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Created by T. Gentsch | News

Winter Survival 2019


How to survive the winter without an indoor-skatepark

Photos & Words: T. Gentsch

Rain, snow, darkness, and cold are natural enemies of every skateboarder. Especially in Northern and Central Europe, the winter season can seemingly last forever. From October to Easter, it’s said that you should prepare your car with snow tires. These are also the same months that most skaters dread, as it usually means that they’re confined to the nearest indoor park to skate. Even if there’s now more indoor parks in Germany than ever before, they’re almost exclusively located in larger cities (except Munich), meaning it’s a long journey for many outside the city to go skate. So, if you’re looking for wintertime skate alternatives, we've compiled some locations to check out when you’re itching to skate. All locations are free, but you’ll probably want to dress warm and you may need to watch for security.

(Autobahn) Bridges

If there's one thing Germans care about, it's the Autobahn. Lucky for skaters, the well-built German highway system includes many bridge underpasses featuring banks, wallrides, and more. While some underpasses are constructed with bricks that have big cracks between them, watch out for those with ‘double-T’ interlocking bricks. These bricks lock tightly together, making a smooth surface to skate. Underpasses are almost always bust-free, but in some cases, the biggest issue is making sure your board doesn’t shoot out into the street or nearby on-ramps. Depending on how harsh the weather is, it may also make a difference which way the underpass is facing so that rain and snow don’t blow in it. Besides this, underpasses have a lot of potential, especially as an alternative to multi-story car parks.

Advantages: No bust, banks, in rare cases you can find banks with a channel or curbs to grind. In addition, these spots are sometimes quite hidden, making it possible to build DIY additions to the bank/spot.

Disadvantages: Rarely protected from wind, often dirty, sometimes slippery due to a greasy ‘layer’ of moisture on the ground.
Rating: 3 out of 5 points

 

 

Titus Skateshop

This may sound a little strange, but it’s possible to dodge the winter weather in some Titus shops! No, we're not talking about watching skate videos on a TV or hanging out with other skaters – we mean ‘real’ skating! Both Titus Cologne and Berlin shops have their own indoor concrete bowls. Of course, these bowls are only as big as the shops can allow, meaning they have a pretty tight transition. But, you can have a lot of fun skating these challenging bowls with your friends! In Cologne, simply ask at the shop counter to skate the cellar. In Berlin, the bowl is right in the shop and open to everyone. You could always call ahead and see if the bowls are currently clear for skating.

Advantages: It's warm and not a bust
Disadvantages: Small, tight transitions
Rating: 4 out of 5 points

 

 

 

Passages

Passages can be found in indoor and outdoor areas; they include any pathway for people to walk on or through. Often, shopping complexes will have passage areas covered in front of stores so that customers don’t get wet when walking in and out. This also means that the areas are usually dry. The downside is that during business hours, there’s probably people walking here or security/cameras guarding them. Try skating them after-hours or on Sundays. With a little luck, they might even have some curbs, stairs, or rails to skate!

Advantages: Sometimes warm, usually dry, some spot possibilities
Disadvantages: Security, opening hours, best on Sunday’s
Rating: 2 out of 5

 

 

 

 

Vacant Buildings

Even though there’s a decreasing number of vacant buildings in Germany, there’s always commercial properties and buildings that are left unused. Such places are sometimes awesome for skaters as they usually have a smooth floor, a roof, and walls. Depending on how many windows are left in the building, it may be a bit cold, but it’s better than under an autobahn bridge! Besides, open/broken windows make it easier to get inside! However, you should always be aware that even vacant buildings usually belong to somebody. Therefore, it’s best to be on the safe side and find the property owner to ask if you can skate there during the winter. Who knows, maybe the owner will even say it’s okay to place a few skate obstacles inside!


Advantages: Wind and weather protection, no bust (hopefully), prime for DIY projects
Disadvantages: Usually only temporary use, vandalism, cold
Rating: 5 out of 5 points

 

 

 

Subway

The underground subway (U-Bahn) and the connecting corridors found around stations are a real blessing during freezing temperatures. You may recall the pleasant feeling of a warm draft of air when walking into an underground station. If you have your board with you, these areas suddenly make the idea of missing your next train sound not so bad after all. Unfortunately, if you do throw your board down, it may only be short-lived, as many of these areas are monitored by cameras and security people. Luckily, they should suffice for a warm-up session and, who knows, maybe you won’t get busted and you’ll have a sick sesh!

Advantages: Relatively warm, usually very smooth, mostly clean, well lit
Disadvantages: Security, drunks, many pedestrians during the day, not in all German cities, often only flatground
Rating: 2 out of 5 points

 

 

Car Park

Parking garages or underground car parks are certainly the most accessible places for most people. These can be found even in very small cities, often near the train station or next to a shopping centre. Unfortunately, especially newer "models" seldom have good spots, somehow builders of modern roofed parking facilities seem to think very monotonously. Here and there, however, there are still pearls from past days and with a little luck, they accommodate a perfect, often yellow painted Slappy-Curb. This can often be used for manuals at the same time and if it is also located at a descent, you can have a lot of fun. Underground garages are also, as the name suggests, underground, which means it won't be windy or too cold. But for most multi-storey car parks, it can get wet here as well, depending on vehicle fluctuation; because every incoming car naturally brings moisture with it. Underground garages are usually monitored by camera, but it has happened quite often that parking attendants turn a blind eye, for example when a complete deck is empty. If this is not the case, you should definitely pay attention to standing and of course also entering cars - then nothing stands in the way of a varied session.

Advantages: Mostly sheltered from the wind and realtively light, sometimes it's warm, sometimes offers spots that are often sought for elsewhere.
Disadvantages: Moisture creeping in, securities
rating: 3 of 5 points