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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.
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.
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
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