Located in the south of France, stands the remanence of one of the most unique and bizarre skate spots. Rooler Gab, the only skatepark to have installed a ski lift to transport skaters from top to bottom. The downhill run was 1.2km in length with ten banked turns. Leading down to a 3,000 square meter flat space that was once equipped with mini-spines and small tables.
History of Rooler Gab
Built by Gabriel Leuret a 60 year wine maker, Leuret’s first idea was born during 1988 after he retiring from wine making, and found himself hungry for a new and interesting project. Leuret eventually came up with the idea, after going on a ski trip with his wife, he would build a large downhill skate run, that could be accessed by a ski lift. He was sure the kids would love it.
Leuret took 4 years to build the park from start to finish, within the first year he found the right hillside and then bought a brand-new ski lift, it was eventually opened in September of 1992. From the looks of some of the old promotional material shot of the skatepark it was not just skateboarders that were seen at Rooler Gab, anything on wheels would ride this thing, roller skates, billy carts, it is quite a comical site.
Below is the promotional video and interview of Gabriel. Skip to 1:20 for the video of the skatepark.
Rooler Gab did have some brief success in the months after it opened. French skateboarding magazine Anyway described it as the “ultimate trip”, and B-Side put it on its 1993 spots list. Some French pros skated there for the opening, and US skateboarders Kareem Campbell and Chris Pastras also headed there for a photo shoot.
But the dream was short-lived: by the end of summer 1993, Rooler Gab closed after it failed to generate a profit.
Hats of to Gabriel for undertaking a project of this size, with little to no knowledge about skateboarding. We see him as a type of visionary in one way, with the rise in popularity of downhill skateboarding and also surfskating, opening this up in more recent times could have proved to be successful. Timing was not on his side, as the 90' street skating become more popular, it left little to no interest in downhill skateboarding or a setup like this.
Rooler Gab still exists to this day, the terrain is incredibly rough and the abandoned ski lift is still present heading up the mountain top. There are some films taken from several years ago that show the run being still ridable.