Words from Comet team rider Anthony Flis:
It all started because Pat Schep, Keith Rebhorn, myself, and a slew of other changing characters over the years had the holiday break at college and it just happens to be the best time of year for skating mountain roads on the east coast. It’s a last hurrah of the skating season but also the most spottable time of year with the leaves off the trees. In the end it’s always been about skating some amazing spots with your close friends and I would trade nothing for the times I’ve had on these trips.
This year was a little different because of starting the trip a month early and adding a week. The main core group was: Matt K, Pat Schep, Ben Dubreil, Brian Peck and myself, Anthony Flis, skating. Then we had Gabe Gwynne, Mclovin and Olivier Seguin–Leduc there to film, shoot and vibe out. We had some beautiful weather during the peak leafing season and skated some old favorites as well as some new gems.
Vermont was the first stop and now you know that it is a hell of a place to be into downhill skating. We spent four days in Winooski staying at Will Deming and Jake Palmer’s who make the longskate scene go round in Burlington and are in general some of the best people. Much thanks to their lovely girlfriends for putting up with a van of skaters. Everyone got there Saturday night, including AJ Powell, Kevin Lefrank, Ludo Tremblay from Montreal. We all piled in the van to pick up the west coasters from the airport with the Christmas lights on and blasting some Alpha Blondie.
Unfortunately the first day was rainy so we went to the indoor skatepark with these downhill dominators and slashed some coping. The montreal folks headed home that night slightly unsatisfied. Day two we went to Ape Snake/the Crag to film the most skated mountain pass and gnarliest pavement I’ve skated anywhere to date. The next day we tried to skate a road filled with switchbacks that we had hoped would be closed for the winter but was still open making it too dangerous to skate. Instead we hit one of the gnarliest golf courses I’ve seen, got cider donuts, and paid a visit to my favorite brewery in the world. That night we did a photo shoot with OSL to let him try and make some magic happen during which we thought we saw a drug deal go bad but it turned out to be drunk kids just shooting their guns wildly into a reservoir. On Wednesday we started our journey south to Ithaca, NY making a stop to skate one last Vermont mountain pass that had beautiful pavement, a rarity up there. After forcing Oli to skate it we navigated our way out of Vermont and back down to New York to visit Comet headquarters and make our way to Camp Woodward to fulfill our childhood dreams.
A little bit about Ape Snake/The Crag:
It has the gnarliest pavement I’ve ever skated and is probably the only place I can think of where I’ve had to fight the hill to just stay on my board. You know it’s gnarly when you see the locals crashing out on their own hill. Last time I was there I saw both Will and Jake wobble out in front of me because of being off balance over some cracks. Even the Quebecois complain about the pavement and their roads are terrible. The frost heaves are like moguls on a ski slope and are almost invisible in the gray scale pavement. Some of the cracks you go over are wheel eaters and can wobble you out if you’re not paying attention and they happen every 50 feet. The backside is a little smoother and faster with less frost heaves and cracks. The top is in the mid 50s easily as you wobble your way down the straight into a right kink to a flatish left hairpin that you can rail but it’s sketchy as hell. There’s a jump a few turns past the hairpin that you can’t really see on your way down. It’s a frost heave with a canyon at the top of it about 6” wide that has the landing a few inches lower than the take off. You just float over it without knowing what happened and if you look down you piss yourself a little seeing what you’re skating over. The key is to just go fast, stay light and look where you want to go. When I had skated this road in April my last run was the hardest I ever charged and will charge that road. One of the right sweepers has a crack in the apex and as I was hand down, backside drifting through it I caught all four wheels off the ground with my hand still down and landed in a drift. I held on out of my sheer will to live and stay in my lane. Immediately after that right is a giant left hairpin you can spot and dive into the shoulder of the left lane where I passed a car making it seem like a good idea for the pack behind me who then had to pass a car going up in the shoulder of the wrong lane. That run was heavy. I didn’t charge that hard during our Skatesgiving trip.