Skateboarding isn't just for the skatepark. Hundreds of skaters are expected to turn up for the seventh annual Skate the Lake, a 32-mile ride to raise money for Boarding For Breast Cancer on Saturday.
"It's fantastic," said Erika Seward, Boarding for Breast Cancer's director of development. "Our mission is to create awareness. But more generally it's to promote a healthy lifestyle, so getting people out there skating, bicycling or rollerblading really fits."
Skaters will take off from just south of 64 Acres park, cruising up the bike path into Tahoe City. From there, they'll head out the path along Highway 89 and turn toward Squaw Valley. The group will ride through the village before turning around and skating back to the finish line in Tahoe City.
"It's a challenge to skate that far, for sure," said Skate the Lake founder Curt Sterner. "The course has some undulations. Some of it's flat. I've been telling people if it becomes too challenging, just hope off and walk."
Five rest stops will be spread throughout the course. Participants can skateboard, roller skate or bike the 32-mile distance.
Everyone is out there to create some awareness and have a good time," Sterner said.
To kick off the event, North Shore skater Dave Brumm will skate the entire perimeter of Lake Tahoe, attempting to break his previous record of 6 hours 45 minutes.
"He's kind of a mad man," Sterner said.
Sterner started the event seven years ago after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He was inspired by the early Boarding For Breast Cancer concerts at Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort, he said.
"That was a really big influence for me, and also motivation to create something that was a success," Sterner said.
From its beginning in 2005, when 30 skaters showed up in a snow storm, to the high of 150 people in 2009, the event has grown significantly. Since its inception, the event has raised nearly $50,000 for Boarding For Breast Cancer. More than 1,000 skaters have participated and Skate the Lake has spawned a sister event in Los Angeles, Skate the Coast, which happens in October.
Nationwide, long-distance skateboarding has attracted unprecedented attention in recent years. The Adrenalina Skateboard Marathon in New York City received widespread coverage this year, as did races in several other cities and countries. Sterner is quick to remind that Skate the Lake has been around longer than many other races.
"I like to think we were one of the first ones," he said.