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Saturday Night Skating in Las Vegas

In 2003 the long-time leader of the Santa Monica Friday Night Skate in Southern California moved to Las Vegas Nevada for professional reasons (he's an incredible performer, but that's a whole other story...). Here's what he has to say about the state of skating in Las Vegas.

FROM CHRIS IN LAS VEGAS...

The Las Vegas Saturday Night Skate doesn't exist.

YET.

The legality of skating here has been fuzzy to me. Since I moved here in October, I can still count on two hands the number of people I've seen inline skating. I didn't think that was a good sign.

Turns out, this just isn't a skate town.

YET.

I've been telling folks for months that eventually, I'm just going to put on my blades, throw on the sound system, and skate up and down "The Strip" (approximately 3 miles of Las Vegas Blvd.) to see what kind of trouble I might get in. Last night, I finally got around to it.

I've driven the strip countless times now, but last night at about 11:30 I drove it with skater's eyes. Where should we meet? How far should we go? Where should we park? The strip isn't exactly a place where you just pull over and park........ it doesn't work like that. I finally found a place near Tropicana, a McDonald's and a couple of liquor stores....... hardly the size required to start a huge skate, but I gotta start somewhere, and besides, I was just testing the waters. When I get this skate going, our starting and ending spot will likely NOT be anywhere near the strip.

I put on my skates and sound system and took off. It was the first time I bladed since my farewell roll on October 10th. And it was really windy, so I decided to go north first, maybe the wind would push me back. No such luck, the wind was blowing west to east, so I got a dirt sandwich both ways.

Skating in the street really isn't a good idea. The cab drivers just DON'T PLAY. I stayed on the sidewalk the whole time, keeping a wide berth of pedestrians who, as you all know, have absolutely no idea of what to do about an approaching skater. Every now and then I would see the occasional security guard on a bike, but not once was I told what I was doing was wrong.

I skated for 3-1/2 miles. After Sahara, the only interesting landmark is the Stratosphere. Then it's 2 miles of adult hotels and wedding chapels on the way to the old Downtown Vegas. Not really worth it, we probably won't ever skate up that way.

On the way back, I skated on the west side of the strip, which turns out to be the most interesting side. There's a nice smooth sidewalk near the Fashion Show mall. Then comes a great view of Treasure Island, and Mirage. Then comes Caesar's palace, kinda a pain the ass with all the construction. Let's hope they finish soon.

Crossing Flamingo will be tricky. In the past decade, Vegas has built bridges for pedestrians to cross major streets so that the pedestrians don't hold up traffic. Here's the bad news: NO SKATES ALLOWED. No big deal, we'd just have to go half a block down Flamingo and cross at a stoplight.

After that is a great W I D E sidewalk, with a view of the fountain show in front of Bellagio. All in all, it was a quick little 6.6 mile trip that kinda wore me out. Maybe my skating muscles are out of shape. Or maybe it was that 50 mph cross wind. In any case, there are plenty of interesting stops I can find off the strip, so making a 10 mile route will be no problem.

Unless it turns out to be a bad idea, I'm thinking of having the skate at midnight on Saturdays, to give you LA people plenty of time to drive up for the weekend. The next test will be to skate the strip at Midnight on Saturday, to see what kind of pedestrian traffic we'd be up against.

If you want to be on the Las Vegas email list, just drop me an email at VegasNightSkate@aol.com.

Stay tuned...............
~ Chris in Las Vegas



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