Valley skaters' best kept secret: Down South Mountain - New York News

Valley skaters' best kept secret: Down South Mountain

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PHOENIX -

Speeding down the windy roads of South Mountain at more than 60 miles per hour -- not in a car -- but on a skateboard!

This is no stunt, it's a daily event for these guys. Skateboarders take it to the next level on the valley's tallest mountain.

Just south of the Phoenix skyline sits a natural valley wonder. South Mountain is one of the largest city parks in the world.

It's almost 3,000 feet high and has 58 miles of trails -- steep, windy roads where people escape to hike, bike and horseback ride.

But the newest mountain hustle and bustle? Before you even see them, you hear them barreling down the mountain.

You hold your breath as you watch them scream down the mountain road. Downhill skaters have turned South Mountain's roads into their roller coaster.

The long boards are about three feet long, 9 inches wide. Crouched in a tuck position, the skaters can reach speeds of 60 MPH.

21-year-old Cole Kurtz initiated the valley's growing downhill skating culture. He has an academic scholarship to ASU, studies business management, but outside of class.

"Skaters are here every day almost," says Kurtz.

They call this hill "Somo."

"Our rule of thumb is stick in your lane. We're looking down the road off the bluffs to see if cars are coming up."

And all of this is totally legal.

"The park rangers are really familiar with us. We don't have any legislative that binds us, so we push that we keep clean and safe and not endanger anyone on the road. It looks dangerous, but we're all in control and we all know what we are doing," says Kurtz.

To the skaters, each road is a challenge.

"This road wasn't put here for me to skate on. Take what someone else has made and interpret it how you want."

Each road has its own character, from its twists, turns, even potholes. What kind of road is South Mountain's?

"This road is a playful road. It's actually a low speed hill."

A wild ride to most is a meditative one for Kurtz.

"It's just me and the road, it's like the most peaceful place I can find."

Somo has garnered national recognition. skaters from around the world have come to the desert to skate.

Online: skatephx.com

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