didn’t think it possible). For me, this was my second trip to Hailey. I was ready, or at least I thought I was. We thought we were going to hook up with our buddy Jack at the park. But, some miscommunication and him coming down with a flu (yikes!) made that a not a go. The weather was so good, and the park was empty, so we decided to just sleep in the deep end of the park. But, don’t tell anyone, because the park closes at dusk. The concrete was warm, but still I think I prefer a hotel bed to concrete!

Sunday, July 6th 2003:

Vooom…Voooooom was the sound I kept hearing. I peaked out of my sleeping bag (which was strategically positioned to cover my head, due to the wind and sunlight that was trying to wake me up) and I saw this bearded dude on a scooter. He was dropping in, and vooming around. He said he was from Utah, and that he used to skate, but couldn’t do it very well anymore, so he uses his modified scooter instead. He rolled around on very soft wheels (voooom). We could barely hear him. We got up and started to ride. Steve was stoked. He started to roll around and I could hear an occasional, “Yeahahh”. He was making comments like, “Red just went off with this one!” (I’m thinking he got over his fear). Steve loved the full pipe. He couldn’t stop talking about Baldy and Upland, and all the other full pipes he’s skated. We talked about various lines and how to skate pipes.

The sun was out, we skated until it got too hot, around noon. The plan, lunch at McDonalds, and rest by the river. After McDonalds we stopped in Ketchum to check out the skatepark. Jake is more of a street skater, so he enjoyed this park more than Hailey. However, he hooked up while rolling down a wooden ramp, on some plywood that was coming apart and sticking up slightly causing him to fall and slam his hand at the bottom. He was hurting; he thought he might have broken a finger. We taped it up, and he said he would be ok.

It looked like he might lose his finger nail. We stopped in to see Dave at the Board Bin. They had remolded their shop, and it was looking quite good. Of course, Isaac had to have a new deck. Dave was more than willing to sell him one and assemble it. Did I mention that they now have a big flat screen TV? The kids didn’t want to leave. They were content watching some flip trick video (now, if it was a pool skating flick, I would have been the one wanting to stay).

We left there and headed for a spot on the river to cool off.It was a hot 90 some degrees. A little too hot for us Northwestern cave dwellers. At the river, we had some fun. Well, and the river had us too. There was this log. It was sticking out of the river, and Steve thought it would be fun to jump out there on the log and ride it like a board. Well, that went ok, a little scary, but ok.

The log would bounce around as Steve jumped on or off it. Then Jacob decided to try it. It looked fun after all, eh? Well, after a few episodes of jumping on and off, Jacob fell in. Now this was some fast moving/deep water, not just a little creek where you can just stand up. It was a very strong current. Steve had advised Jake to “grab the log if you fall in.” Well, Jake did try that, and he slid right under the water (getting scratched up in the process). He bobbed a couple of times. As soon as I saw him fall, I took off down the pathway to see if I could catch him as he floated by. Steve was yelling at him to grab another log or branches. While trying to determine if he should swim after him. Jake finally grabbed onto some roots that were hanging over the river. Seconds later I got there and grabbed him. However, I couldn’t pull him up. The current was so strong it was pulling him down. Steve arrived and we both pulled him out of the water. He looked like a soaked cat. I asked him if he could have pushed anything with his legs, he said there was nothing. The water was so deep, and so fast that he couldn’t do anything. Well, so much for an uneventful/restful time by the river, eh? We were thankful that no one was badly hurt, and we went to another place by the river, more relaxing this time. I took a nap (whew!).

Around 7pm we headed back to the park, the locals start to come out as the sun starts to set. The session really heats up as the sun goes behind the mountain. Already we were a beat up bunch of skaters, already. Jeremy slammed his knee again, he was thinking he wouldn’t get to skate the rest of the trip (he was totally bummed, so while he was limited, he was still able to skate). I hit my knee pretty hard (from 14 feet up, I forgot to compress on big vert, oops). Jake hit his finger, thinking he broke it. Steve slammed his heal again. Isaac, he wasn’t hurt, he just likes to whine. But, over all, we were skating here in Hailey, and we were stoked because we were having some great weather to boot!

Monday, July 7, 2003:

“Top of the morning to ya!” I heard as someone skated past my sleeping head. Yup, slept in the belly of this monster again. The previous night was interesting. Some Mexican family decided at midnight that it was a good time to check out the park. They were sliding down the roll ins, and climbing on top of the pipe, making a bunch of noise. Then early in the morning, we were awoken by some older skaters, doing their early morning “Skate” (Normal folks go for an early morning walk, or jog. Not skaters. We go for an early morning skate). After a breakfast (at McDonalds where else?), we padded up. Not too many skaters were there, so Steve and I started seeing how high we could get in the pipe and then stick a sticker to prove we were there. Steve was saying that it’s tradition for stickers to be stuck high in a pipe. He was telling me that the Baldy Pipeline had some pretty high and old ones back when he skated that. Well, Steve pretty much had the pipe dialed, he put a couple of stickers at 11 O’clock, not kidding. Some skaters from the Portland area showed up, Steve and Randy. They got the session going, and before long it was getting hot. They said that they had just come from the Montana area, and that the Pearl Jam bowl was not a go, since no one was there to let you in. We were bummed, but we were still hopeful.

At about 1pm, it was getting too hot to skate, and we weren’t going to do anything until 7pm anyway, so we set out for Driggs, Idaho. We heard that Dreamland had just finished a bowl there, and it was only about 3 hours or so from Hailey. So we decided to check it out. Sitting by the river, or sitting in an air conditioned Caravan are similar types of
ways to kill time, aren’t they?

Well, not exactly. We arrived in Driggs, about 7pm or so, and skated the bowl. It was small, and not very deep. But, it was smooth. Steve said he that had heard “Red” (owner of Dreamland Skateparks) say something along the lines of having to make “compromises” in some situations. This was one of those. It was fun to roll around in, but nothing spectacular.

Since we were in Driggs, only minutes away from the boarder of Idaho and Wyoming, we realized that we were only about an hour from Jackson Hole Wyoming, the location of an Airspeed park (which I think was their first). Well, we were interested. We rolled out of Driggs at about sundown (that’s hick town speak for about 9:30pm). And we noticed on our way out, a real live Drive-in Movie Theater! Hmmm…we pull in, and determine that if it’s too expensive (like over 5 bucks a head), we were bolting to Jackson. The kids hadn’t ever been to a drive in, and it was a novelty for us at the very least, so we decided to check it out. Plus it was Isaac’s birthday, he was now 13 years old! The lady said, “5 bucks” as we pulled up to the window. I was scrambling to get 25 bucks out to her, and she said, “No, 5 bucks for the who car load…” I said, Oh, OK. Handed her the cash, and we were in. However, the movie was about some green dude who bashed in stuff. The Hulk, I think. I was tired, and the movie was about as bad as an old Godzilla movie. But, the drive in at Driggs was fun non-the less.

Off to Jackson, Wyoming at around midnight. I had a nap, so I was doing ok, despite the late hour. I’d never driven from Driggs to Jackson so I didn’t know what to expect, and it was dark. The map said something like “Teton Pass”. Well, I’ve driven over passes before, no big deal right? NOT! This is a pass on Steroids. I see signs that say, ”Steep grade ahead, 10 percent for the next 5 miles” (Next 5 miles, HUH?)! Hmmm… Van is getting hot. Hmm….Van is going very slow (like 15 miles per hour). Well, we made it to the top, engine is very hot. Down the other side of the Teton pass, only 8 thousand feet above the
Seattle area. Hmmm… 10 percent grade again (Stevens Pass at it’s steepest is 6 percent). Hmmm…. Brakes are getting hot. Whew! Made it.

Stop for gas at the bottom of the pass, I can smell the brakes. Yikes. I’m washing the windshield, and a little water hits the front wheel. Tssssst…as the water evaporates off the hot wheel. Whew! (Note to self; choose a different route home.) Steve asks for directions to the park. It’s late, and we’re tired. It’s difficult to find. But, we find it. And sleep in the bowl, as has become our tradition.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003:

“Click…Clack…Click…Clack” (Someone is skating…I’m not looking out, I’m
sleeping…Click…Clack. Still trying to sleep, I only got 5 hours of sleep.) Two local guys are skating before going to work. Steve got up and asked them about the water in the deep end (I was sleeping). We noticed water about 8 inches deep in there. The local skaters told him that sometimes it fills with water. It was bummer. It looked fun, so Steve and I decided we would have to bail it out. "It had to be emptied and ridden" (a little Dogtown quote for you).

We were determined. We went to the local K-mart, and got some supplies (rope, buckets). We started to bail. And bail, we did for about an hour. And Steve said, hey, how come the water is not going down? Well, it was going down, but it was also coming back up, through the drain. Evidently, the drain went straight to a French drain, instead of a sewer system or a storm drainage system. So when the water table reached the bottom of the bowl, water came in. It was a lost cause, unfortunately. So we bagged the bailing routine.

We decided that the deep end was too good not to skate. We started rolling around it, staying on the high side of the tranny. It was a like skating old ditches with water in them. Kind of fun, and a little risky. Then Steve says, hey, let’s see if we can get a grind over the water. Steve’s good at coming up with these hair brained ideas (jumping on logs?).

Well, as it turned out, we could whip around and get a grind on one side, and just miss the water’s edge on the other. Well maybe. One time, my last time, I hit the grind, and then I hit the water. I bailed, because I knew I would slip out. The board decided to go back into the water. I spent the next half hour cleaning and drying out my bearings.

Jackson, WY is a lot like Ketchum, ID. It’s a ritzy resort town (one person at Motel 6 cost 90 bucks, cheap eh?), and is very neat and tidy. I was able to hook to the internet at the Hard Drive Café, for a couple of bucks. The park is fun, and smooth. The deep bowl is designed in such a way that a figure eight line is really fast (even with water in the bowl). Water. Well, after thinking about it. I think we should have tried putting a PCV pipe in the drain. Take out the screen, and stick the pipe snugly in the drain (about 4 feet tall?), forcing the water up the pipe, instead of out into the bowl. You could skate around a pipe sticking up, much easier than trying to avoid “Jackson Lake” along the whole flat bottom. In theory, the pipe would hold a column of water, which would put back-pressure on the water table, causing it to level out. It’s just a theory anyway.

We headed back to Hailey, around noon or so, as it started to get hot. We were so blessed to have perfect weather everyday, not a cloud in the sky! Five hours later, it was time to Rip Ride in Hailey! Not! I was so sore, and tired. I had to take a break (after driving that far, and sitting on stiff and sore muscles), to stretch out some of these old tired muscles. Couple that with sleeping on concrete every night. I was stiff as a board. But, after stretching, I felt a little better, good enough to ride. I decided I needed to get a sticker higher in the pipe. So, with a sticker in one hand, I started getting pretty high. On one run, I reached back to stick the sticker, as I was about 10 O’clock in the pipe, I decompressed (stood up straight), not concentrating on the riding the pipe and staying compressed until it was safe to ride out. I suddenly found myself flying out into the middle of the pipe, in the air, with sticker still in hand. Yee Haa! Then slam! I found my self at the bottom of the pipe. My shoulder/face/knee/wrist all took the hit. I stuck the sticker right there where I landed (ouch!). I cracked my new full-face helmet in two places. I thought for sure I would have a concussion or something. But, nothing. My shoulder felt the worst out of the whole deal. The helmet did its job. I’m sure, had I not had this particular full face helmet on, I would be looking at another dentist office visit. I decided I was designated photographer for the rest of the night.

Good session at night, as usual, the locals really heat it up when the sun goes down behind the mountain. We slept in the bowl again, and decided that since the Montana bowl wasn’t a go, we would head out to the new bowl in Hood River Oregon, on the next day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2003:

Early morning skate at the Hailey Park is fun, you can just roll, and roll and roll. No need to push, no need to go big. It’s just fast, no matter where you go. The place is easy to keep your speed in. You can start at the top, carve down to the deep end, and ride your way back up through the pipe, and end up where you started. We skated for a while, and then this guy shows up and asks us if we want to skate his pool? HUH? You don’t have to ask us twice!

So we follow him to the secret pool (I can’t tell you who or what or where, because it’s a secret. Just another connection we have to NASA). Well, it’s hot by this time, and being in a large reflector, oh, I mean pool, only made it that much hotter. We were a little bummed we couldn’t skate the pearl jam bowl, so this made up for that. Steve rips pools. Tight tranny is a whole different ball game. It was so much fun to ride the tile and hit real pool coping, for some real grinds. But we paid our dues, no doubt. Steve was knee sliding (on the gritty pool surface), and his pads slipped, skinning his knee. I slammed my hip, just in time to sit for 8 hours on our trip to Hood River. We said our good byes to this wonderful area that will only get better. Did I tell you that Ketchum is raising money to “out do” the Hailey Park? Dreamland will be back in this area to build another killer park. Just you wait (Maybe some pool coping and tile this time, eh?).
We packed up and left around noon. Next stop. Hood River.

We rolled in to Hood River around 8pm. It was hotter here than in Hailey, but it was a good ride (uneventful is good). Steve really liked Hood River; he said it reminded him of the round part of the old Upland combi bowl.I skated, even though I was too tired/stiff and hot to even walk (and did I mention the mosquitoes, they were out in force!).

The locals were spectating, as we rode the bowl (They will be ripping it up in no time, no doubt). Steve found some new lines (forever carve grinds in the deep), and decided that he needed to come back; it’s a good bowl they got there in the Hood. We were hot and tired, and beat. It was decided by a democratic vote (read the kids wanted to go home, but the dads wanted to stay), that we press on and head home, instead of staying one more night, and riding Newburg or some other great park the next day. So, instead of trying to get this tired old body to skate today, I’m pounding a keyboard, and ready to take another nap (and dream about that park in Hailey)! Thanks once again to Dreamland for making parks that are worth the trip. And thanks to all the Hailey/Ketchum locals who are so nice it’s just makes the whole scene an incredible experience.

- Dan Hughes
Hailey photos

Hailey Movie made from trip...2003.

Dan Hughes has been skating longer then just about any of us. You can find him in our forum or check out his gallery HERE.

This was originally published on I tried to keep the original formatting that Bobcat used.

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