in Hailey, Idaho was finished in late Summer of 2002.
Steve and I had planned to hit the park sometime after
that, but we just couldn't swing it. Then when the snow
season got a real late start, we planned a Thanksgiving
weekend trip. However, a week before the trip, it snowed.
And from that time on, I understand the deep end had 4
to 6 feet of snow lodged in it's cavernous belly.
So, I figured
we'd just have to wait for spring. I looked on the calendar,
and spring break seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I planned a three day weekend, and invited anyone and
everyone for the trip. However, a 10 hour drive (or a
2 hour 300 dollars round trip flight. The airport is right
across the street, literally!) was a bit daunting for
the weak. Steve wanted to go, but had previous obligations
(school, "Dang!"). Todd said he wanted to go,
and so we started planning the trip to Hailey. I'm the
type of guy who likes to have reservations weeks in advance,
Todd, he's game for the adventure. Just go, and find a
place to camp, no problem! So, I get on the net and find
out that most all the camping sites are closed until May
or June. There was one, that was on road FR 22, just north
of Sun valley, that appeared to be open (But they don't
take reservations). So, I figured we'd sleep there. If
I could find it (I've never tried to find a particular
Forest Road before, can you say "adventure"?).
The night before
we were supposed to leave, the weather didn't look to
good in Hailey (I've noticed that skaters are some of
the best weather forecasters). And Andy (Hailey local)
even thought that it might snow over the weekend we were
coming. Well, I didn't care. It was time to go ride the
pipe at Hailey at any cost! HAILEY OR BUST!
April 18th 2003:
I like to leave early. For me the earlier the better.
Todd was a trooper, he said he didn't mind leaving at
4:30 AM. So, I picked him and his faithful dog Maria (Or
"Mer") up at that ungodly hour. And we were
off. Now, if it wasn't for Todd, I wouldn't have made
this trip. There's no way I wanted to go all by myself.
So, thanks to Todd for putting up with me, and the 10-12
hour drives, and he was a great co-pilot! He would often
hear me say, "what road was that again?" So
anyway, we left around 4:30 AM. Around 6 AM we got some
breakfast in Ellensburg, then around 11 AM we stopped
to check out the Hot Lakes Hotel Pool in La Grande, Oregon
It's an abandoned
hotel, and is for sale for a cool 300 grand. Well, I had
heard that the pool was empty, and we went to see if it
was skateable. When we arrived, the odometer on my van
turned over, 200,000 miles on it now, thank you! The place
is huge and eerie. It was built around the early 1900's
and the pool looks like it wasn't built to long after
that. It's old and doesn't look like it has any tranny.
Truly square. But, it was hard to see through all the
murky water. Not only that, the pool is easily seen from
the Hwy, so it looks like it'd be a bust. But, it was
fun to check it out all the same. Next stop Hailey, ID.
We rolled into
Hailey about 5 PM, and there's only one road through Hailey,
and the skatepark is on the main road. So, you can't miss
the park. The first thing you see is the top of this huge
full pipe sticking up out of the ground. As we drove by
the first time, we couldn't take our eyes
off the pipe! We had arrived! We had made it to Hailey,
and there she was, a huge 16 foot diameter full pipe,
built solely for skateboarders!
We pull up
and everyone is standing around looking at us. Todd and
I are like kids in a candy store, we hop out and check
out the park, it's deep, it's huge, it's big, with a full
pipe to boot. But, it's all wet. I was told that it had
just snowed minutes before, and hard. Which we completely
understood because as we drove closer and closer to Hailey,
the closer we got to this huge collection of dark stormy
looking rain/snow clouds. Our whole trip had been clear
and dry, so we were pretty confident that Hailey was a
go. But, as we turned north, under those dark clouds,
they seemed to move away (Tarpman was scaring the clouds
away!!). And we had no rain in site, it was a full go
(I wonder if NASA uses "FULL GO"?). So, with
the locals standing around staring at us, Todd and I went
back to the van and brought out some squeegees, and we
went to work. I was told later that there was a rumor
that the Spitfire Team was supposed to show up around
5pm on Friday. So, when we pulled in, a couple of the
older locals said, "hey, it's the Spitfire Team..."
trying to make the kids think that we were that team!
Ha! Dodge Caravan, with Washington Plates, the Spitfire
Team! Anyway, it must have been a wild rumor because the
Spitfire Team never showed up.
Todd and I proceeded to dry the place out. The deep
end is so big, I didn't think that we'd get that dry,
so I told Todd, let's just dry down to the pipe, so
we can skate the pipe at least. That's when a local
named Jack jumped into the bowl, and started using
a push broom to dry out the park.
the energizer bunny. We had almost gotten the mini
ramp area next to the 14 foot quarter pipe dry, and
he starts in on the deep end. So, through the pipe
we go. And we're all drying the deep end too. 30 minutes
later, the whole park was dry. We were thanked for
bringing the tools. Andy came up to me and asked me
if I was Dan, because he knew we were coming, and
well, Washington Plates, squeegees.... Hmmm. ..must
be Dan. So, we showed them a little bit of
skatepark drying techniques. Maybe they might invest
in some squeegees now, who knows.
the park off, I noticed it had that nice smooth as butter,
Dreamland quality. Like there's nothing better, that smooth
Dreamland concrete! The locals were telling me how these
Dreamland guys would spend hours troweling the concrete
to get it smooth. I have no clue how they do it, but it
sure is a nice ride!
Todd and I pad up and stretch, and skate (old guys
do it a little slower). But, boy, this park was totally
worth the drive. I can't tell you enough. It is so
fast, so smooth, so gnarly. While I was padding up,
I was sitting there looking at that 14 foot quarter
pipe, and thinking, Hmm...when was the last time I
skated something that big (1981)? So, all I wanted
to do was get a grind on that wall. So, my second
run, I'm up there grinding away. Well, to be honest,
I was sliding. It was pipe coping after all. We had
to explain to the locals what "real" coping
grinding a 14 foot wall, I had to relearn how to ride
big vert! The weightless feeling. One time I was thinking
I would go up for a frontside air. Well, I was leaning
back just a little too much, I did a "Wilson"
(from Dennis the Mennis fame, "Mr. Wilson!"),
my board was launched 30 feet into the air, as I went
sliding on my backside all the way down. The locals
all thought that was the coolest thing they had seen
in a while (I could hear my son my in head when he
was 3 years old, "again! Do it again, daddy!!).
a board flying 30 feet in the air, what are the
chances of it landing on it's wheels unscathed?
Next to none. Especially if you were planning on
riding that board in one of the sickest parks in
the NW, for the next two days. So, I pick up my
board and find a huge dent in the tail (Hmm...time
to cut a new deck?). But, who cares, we had to fill
in for the vacant Spitfire team! So we rode until
it was dark.
park. It has a small freestyle/street section, with
a volcano, and kids would carve around and fly into this
area quite a bit. Connected to that was a mini ramp sized
area, but it had this 14 foot tall quarter pipe on one
side, and a 16 foot tall full pipe on the other, so not
only could it function as a mini area, but also a huge
halfpipe. Because the full pipe could be ridden, both
inside and outside. I thought it was a real ingenious
set up. One could even ride over the full pipe and into
the deep, or back up over into the shallow area. The full
pipe is laid sideways, with a snake run connection between
the mini area, and the deep end. So the most common line
was thru the full pipe into the deep. And sometimes back
up thru the pipe, back to the mini area. The blind spots
limited this to when it wasn't as busy. The deep end,
is about 8 feet deep at the end of the pipe, and then
goes down hill from there. And the walls just get higher
and higher. Up to 14 feet at the very tip of the deep
end. I eventually got a full speed carve grind in this
area from rolling off the top of the full pipe. What a
A cool Bar
and Grill place was recommended for good burgers in Ketchum,
we ate there, and we agreed, they made pretty good burgers.
After that we headed up looking for a place to camp.
searching we finally found FR 22, and I guess it's called
Deer Creek Campground. No fee, just camped by the creek.
We made a fire, it was getting cold fast. We decided to
sleep in Hotel Caravan, due to the onset of a cold night.
Saturday April 19th
I was coaching a baseball game, and I told everyone I
had enough. It was too cold to play, and I was going back
inside. At which point I woke up and looked at my watch.
It was 3 AM, and I was cold. I got another blanket, and
tried to stay warm. I fell asleep wondering how one knows
if they are hypothermic or not. At 6 AM I started the
Van and looked at the thermometer, it said 22 degrees.
Hmmm...kinda cold. I let the van
up and tried to sleep some more. Then I had to get up
and move around at 7am. I went outside with Mer, and we
checked out the very scenic area. I took some pictures,
and even spotted a Beaver. Mer chased some birds, and
kept finding sticks she wanted me to throw.
slept, I don't know how, but he did. And we finally
made it back to the skatepark later in the morning.
It was one beautiful day. No clouds in the sky, and
smooth concrete was calling our names. This was our
second day at the park, and we were starting to get
to know the lines and where the drop in points were.
It has three places to roll into (like roll in's where
there's no coping), and a roll in off the tip top
of the pipe, and various places to drop from. So,
it took a while to figure out where to look to find
out if it was clear to go or not. Often times you'd
hear a guy say, "rolling" just before he
rolled into the bowl. Some stayed in the shallow area,
and some rolled all around thru the pipe and into
the deep end. It's quite a fun design.
from the coast, my lungs were killing me after each
run, due to the elevation. I felt more tired than
ever. So, we took shorter runs, and longer rest periods
in-between. Just when you think you're in shape, you
go to 5 thousand feet in elevation, and can't hardly
skate as long without doubling over gasping for air.
over" the pipe was the trick I wanted to do before
I left. I tried a couple of times on Saturday, but couldn't
get it. It took all my energy, push starting from way
back, rolling into the shallow area, and pumping for all
I was worth around and up the pipe. I was finally able
to do it Sunday, I was so stoked! There was one guy who
was trying to do a double roll over. Roll over into the
deep and back over into the shallow in the same run. I
didn't even get close to that!
We skated for
a couple hours and decided to take a break.
Dave from the
Board Bin, in Ketchum had invited us up to his shop the
day earlier, and so we decided that would be a good break.
The shop was cool. Todd decided that there was a board
there that he had to have. Same as the first board he
ever had. So, unexpectedly he purchases a board. I get
a shirt to support the local skatepark fund.
We head back
and skate with Jack. And after another couple hours of
skating it was time to call it quits. We were beyond tired.
We hung out with Jack at the local watering hole. He invited
us to De Vinci's Italian Restaurant in Hailey. And boy
that was some good Italian food! Many thanks to Jack and
Becky for being the best hosts we could imagine!
Jack is an interesting character. If you meet him, you'll
never forget the experience. He grew up in Upland,CA.,
and that was the only other park he's skated, way back
when. Then he gave up skating, and raced Motorcycles,
and bicycles of all kinds. Mostly in the deserts. Now
that they have built a park in his home town, he's decided
to skate again. It's wonderful to see. His excitement
was infectious, and it was a real charge to skate with
our stories about being cold the night before Jack and
Becky offered to let us stay at their place for the night.
After all camping on their floor would be a little warmer
than in Hotel Caravan. Todd decided that he was really
interested in camping after all. So he slept in the van
and kept Mer company. Me, I'm on the warm floor. So, I
was pretty rested for the trip home the next day, and
since I was the
only driver, that was a good thing.
Sunday April 20th
And much to our satisfaction, Jack and Becky cooked a
marvelous breakfast the next morning. I couldn't thank
had two hours or so to skate, and then hit the long
road home. And skate we did. I had the camera's
rolling the whole time, we went through two more
rolls of film. And by this third day, the pipe was
feeling a little more comfortable, and the deep
end didn't seem so deep as it did on the first day.
Todd was grinding the deep end almost each time.
And we were both getting higher and higher in the
pipe. I noticed that the carving kick turn technique
was the trick to getting higher in the pipe, it
was just too much fun! We skated ourselves out,
in just two hours. Our legs were ready to just sit
for 10 hours.
trip was a complete success (it was Easter, and we
didn't find any eggs, we found one great park to skate!),
no one got hurt, the Van turned 200,000 miles, and
didn't break down. And we skated one of the most killer
parks in the world, without a doubt! Thanks to Jack
and Becky for being great hosts. And thanks to all
the other locals Andy and Dave at the Board Bin Shop.
And meeting the Montana dudes (Kyle and ?). And thanks
to Todd, for without a co-pilot, I wouldn't have gone
on this trip. It was just one great weekend!
- Dan Hughes
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 Sleestak.net. I tried to keep the original formatting that Bobcat used.
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