Originally printed in Confusion Magazine issue #23
(now with bonus photos)
1998: France just won the soccer world cup. “Great”. While everybody was partying, I was writing my first letter to my local city of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (Savoie, French Alps) to finally get a skatepark. They didn’t listen shit, and instead, built another 100s soccer fields (still empty to this day) and one of the worst modular thing you could ever imagine. Nobody ever skated that piece of suck, because even when we were really desperate, and tired, local gangsters would welcome us there with knives and stones.
Long story short, years later, I went to Basel, to shoot some pictures of the Black Cross Bowl DIY for my skatezine, Versus. I was instantly blown away by this place. I thought skateboarders were just able to build sketchy wooden backyard miniramp, like I did at my parents place a few years before, but a concrete bowl?! That was just unbelievable for me. From this day on, with having the dream of building my own one day in the back of my head, I started travelling the world, searching for more concrete bowls, pools, with a special lust for DIYs.
Finally this day arrived and it was time to make my dream come true: 2017, after some heavy talks with the city, a couple of articles in the local newspapers, and a few visit at the local police station, we, the YCM crew (Yachting Club Mauriennais) & the association Skate and Create, started to build the legal DIY of La Combe-des-Moulins in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. With crowd fundings, help of amazing local companies and many volunteers, we built over 500 m2 in four months.
In 2018, the YCM crew was already more experienced, so we built even more, including a mini version of the Hirschgarten pool, a bowl, and the now famous (thanks to Confusion) Hell’s gate: 3,25m high with over 60cm of vert, all hand stacked (never again !).
Since then, local kids are ripping, many shredders came from all over Europe, and the YCM crew is still fucking keen to build more crazy shit. Hopefully, the city will let us keep on building our little piece of paradise… I mean, we need a fucking loop there right Oli?! Hahaha.
Do I want to say thank you to anybody? Fuck yeah! But sorry I can’t name you all guys, Confusion isn’t big enough. I know you didn’t help us out for the fame anyway, you know who you are. So thanks again to all of you a million times. – Jey