One of the main questions that we get when we post videos is, "how did you find that hill?" and the majority of the time it was found through diligent work on the internet and using some specific websites geared towards hill locating.
The key to remember when finding new hills is to skate them safely, and warm up to them. No hill is worth getting hurt on, and too often we see people pushing their limits before they are familiar with the road. The rule is to: "Skate to Skate again" and we live by that every time we go and skate.
This video shows a hill found using this method of Hill locating.
Now that we have given the essential "mom lecture" on safety, lets dive into what we recommend that you do to find hills.
First- Open up Google Maps, find your home town, and turn on the terrain Feature on the left hand drop down menu.
Once you Turn on the Terrain Feature It will Change the map from this Political Map, showing just roads:
To this Map which will show the roads and some shading to indicate rises and falls in elevation.
In the Second "topographical" map you can see that the terrain is pretty flat, and as you move closer to the water you can see the shading on the map increase which indicates a change in height. Presumably going down to the water. You are going to want to zoom in and move around until you find some decent shading to indicate hills, to go and search out.
Once you have identified the terrain features that you like it is time to start looking for those twisting roads that transverse through the steeper parts of your map. On the map featured we will be talking about the Squiggly road that heads from 41st Ave NE down to Riviera Pl NE.
This road looks fun and turny and is an area that looks like it has lots of elevation change, but we do not know what the hill actually does as far as incline yet, it could just go up and down a couple of times and not be that fun to skate, so before wasting any gas, money, or time, we are going to the second website to verify the incline.
Findhills.com is hands down one of our favorite websites for pre-scouting hills and making sure that they are worth while. Find Hills has an incline map, topographical layout, and a tool allowing you to select the starting and ending locations so that you can identify the slope of your next downhill expedition.
After plugging in the start and ending locations of this road called "Z turns" we can identify that the majority of the road is downhill, the overall length between the 2 points, the steepest part, and the average overall steepness. These are all good things to know, but there are some things that will only be known by setting foot on hill. Pavement Quality, Driveways, Neighbors, blindness of corners, debris on road, and overall safety of a road must be gauged once you arrive at the hill, and will be a big part of the achievable speed, and essential drifting locations. BEFORE YOU SKATE A NEW ROAD YOU SHOULD ALWAYS DRIVE UP AND DOWN THE ROAD TO SEE WHAT YOU WILL BE SKATING INTO. You could end up running into a steel plate, road construction, a downed tree, or a pothole capable of eating your board.
Now that you have seen how "the pros" find hills, go out and find some for yourself.