Skateboarding year-round is generally fun if you live in a location without extreme heat or freezing winters. Harsh weather conditions can affect your ability to skate, your safety, and the components of the skateboard itself.
Skateboarding in the cold is possible with the right fitness level and motivation. If the temperature drops to 40ºF or lower, however, you will need to warm up your body by doing stretches, lubricate your bearings, and check if your surroundings are not too slippery to skate.
Preparing yourself to skate in the cold is crucial, so make sure you do the necessary steps and preparations to avoid experiencing injuries and shortness of breath when the air gets too thin.
Still, some people enjoy skating when it’s cold as cold temperatures save you from excessive body heat and sweating and can result in better fitness performance.
Can you skate during the winter?
Skating during the winter is possible, depending on where you live. If you live in sunny California, the winters are not extreme, making skateboarding possible during the cold months.
On the other hand, if you live in places like New York or Chicago, where you might experience snowfall and temperatures below 20ºF, skateboarding in the winter can be dangerous if you are not careful.
Falling on a skateboard and slamming on the concrete during the winter will hurt more when it’s cold, especially when you are not warmed up enough to skate. The concrete can also be slippier with less traction when turning and stopping.
Even steel coping, flat iron bars on ledges, and other metal utility covers in the skatepark or on the street can be slippery when it is cold — something you should watch out for.
Your age can also affect your ability to skate in the cold. Younger people under 25 typically don’t have a hard time since their bones and muscles are a lot flexible and still have optimum metabolism– making their bodies warmer even in the winter cold.
If you are in your late 20s and up, you may have a harder time warming up your joints, making it more difficult for you to be skating at 100% during the winter.
If that is the case, you might want to avoid skating in the cold, or take a few precautions:
- Really warm up and stretch before each session
- Wear adequate clothes and safety gear
- Check if the skatepark or street spot is not too slippery
- Check if your skateboard bearings are not frozen
Pros and cons of skateboarding in the cold
Skateboarding in the cold isn’t all bad. Here are the pros and cons of skateboarding in the cold:
Pro: You can skate longer with less sweating and fatigue
Compared to skateboarding when it’s 90ºF, skateboarding in a colder climate makes you sweat less and feel less sticky.
With a lot less sweating, you can even skate longer sessions than you do during the summer time.
However, when it gets too cold you need to watch out for strains, joint pains, and twisted ankles. It also takes longer for you to recover during the winter.
Also, even the smallest injuries can hurt twice as much when it is cold.
Pro: Fewer people skateboard in the cold
If you are not a fan of busy skateparks and street spots, you can take advantage of skating in the cold.
Fewer people are skating during these times, which means you can learn new tricks if you prefer no one watching you. You get to skate in parks that get overly crowded during the warm days.
Pro: Skateboarding in the cold can sharpen your senses
Skating in the cold could sharpen your senses, allowing you to be more aware of your surroundings and body movement when trying to land a trick.
This may not be the case for everybody, but try skating in the cold and skating in the summer to compare how your mind functions during these different seasons.
Con: It takes a while to warm up
Usually, when you skate during hot days, you can warm up by dropping in a couple of times, doing a few ollies, and stretching your muscles briefly.
That is not the case when skating in the cold. You will have to take warming up seriously if you don’t want to hurt yourself. You need to do a lot more warmups and stretches to get to your optimum skating condition.
If you are not sweating, it might even take longer for you to limber up. Make sure you get to the skate spot earlier, and clean up the spot if needed to help your body limber enough while making your skating environment safe.
Con: Spots can get really slippery
During the winter, skateparks, skate plazas, the asphalt, city spots, and other skate spots can get really slippery.
That is the reason only a few people skate when the weather falls below 40ºF. Slippery spots can make your wheels lose traction, and when skating bowls and transitions, there is a tendency for you to slip and fall.
If you want to skate in the cold, make sure you tread lightly on the pavement and check it is not too slippery when you lean and turn.
See also: Skateboarding On Rough Roads
Con: Your skateboard can get damaged
The wooden deck of your skateboard can get flaccid when you leave it out in the cold for too long.
These conditions can make your board brittle and make it lose integrity, which can eventually cause your deck to break when performing ollies and other tricks, when dropping down staircases, or when sliding rails.
Your bearings can also freeze in the cold weather, causing them to break. If this occurs in the middle of riding, it can result in you falling off your skateboard and getting injured.
Con: Injuries take a while to heal when it is cold
In the worst case that you get injured when skateboarding in the cold, twisted ankles, muscle strains, and other forms of bruises and sprains may take longer to heal due to the cold.
Your cells are slower to regenerate during the winter, which causes healing to slow down drastically.
If you want to skate in the cold, make sure you are extra careful and wear a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and wrist guards.
How do you skateboard in cold weather?
Most skate videos are filmed during the summer because skating in the cold is more challenging.
But as mentioned, it is possible to skate in the cold weather, and here are a couple of tips that can help you skate comfortably in the winter.
Wear enough layers
When skating in the cold, you want to make sure you wear enough layers to reach your optimum body heat when skateboarding. You can wear thick jeans, sweaters, long-sleeves, and a jacket on top.
You might also want to wear gloves and thicker socks. You can also try wearing long underwear under your skateboarding jeans.
Find a dry place to skateboard
Finding a place to skate is the next challenge when skating in the winter. If it hasn’t snowed in a day, you can typically find a dry place such as an empty parking lot, a basketball court, or a dry area at the skatepark.
Warm up slowly before each session
Just moving in the cold is difficult. So make sure you warm up your body slowly. You can start by pushing around the skate spot until your bones and joints get loose.
If you are at the skatepark, you can pump back and forth the transitions until your body heats up. Make sure you do this to avoid getting injured when you fall off your board.
Keep skating and moving
Once you get warmed up to go skating, you can maintain that body heat by continuously skating and moving around.
If you take too long a rest, you are going to have to warm up all over again, so make sure you keep moving if you want your cold weather skateboarding session to last longer.
Skateboarding in the winter is challenging, so make sure you don’t go too hard on yourself to avoid injuries. Just have fun and enjoy skating.
What temperature is good for skateboarding?
The best temperature for skateboarding is around 60ºF to 80ºF. Anything above or below that may either be too hot or cold.
If you still want to skate in the cold, make sure you are warmed up, have enough layers on, and find a dry spot to skate. Skating from 20ºF to 40ºF is still possible if you follow the tips above.
Can skateboard bearings freeze?
Skateboard bearings can freeze if you leave them out in the cold for too long.
To avoid freezing bearings when you are skating in the cold, make sure you store your skateboard in a warm place before skating, e.g. inside your house.
Bearings will not freeze while skating, but make sure you don’t stay out in the cold with your skateboard for more than 8 hours to avoid this from happening.
Is it OK for your skateboard to ride in the cold?
It is ok for your skateboard to ride in the cold. However, leaving it out in the cold before or after skating will potentially make the deck and components lose its integrity, making it less durable and more brittle the next time you skate.
Cold temperature can cause condensation, which can make your board wet, causing the wood to go flaccid.
Damp cold can also cause your skateboard components to rust and your bearings to freeze (see above), so make sure you don’t leave your board outside or skate in the cold for hours on end without a warm pause.
How do you skateboard indoors?
If the extreme cold keeps you from skating outdoors, you can try skating inside your house or garage.
It will not be the same as skating outside due to the limited space, but it might be good enough for a little skate fix.
Inside your house, you can practice ollies and kickflips in a stationary position. If you have a garage, you can get a little moving area to practice tricks with your board moving.
Some cities have indoor skateparks with good heating, making it possible to skate during any season.
Here are some examples of indoor skateparks in the US:
Cream City skatepark in Wisconsin
This skatepark is the best example of place to skateboard in the cold because the Midwest can experience really cold temperatures. With Cream City’s excellent climate control, you feel like you are skating in the summer even when in the middle of winter.
Vans Skatepark in Orange, CA
This skatepark is a full-sized skatepark with tons of features, such as the Combi Bowl, a beginner’s section, an 80’ wide mini ramp, and a lot more. Skating at this spot in the cold is very much possible with the amount of heating it provides.
SPoT skatepark in Tampa, FL
This skatepark is an excellent place to skate when it’s cold, and also when it gets too hot in the summer due to its excellent air conditioning. They also constantly modify the obstacle setup to keep things exciting.
See also: should a beginner go to skatepark?