Winter Wonderland

I wondered why we have winter in this land as I tucked my hands beneath my fleece. The street sweeper made its way by and splashed muddy slush near pedestrians’ feet – disgruntled as they pushed past one another trying to beat the clock. I squinted so the wind wouldn’t blind me. My backpack was stuffed and strapped extra tight to preserve heat – damned if I missed the next red. Sure enough it changed. I sped through the intersection with a first-class ollie over the snow before a dude hit the gas. I manueled the whole block, then stopped at Supreme to meet with never-sticky souls. Cold can’t take hold of our immune system – resistance, baby!

Two days ago snow fell at 39 degrees. I saw hell’s blanket four- plus-five above freezing. I suppose the sun reasoned with our frustrations and laced us with 43 and a shine. Slush’s time on Earth was limited. And then Winter spoke saying, “I am Winter, demanding respect. I am before you, behind you, to your left, and to your right. Tonight you will find 29 degrees minus eleven. The wind’s chill factor will remind you.” Our response unspoken – a token of our unappreciative relationship.

What always slips through winter’s thoughtless clutch untouched is the body and soul controlled by our minds – dry land, elevated body in the middle of the street. Winter wonders why these skaters won’t beat into submission.

I waited for the next person to push off toward the courthouse ledge, where Winter begged for his downfall. “I’ve installed ice five paces away from where you plan to land! Ha!” More speed and adrenaline, and the run began – nollied up the ledge, backside 180ed, ollied again safely past the sorry trap. I turned back to see who was next to burn – legs turned, leaned, straightened, and landed before the ice. He 360 flipped over. Yeah.

Almost anywhere downtown one could see steam rise out of gratings, awaiting frostbitten skaters to find comfort. The passersby glared, and we swore, “If you’re cold, you should be standing here, too!” Shortly after, in the back of the banks, a daredevil deed was proposed. “All right, who’s gonna backside lipslide the frozen handrail?” The male ego was severely challenged and balance was contemplated. Several people skated to the edge of the steps, then experienced anxiety attacks. I thought back to the first time I saw Matt Bell at the same spot. “It’s not as hard as it looks!” he’d yelled. The board he’d held was battered so badly, Gumby would’ve fallen madly in love with the slanted tail. Bombdrop bails seemed easier, but he was the first cat I’d seen ollie to that one.

We strolled to one police plaza. Hazardous slips spots were peeped out, “No doubt we’re gonna session this!” The best was to feel the railing before sailing down its metallic wave. It was like an icy frost kiss that sent a surge of energy through my body. I took mine like a man – pop shove-it to a hard ass slam! Nearby Alex Corperan snaked Spencer Fujimoto’s go with a nosegrind down the six-step. Just in case you might have slept, Mike Hernandez – ranked top ten in skateboard gymnastics – backflipped over the railing down the long steps at the banks! Airto Jackson thanked the crowd’s roars as he soared switch over the six. And once again collard-green-eating Avery Daily, from New York’s daily news, made his move toward what would’ve been a 50-50 minus the ice. Nice! Very nice! Packed with heat, Huf puffs Keith Hufnagel then inhaled as he mailed himself to a new address from a single ollie.

“Hey, guys! Guys! Come on, you know you can’t do that here!” I swear his face turned red from being ignored and taunted – freezing for starting pay in uniformed polly. Not even on a good day could you get me to do that. I also knew it was the middle of the pay period for the serious-acting security guards in Midtown. Bubba downed a hot cup of coffee from a softly spoken fiddy-cent bribe saying, “All right, fellas, you got an hour. If anybody git’s hurt, I don’t care! Just make sure you git himutta here before anybody find out! It’s on y’all … not me!” We blazed it, surprised at how fast time flies.

We decided to hit the seaport, cop some warmth on the way down. Chambers seemed like a ghost town – not a soul in sight. The winds gusted at what must have been 23 miles per hour. Winter was right. The windchill factor felt as if it were ten below zero, and there were no security guards by the water, less they be out of their minds. Session time was restricted to several runs, though, before numb limbs threatened a case of hypothermia. When the cold starts to feel like warmth, your nerves get shot and you feel like you’re standing naked in the wind. That’s stress!

Finally the sun decided to settle in the west making room for the moon’s effeminate lullabies. She rested high above our heads and shimmered like a church chandelier. We dreaded the fact it was only near 5:00 p.m.. “Deeaammn! Son, it’s mad early and Shirley want stage space already!” She pulled the quilt up over her head not even saying good night. No thunder, lightning, or frightening sounds. Just flurries, flurries, and more flurries rushed down at a rapid pace.

I remember when I looked out the window to find it snowing – frustrated because it meant I wasn’t going out to skate. I’d say, “Good Lord, how I can’t stand the snow! Show and prove why we need it here; make it clear to me why we should have to have this horrible snow in New York City!” That was back in 1983. Anxiety attacked me every winter while she laughed in my face after that. I suppose in a place people all over the world would like to see you have to be patient and take the good along with the bad and ugly.

Charlie Wilkins

Boston, Massachusetts

Average winter temperature: 21.6.

Why is it worth skating in New England during the winter? It’s not laughs. You just kind of get used to it.

Did you ever set up plywood on snow banks and make ramps?

Yeah. There were these huge snow banks in this industrial park, and me and my friend would set up plywood and skate them. We just had a blast sort of make-shifting stuff.

Do you stay warm by layering up – putting on snowboard gear?

That works. As the photos show, more people in the Northeast put on their snowboard goods to skate.

Was it more difficult skating in snow gear? No.

Ultimately, since California or Australia are just a plane ride away, why stick around New England during the winter?

Not being able to go outside and skate in beautiful weather gives you a new appreciation for springtime and the arrival of good weather. People come out from underneath their winter coats, kind of like a rebirth. Then you skate your ass off.

Kerry Getz

Leighton, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 19.7.

How cold was it out when you took that photo? Probably about 25 degrees.

What’s the worst part about skating in the cold?

Frozen hands and trucks.

Does anything motivate you to go out skating in such extreme temperature?

Yeah, when I’m bored, sitting around watching videos. Some skate videos get me psyched to go out.

Have you ever shoveled out a spot so you could skate it?

No, but I skated a pile of snow that was in the shape of a quarterpipe.

Bam Margera

Westchester, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 21.2.

What do you usually wear in the cold weather when you skate?

Cold weather? There is none.

Have you ever shoveled snow out of a spot so you could skate it?

Nah, we don’t get snow here, but in Leighton, Kerry skates iced quarterpipes.

Have you ever thought of moving out to California?

Nah … I like it here.

Mike Maldonado

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 21.2.

What motivates you to skate in such extreme weather? Not a damn thing.

What do you usually wear in the cold weather when you skate? Nothing. I don’t skate when it’s below 45 degrees.

What’s the best way to get around in the cold weather? Have any one of your sponsors fly you where it’s warm – Florida, California, etcetera.

Rob Pluhowski

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 22.6

How cold was it out when you took that photo? Umm … probably around 25 degrees.

What’s the worst part about skating in the cold? Tight trucks and cold toes.

Does anything motivate you to go out skating in such extreme temperature?

Yeah, the fact I want to skate. Sometimes temperature doesn’t matter.

Have you ever shoveled out a spot to skate it? Hellz yeah! When I was younger, we would shovel out the ground so we could skate these jump ramps.

Pete Eldridge

Pennington, New Jersey

Average winter temperature: 30.5.

What motivates you to skate in the cold? ‘Cause there’s no where else to skate.

What’s the worst part about skating in the cold? Frozen trucks.

How cold out was it when we took those photos? Twenty below zero.

Rich Macciomei

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 22.6.

Do you travel out west to get out of the cold, or do you just bear with it? Bear with it.

Do you ever see yourself moving out to California for weather purposes? Nope, ’cause I like the skate scene out here better.

Mike Wright

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3

ow do you deal with skating in the winter? Well, bring out the Northfaces, the Patagonias, the whatever you have, and the gloves.

How does that affect your skating? It doesn’t really affect me, because I try a couple of tricks and my body gets warm. Then I just take it off.

Would you ever trade the New York winters for the warm California weather? In a minute.

Do you think you’re a better skater in the winter, or the summer, or does it make a difference? Summer. I’m a tropical being.

Airto Jackson

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3.

What do you usually wear when you go skating in the winter? I like to wear Speedo underwear, some gloves,

flip-flops, and goggles.

What’s too cold for you to skate in – what’s your limit? I don’t know. As long as there’s not enough snow to keep you from skating, then I’m down to skate.

Do you prefer living in New York in the cold, or would you rather be out west? I like it here; I migrate when it’s cold.

Do you have anything to add about the winter? Try not to fall, it hurts worse than in summertime.

Brian Wenning

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3

It’s twenty degrees out and you’re gonna go skating – what do you wear?

A hooded sweatshirt, long sleevers, everything.

Does that affect your skating at all?

Yeah, you feel all heavy.

How do you get psyched to skate in the winter?

If you really want to skate you gotta skate every day – in the winter, too.

Quim Cardona

Westfield, New Jersey

Average winter temperature: 32.3

How do you get yourself psyched to skate in the wintertime?

I try to convince my mind that it’s warm outside.

How does the cold weather affect your skating?

It tightens my joints and trucks. I skate like shit! I like the summer when my trucks are just gushy.

Since you’ve lived in the East Coast for so long, are you used to the cold?

Yeah, I’m used to it. But I like to escape from it sometimes – go hang out with Paulo Diaz who lives in California.

Would you trade the East Coast for the warm California sun?

No. The East Coast is like a militant training facility.

b>What’s the best way to get around in the cold weather? Have any one of your sponsors fly you where it’s warm – Florida, California, etcetera.

Rob Pluhowski

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 22.6

How cold was it out when you took that photo? Umm … probably around 25 degrees.

What’s the worst part about skating in the cold? Tight trucks and cold toes.

Does anything motivate you to go out skating in such extreme temperature?

Yeah, the fact I want to skate. Sometimes temperature doesn’t matter.

Have you ever shoveled out a spot to skate it? Hellz yeah! When I was younger, we would shovel out the ground so we could skate these jump ramps.

Pete Eldridge

Pennington, New Jersey

Average winter temperature: 30.5.

What motivates you to skate in the cold? ‘Cause there’s no where else to skate.

What’s the worst part about skating in the cold? Frozen trucks.

How cold out was it when we took those photos? Twenty below zero.

Rich Macciomei

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average winter temperature: 22.6.

Do you travel out west to get out of the cold, or do you just bear with it? Bear with it.

Do you ever see yourself moving out to California for weather purposes? Nope, ’cause I like the skate scene out here better.

Mike Wright

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3

ow do you deal with skating in the winter? Well, bring out the Northfaces, the Patagonias, the whatever you have, and the gloves.

How does that affect your skating? It doesn’t really affect me, because I try a couple of tricks and my body gets warm. Then I just take it off.

Would you ever trade the New York winters for the warm California weather? In a minute.

Do you think you’re a better skater in the winter, or the summer, or does it make a difference? Summer. I’m a tropical being.

Airto Jackson

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3.

What do you usually wear when you go skating in the winter? I like to wear Speedo underwear, some gloves,

flip-flops, and goggles.

What’s too cold for you to skate in – what’s your limit? I don’t know. As long as there’s not enough snow to keep you from skating, then I’m down to skate.

Do you prefer living in New York in the cold, or would you rather be out west? I like it here; I migrate when it’s cold.

Do you have anything to add about the winter? Try not to fall, it hurts worse than in summertime.

Brian Wenning

Brooklyn, New York

Average winter temperature: 25.3

It’s twenty degrees out and you’re gonna go skating – what do you wear?

A hooded sweatshirt, long sleevers, everything.

Does that affect your skating at all?

Yeah, you feel all heavy.

How do you get psyched to skate in the winter?

If you really want to skate you gotta skate every day – in the winter, too.

Quim Cardona

Westfield, New Jersey

Average winter temperature: 32.3

How do you get yourself psyched to skate in the wintertime?

I try to convince my mind that it’s warm outside.

How does the cold weather affect your skating?

It tightens my joints and trucks. I skate like shit! I like the summer when my trucks are just gushy.

Since you’ve lived in the East Coast for so long, are you used to the cold?

Yeah, I’m used to it. But I like to escape from it sometimes – go hang out with Paulo Diaz who lives in California.

Would you trade the East Coast for the warm California sun?

No. The East Coast is like a militant training facility.