Last weekend marked the 3rd annual Ithaca Skate Jam, a long boarding exposition and competition that draws the biggest names in the sport from across the country to the little college town of Upstate New York.
While still classified and referred to as skating, the shredding done on Gun Hill Road this past weekend was far from what comes to the minds of most when they think of traditional skateboarding. A different breed of sport entirely, the Ithaca Skate Jam focuses on the modern art of Longboarding which involves an obviously longer board to allow for greater stability at higher speeds and additional versatility in how one might maneuver on a steeper road. Combatting the dangerous velocities one encounters by setting off on such a steep hill is part of the sport, learning and mastering the art of sliding sideways across the pavement.
Ithaca then with all of its hills, Gun Hill in particular, is the prime place for all of these slip and slide riders to come together and compete. Sponsored by Comet Skateboards, the Ithaca Skate Jam has been going on for 3 years now, and is only gaining more momentum. Lining the hill with ramps galore, and hosting competitions such as the longest slide, the event makes for a full day of incredible talent demonstration.
This year offered an interesting and unintentional twist however. With significant rain in the morning and continued light showers throughout the day, riders were (figuratively and literally) on their toes the whole way down. With slippery conditions, all slides are just that much more risky, and for the more novice riders unaccustomed to such an obstacle, the day proved more than difficult.
This event though is about more than simply competition and showing off in front of the judges for these competitors, and when faced with adversity, they make do. When asked to comment on how the conditions impacted the day, teen rider Jake Hart had this to say- “I still had a great time. If anything it made it more fun. Our tent was down at the bottom of the run so everyone would come, hang out and talk, buy some of our merchandise, and just have a good time chilling.” Owner of Idyllic Clothing lines, Hart was more than eager to welcome the business of the event, as were many others that opened booths along the high speed course.
While the road may have been dampened, their spirits definitely weren’t, and it looks like the Ithaca Skate Jam is going to become a regular facet of life here in Ithaca, NY.