Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Reno was like most cities. The skate scene consisted of street skating or you might have known of someone who had a ramp. Without all of today’s luxuries of communication, new spots were always by word of mouth. We would drive to Gardnerville, Carson City, Fallon, Dayton, and Tahoe to find new spots. The closest indoor park was in Sacramento Ca. The skate scene was so small and tight, most of the time people were cool with you showing up at their house.
I first heard about 293 while I was living in Fallon. All we knew was it was ramps and props under an old building by some rail road tracks by down town Reno. At first there was a roof over the whole space. It was an area where trains were loaded and unloaded. Eventually the roof was tore down leaving only the foundation. People would bring boxes, quarter pipes, bank ramps, and curbs. It was never a bust, and cops were cool with us most of the time. No bikes. No scooters. No rollerbladers. Imagine that. That’s what made it such a special place. It was made by skateboarders, maintained by skateboarders, and regulated by skateboarders. If you were disrespectful or acted like a dick, to put it lightly, you were made to feel unwelcome.
You take a giant slab of cement that had a loading dock style drop, add a rail road track down it, and the rest was a blank canvas of perfection. The cement was smooth and all the obstacles were taken care of by the locals. If you’re a young buck, you’ll here about 293 as long as there’s skating in Reno. For us older cats, it was one of the best scenes at the time. The 90’s and 293 will always be synonymous with progression and good memories. It was Reno’s first real skatepark that never got too stale. It was easy to move a prop to a different spot or build something new. 293 gained notoriety from the Zorlac video Zero Hero with Rob Hostetter and Denny Franchini destroying the place. It also was featured in 411VM on occasions.
Inevitably we would get burnt on being there so much, just like any spot. In retrospect, I’d take 293 over the majority of our local skateparks that have no soul. 293 didn’t cost a penny from the tax payers and it was designed by skaters with modern skateboarding in mind. As far as the D.I.Y. craze that has taken the skate scene in a different direction, 293 was the blueprint. It is sorely missed and will never be replaced. It was a different time and scene in Reno and 293 was an answer to “where can we skate today without being kicked out?”. I often question how much flavor and style was lost with the current skateparks we have at our disposal. The photo below doesn’t show much of 293 at all. There’s a box going down the loading dock with Toby Riley nose blunt sliding it. Greg Janess and Dills are in the background, and Scott Waters is filming Toby. If you skated 293, the photo speaks volumes on a scene long gone. – ERL

Toby Riley. Chris Carnel photo circa 1996.


4 thoughts on “Two.Ninety.Three.

  1. Amber

    Most of the memories I have from when I started skating are from 293. I still have a map Toby drew for me on how to get there for the Mad Circle demo. Nice trip down memory lane Eric 🙂 -amber

  2. JT

    Wonderfully articulated article. I too have dozens of photos and memorable stories from this legendary skate yard. 293 defined the ethos of a time in skateboard history both locally and nationally. It was an era when those who did shred were ostracized or genuinely viewed by some as social outcasts. It was a time when every skateboarder in town knew every other skateboarder in town.

    I remember meeting Eric Lantto & Greg Janess for the first time a bit further down the tracks at 293’s sibling spot 292. Eric in those days was selling product out of the back of his Geo Metro. The beauty of these entrepreneurial skills, in hind sight, was that most of us never had enough money for a bean burrito at tri-state or coffee from G&S, more less a brand new board, wheels, trucks, etc. so slanging decks for $15.00 to us grommets was the difference in having a new shred stick or coming up on a cracked hand me down, which I personally rode plenty of.

    The skateboard scene throughout Reno in the late 80’s and early to mid 90’s will forever be immortalized in my mind. Great blogpost!


  3. Mat Rothwell

    When I was 11 years old in 1990 my parents were somehow foolish enough to allow me to skate into the city from hidden valley to skate. 293 was always the destination if we could get there without getting exhausted. It was perfection. I had to move to Kansas a year later and I never saw another spot anywhere close or skaters half as good. Over the years it’s become this mythic legendary thing in my mind. Now even Topeka has two great skateparks but my heart will always belong to 293. Thank you for writing about it. Being away from Reno so long it’s nice to hear that it affected others as much as it did me.


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