By Caden Walters
College students in West Virginia have failed to realize the recreational potential of the hills they hike to class everyday. Dozens of activities like biking, hiking, skiing and snowboarding are participated in annually. However, downhill skateboarding is low on West Virginia’s list of activities, if present at all.
Being a college student generally means a lack of expendable money, leaving most of us to be car-less. As a student at Potomac State College, I use my longboard to get to and from class. Many of my peers use the same method to travel across campus or through town.
So my question is, if people are aware of the hills around them, as well as how to ride a longboard, why are we not seeing a longboarding culture?
Keyser, West Virginia is a small mountain town full of wind turbines in the middle of the Potomac Valley. It is on the map for one reason only: its college. If you take a tour of our college’s agriculture department, you will be taken to a road named “Green Mountain Road.” This dragon is at an incline which fluctuates between six and ten percent depending on which part of the mountain you’re on.
Going down the mountain at speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour can be reached without even a kick to the concrete; individual trees become one large blur, and all you can focus on is the double yellow line on the black pavement. “It’s a controlled fall,” says PSC student Deshawn Thompson. “We have no brakes. After both feet leave the ground it’s just you, gravity, and the mountain.”
Maryhill, Washington is a small community famous for its nothingness and wind farms. Every year the town holds the single largest longboarding event in the US: the Maryhill Festival of Speed. Through this festival, a small town in the middle of nowhere, just like Keyser, attracts athletes and tourists from all over the world to witness who will be crowned the new champion of the downhill race.
Throughout our local Appalachian Mountain Range, roads similar to those in Maryhill and its “world class” quality lay dormant and un-skated.
If Maryhill can do it, why can’t Keyser?