Take the Stairs


Outside magazine, July 1999


Take the Stairs

The Diving Dig | The Cartwheel | The Figure Four | Take the Stairs | The Crossover Dribble | The Righteous Gitis | The Rock-a-Copter | Hang Ten | The Twisting Somersault | The Wheelie

If the in-line wizardry displayed at the X Games has got you all juiced up and ready to terrorize the local park path, it's high time you learned how to descend a flight of stairs, says vertical skate pro Chris Edwards, 25. We wish the technique, called gapping, were complicated, but it's not. Start small—as in the sidewalk curb. Approach it rolling at a moderate speed. Keep your shoulders level, your knees slightly bent, your feet hip-width apart, and your hands relaxed in front of you. Then? "Just hop off it like you would without skates," says Edwards. When you start nailing the
landings, absorbing the shock without interrupting your momentum, try gapping one or two stairs. Land the same way, with your knees bent and, most important, your weight forward. "You still may go down, but at least you'll have control of your injury," he says. "Nobody wants to fall backwards."

WHAT IT TAKES

Foot speed. Use a stair climber on a fast setting to whittle down your reaction time. "It helps to have some quickness going into it," Becher says. "But you can develop it."

ILLUSTRATION: Jason Schneider







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