Summer Guide

All Skate!

Santa Fe Skate Night rolls along

Santa Fe Skate Night’s Miranda Rivera (second from left) and other skating fans ride by night. (Jen Perez)

A full moon rose over Santa Fe as Herb Martinez Park (914 Camino Carlos Rey) became the place to be. Twilight brings out many things, like handsome vampires and crepuscular creatures, but a recent outing with the ongoing Santa Fe Skate Night event series brought out a community ready to roll—as well as some childhood memories.

I grew up roller skating at The Carousel Skating Rink in Houston, a fun place to spend the day back when it was perfectly acceptable to just drop off your kid at a warehouse on I-10. The Carousel was also a great place to crush on a cute boy from another school, and I would badger the DJ to play that funky music or dedicate something coquettish “to the boy with the Combat Rock shirt, from Jenny in the red satin pants.” For a time, roller skating was my life.

Thoughts from that era danced in my head when I joined Santa Fe Skate Night hostess-with-the-mostest Miranda Rivera as she gussied up the outdoor skate rink at Herb Martinez with flood lights, a giant speaker and a disco ball. If you attend a future Skate Night, rest assured you can’t miss Rivera—her bright pink hair practically glowed in the sunset as she gracefully floated between set-up and greeter duties. The party was just starting as the sun sank, and there were already dozens of people doing loops on quad skates, in-lines, skateboards and even a scooter or two. The smooth, seamless concrete unfolded before me, fenced in with high curbs that helped manage the debris. To keep the track clean, Rivera and her crew skated about with a couple of leaf blowers just before the session (and again throughout the evening) to make sure everyone could skate safely. Even a tiny rock can lock up a wheel and send a skater tumbling, and though I witnessed a few spills, someone was always there to offer a lift up and quick check-in to make sure no serious injuries had occurred.

I sat on the sidelines to watch and learned Santa Fe Skate Night lures people of all ages and abilities. Some skated alone, couples glided along hand-in-hand and friends made the rounds to chat and laugh about whatever. Occasionally, some skater would bust out dance moves or show off a new skill. And the night went on.

I watched as a mom gave her kids the signal to wrap it up, but her young daughter begged to do a few more laps—then zipped away before her mom could say “ohhhkay.” Mom took a seat next to me as I casually mentioned, “I used to skate.” She said she did too, but Carisa Cortez didn’t just roll in a wide circle listening to Xanadu like I had in Houston—she was a former roller derby athlete and a ref for the Brawlin’ Betties, a full-contact league in Santa Barbara, California. Had there been a contest that night, Cortez would have been a lock for the Coolest Mom Award.

After soaking in the scene, I started to experience skate envy. Since Santa Fe Skate Night is, of course, a nighttime event, many sported light-up wheels. I found myself staring at feet as they whooshed by and taking photos of rad skates became my new fetish. I asked folks where they found their gear and got answers like Big 5, Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Some said online specialty shops. Someone said, “found ‘em.”

“Some basic safety gear will really help your confidence,” Rivera said. “Make sure you get skates that fit your feet really well—you’ll be spending as much time as you can in them.”

You’ll want a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards, for example, especially if you’re just starting out. Protective gear can provide that extra boost of confidence to pick up speed and practice stopping techniques, although learning to fall is also part of the process. Skating also comes with health benefits, as it’s a source of cardio similar to jogging, but with lower impact. Skating also boosts serotonin levels for a near-instant dose of happiness, while strengthening the core and engaging large muscle groups that improve balance and posture while torching calories.

“Roller skating is the best thing I have ever done to improve my mental health,” Rivera noted; everyone at Santa Fe Skate Night was smiling like the very act was an additional side effect.

So, you wanna get involved in the future? Santa Fe Skate Night is always looking for volunteers to help with set-up, take down and social media. The group plans to host Full Moon Skate Nights once a month with some Thursday sessions peppered in because they share the outdoor rink (and some people) with the Santa Fe Bike Polo Club. Like Santa Fe Skate Night, the bike polo club also promotes inclusivity and accessibility by encouraging newcomers, regardless of their current skill levels on a bike or with a polo mallet. Both groups host a joint party night in the fall where they take turns on the concrete.

Rivera hopes to build momentum with regular skate sessions, incorporating lessons on basics, skate choreography and dancing. The next Full Moon Skate Night comes on Friday, June 28, so you have some time to get some skates and watch Whip It!, United Skates and Boogie Nights—ahem—I mean Roller Boogie.

Listen Up! Check out the Boom Boom Skate playlist on Spotify, made especially for this story and dedicated to all you roller babes who need some classic disco, funky basslines, and groovy beats to get the wheels turning. From yours truly, Jenny in the red satin pants.

Follow on Instagram for session dates and meetup info: @santafeskatenight, @fullmoonsk8, and @santafe.nm.bikepolo

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.