Hood Crew to the World


Friday, August 21, 2015

Surfing the Shopping Center

Not enough snow in the streets of Cabo so we took it to the mall. City-Creek's got a massive parking garage with a couple of these schwells but this may be the biggest wave. Had to bring a couple lifeguards to watch for shoppers. Definitely a great trip, biggest wave I've ever ridden!

Some of the most rewarding experiences I've had on skis are when I come across something and know that there's a possibility that the spot is skiable even though it seems fairly surreal and intimidating. When I parked at the SLC City-Creek mall in January, I saw that there was the potential to ski some sort of escalator line. January didn't feel like the right time to make this happen: I wanted to chase after fresh powder, not ride down dry escalators. Upon returning to Salt Lake City in March, after spending the last few weeks skiing the snowy streets of Denver, I accepted that winter was over and if I wanted to continue skiing in the city, I would have to make do without any snow.

One of my good friend's, Will Clark, happened to come visit me in SLC right after I got back from Denver. He's a very unique friend who I only see about once or twice a year, but during those encounters we usually accomplish something hilarious. I told him about the City-Creek escalator line and we were that much closer to making it happen. When trying to accomplish weird stuff like this, you need to be with people who are very supportive and Will was just that person. We drove to the mall and evaluated the situation. We were three stories down in the parking garage, the escalators had a lot of traffic since it was mid-afternoon, and trying to fathom skiing all three in a row was hard to accept since it involved covering a big distance with plenty of room for shoppers to get in the way.

We left the mall and tried to recruit more friends but only ended up with one other person. This definitely wasn't enough people to ensure 100% safety but having two people on lookout is a whole lot better than one. We took about four different trips to the parking garage that day. I didn't immediately ski all three escalators, I skied the second two so that we would have one friend holding open the doors at the bottom and another at midway to serve as a lookout. The second two escalators are a lot shorter than the top one so I wasn't going very fast and it wasn't very satisfying. When skiing in the mall, it's obviously important to be efficient and avoid confrontations. I rode the double escalator line two times and we left.

Will and I noticed a monstrous stair-set at another parking garage in downtown SLC earlier that day after our first trip to the mall. It was about 2 minutes away from City-Creek so we moved on to that spot:

This stair-set involved taking baby steps as you work your way up to the top. I skied it from the top once and it is something that I would never do again. The stairs are made of metal so there is way too much room for error. After nocking out that stair-set, the triple escalator line was nothing. We went back to the mall but saw that there was a car in the landing so we left, grabbed some tacos for dinner, and took a pit stop to ski stairs at the SLC capital building. When we came back, the car was still in the landing. My friends tried to convince me that I would not hit the car based on how my speed worked out from skiing the double line earlier but it was not a chance I wanted to take.

I started to drive back out of the mall and realized that I probably would not have this opportunity again. I was with the right people and was definitely warmed up for the triple line (driving out from a three story underground parking garage gives you a lot of time to contemplate). I turned back around and decided to trust my friends' instinct that the car in the landing would not be an issue. To my relief, they were correct and it took only one try to ski the full line (I'm not sure if I could have even gotten away with any other attempts). I can't thank my two friends enough for being there that evening. There's no question that it was not a very casual thing to pull off but we had to pretend that it was to successfully make it happen. I believe that day was my best day of skiing all year, which is somewhat ironic considering that it was in two snowless parking complexes.