Risking Life and Limb in 'Cannibal Canyon'

Watch a downhill skateboarding high-speed chase through Donner Pass.
Skateboarding through "Cannibal Canyon"
By Josh T. Saunders

Cut through the granite of the Sierra Nevadas so that travelers could reach California from the East, Donner Pass has become widely known as one of the most perilous mountain routes in the world. It wasn’t always called Donner Pass. It was named that after a group of westward-bound pioneers in 1846 who found the trail blocked by snow. They were forced to try and survive the winter in the eastern shadow of the mountains — only half of them did, many of them having eaten the dead for survival.

Louis Pilloni, A.J. Haiby, Jimmy Riha, Micah Green and Jackson Shapiera came from all over the world to make a run through the pass together, and it’s a high-speed chase that seems only slightly less dangerous than spending a winter without food. “While the scenery is beautiful, Donner Pass will eat you alive with the massive cracks trying to toss you off your skateboard,” said Pilloni.

Miles of steep, winding roads lace their way through the mountains, creating a scenic but treacherous path to the west. As they race downhill, traveling a total of 2.4 miles at a top speed of 50 mph, they'll thread their way down an overall elevation change of 2,000+ feet.

Watch: “Cannibal Canyon”

Old Highway 40, the road’s less morbid moniker, has been carved by the local Tahoe skateboarders since the '70s. It started with urethane wheels and small wooden skateboard decks, and has since boomed in popularity and advanced in technology. The activity grew to be a hybrid of three sports — surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding — though the video above shows that it stands in a class of its own.

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