America’s Electric Frontier – The Highway to Sustainable Stoke

(Header Image): STOKE Intern, Connor Rutledge (left), and STOKE Co-Founder, Carl Kish (right), using electric Smart Cars to get to the stoke via the international carsharing service, Car2Go. Looking forward to using something bigger than a clown car without range anxiety!


Conflicted Cravings of the Open Road

I remember my childhood days of seeing so many Volkswagen camper vans and other types of converted “adventure mobiles” up and down the coast of Highway 1 stopping at each break scanning for peeling lefts and rights. These vans have become an iconic symbol, not only here in California but across the U.S. and all over the world, as the quintessential “shred-mobile”—especially after the explosion of the #vanlife community on Instagram.

As incredibly lucky as I was to be raised in California, I was also fortunate enough to be partially raised in Colorado near the foothills of Boulder. Now, as aesthetically pleasing as these VW’s were along Highway 1 and 101, they were no match to the terrain or winding roads of the Rocky Mountains. The vans that were capable of mobbing deep into the Rockies in search of powder lines and backcountry bowls were a little bit more rugged, to say the least, but nevertheless, made me crave one as soon as I could get my license. If you are having a hard time imagining an adventure mobile on steroids, have another look.

With all of the images of van-filled coastal highways and snowy mountain roads, it’s easy to get lost in a sort of nostalgic state, which might lead you to start thinking, “I would love to have one of those vans and all the time in the world to adventure around and shred wherever possible.” While we encourage you to get STOKEd on shred-filled road trips, exploring new breaks, peaks, and cultures, one thing to keep in mind however with these types of automobiles is that they suck down fuel and contribute to the problem threatening our lifestyle—climate change. But wait, there’s good news! The future of sustainable surf and snow trips in North America is on its way!

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has just released a map showing plans for EV charging corridors throughout the U.S. (you can read more about the plan to increase America’s EV corridor here) as part of their strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more by 2050. In anticipation of this electric frontier and more affordable EV’s (maybe even an electric VW bus), we have created several interactive maps with EV charging routes and the mindset of surfing, snowboarding, and skiing all over the country without ever filling up at a gas station. While it is nice to look back on the memories of driving up and down the coast in an old van (getting 12mpg), we are excited to look ahead to the future of hitting the open road without having to feel guilty as we fill up along the way. Instead, we’ll be just as stoked to charge our cars as we are to charge those lines!


West Coast Surf Itinerary

For the surf trip along the coast of California and up through Oregon, your best bet would be to stick to these three roads: Highway 1, 101, and Interstate 5. Starting north from San Diego, you would be able to hit the water at many great spots along the way such as Black’s, Trestles, Huntington, and Malibu. Someday, Hwy 1 will be electrified all the way through the Baja Peninsula, but until then, you’ll have to continue north up the coast where you’ll soon find yourself in Santa Barbara at one of their best breaks, Rincon. At Rincon, you’ll be able to take in one of the beautiful California sunsets from long waves that peel right. As you continue to hit all of the mystery spots of the Central Coast, you’ll pass by Morro Bay’s beach breaks and numerous nooks and crannies along the Big Sur coastline. At this point in your trip, you should already have a thicker wetsuit with you, at least a 4mm if you haven’t already, as the water only gets colder from here on north.

Make your way to Streamers Lane in Santa Cruz where you can stop and enjoy this historic surf town (check the surfing museum). If you happen to have the charge (and balls) of a madman and want to test your skills (and your life) you can paddle out at Mavericks if it’s breaking, otherwise, we recommend just watching those brave souls from the comfort of the bluff. If Mavs isn’t doing its thing, continue on to Ocean Beach in San Francisco where the waves are as powerful as the rip currents. After leaving the hustle and bustle of the city, explore to your heart’s content on the rugged Nor Cal and Oregon Coastlines. The entire Highway 101 along Oregon’s coast will be equipped with EV Charging stations so you will have no problem planning on when to take a lunch break to charge up. Once you’ve made it to Seaside, Oregon, you can successfully say that you’ve been able to travel over 1,000 miles along the beautiful west coast and chase waves daily without a drop of fuel. As for whatever adventures you plan on doing back down the coast, well that story is up to you to tell! 

For all the surfers in Hawaii, specifically, Maui and Oahu, the map of the EV charging station routes shows that most of those two islands will be covered. With highways 30, 31, 32, 36, 37, 311, 340, and 360 on Maui and highways 61, 72, 76, 83, 93, 930, H-1, H-2, and H-3 on Oahu having EV charging stations, traveling to your local breaks with zero emissions won’t be poho (“a waste of time”).


Northeast and Great Lakes Surf Itinerary

If you are located in the central or northern United States and you think that your chances of surfing close to home is not an option for you—you’re wrong. The Great Lakes have an abundance of surf breaks all around their shores that pump waves and even barrels depending on the wind swells they receive during storms. Using our trusty EV charging station road map of the future, we can see that you’ll be able to access the south shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario via interstate 43, 80, 90, and 94. These interstates will take you to surf breaks such as Muskegon, New Buffalo, Elbow, Luna Pier, and Lakeside Park Beach to name a few. Make sure you have a wetsuit of at least 6-7mm thickness along with boots, gloves, and a hood.

When the right wind swell hits specific areas of the lake, certain breaks fire off and provide exceptional fresh water waves and tubes. If you need to see it to believe it, take a look at the video below and you’ll see how gnarly surfing the Great Lakes can be in the winter. Check out this region if you’re looking to have an unforgettable experience surfing some fresh water waves!

From Philadelphia, head east until you hit the water at Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey. From here, you’ll be able to head up North, staying primarily on the I-95. You’ll be able to hit Ruggles in New York and continue onwards along Long Island and up to picturesque Montauk, just make sure your car is fully charged up! Depending on the charge your car may be able to hold, Cape Cod is another area you may be able to venture off to, otherwise, continue north along the I-95 all the way up through Maine. You’ll be able to hit numerous breaks along the coast of New Hampshire and Maine, some of which are: Seabrook, Straws Point, Gooch’s Beach and more.


Western Snow Itinerary

Unfortunately, the infrastructure for using public transit to get to your local ski resort is pretty much nonexistent in the U.S. unlike the majority of Europe, so we’ve put together a route which allows you to hit the slopes in six different states for all you powder chasers out there. Starting again in San Diego (STOKE HQ), take your EV charged vehicle north up I-15 until you reach I-40. This will take you to Big Bear Lake where you can ride endless park laps on one of the most popular mountains in Southern California, Bear Mountain. From there, get back onto I-15 and take it through Las Vegas, where you can spend a night in Sin City and/or ride at the Lee Canyon Ski Resort right outside of town, and continue on until I-70 connects with the I-15, just north of Beaver, Utah. From here you have two options: first, you can continue north and head into Salt Lake City, Utah to access 14 ski resorts within 30 minutes. Or, if you have the time to add an extended loop to your adventure, you can take I-70 East and head into the Colorado Rockies where you can hit world-renowned resorts such as Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, and many more just off of I-70 on your way to Denver.

Once you have convinced yourself it is time to keep on adventuring on, charge up and continue north on the I-15 and you’ll pass through Pocatello, Idaho where you can stop and ski, on your way towards Idaho Falls. Kelly Canyon is a big resort in this region and would be a great place to start testing out the Idaho pow pow. Head west along Highway 20 and you’ll have the opportunity to shred at Sun Valley on your way towards Boise, Idaho.

Leaving Idaho on I-84 heading to the Northwest, your next stop will be Mt. Hood in Oregon. From here, you have the option to head into Portland, Oregon before going north on the I-15 again and on into Washington state. If you go all the way towards Seattle, you can charge up and take a few smaller highways northwest of Seattle towards Mt. Olympus, where you will find yourself at our STOKE Benchmarked Resort, Hurricane Ridge!

If you decide not to venture on north from Portland and decide to start making your journey back south towards San Diego, you will come across another one of our benchmarked members, Mt. Ashland. Enjoy craft brews in Ashland and take a break from driving by using the Mt Ashland Ski Hopper bus for FREE! After a day of shredding at Mt. Ashland, continue on south along I-5 and you can ride at Mt. Shasta in Northern California to take in views of this epic volcano. The next and final stops along the way back to San Diego would be to take I-80 east from Sacramento to reach the north side of Lake Tahoe, where you can hit numerous ski resorts around the lake, but don’t forget to stop by and visit our STOKE benchmarked resort, Diamond Peak! Diamond Peak has EV charging stations in the pole position at their parking lot (pictured to the right), or you can take their free shuttle from Incline Village to get around town.


Northeast and Great Lakes Snow Itinerary

If your adventure in the northeast begins near the Washington D.C. area, you’ll be able to hit a range of ski/snowboard resorts along the way up to Maine. There are in fact over 100 ski resorts in the northeast alone, however, many will not be accessible via the future EV charging stations. Based on the EV friendly routes, we’ve constructed your road map to hit some of the top rated overall resorts in the northeastern region of the U.S.

Starting in Washington D.C., you will head north along I-95, this will be your primary interstate along with I-91 as there will be EV charging stations all along the way up north. You will be able to ski in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine at some of their finest mountains. Some of those resorts include Alpine Mountain, Big Boulder, Belleayre, Attitash Mountain and more! Additional roads needed to take note of that you will be using along your winter adventure will include Interstate 87, 90, along with the previously mentioned interstates, 91 and 95. When you finish your trip up, the nearest city will most likely be Portland or Augusta, Maine, where you’re not too far from another STOKE Snow benchmarked ski area, the solar-powered Mt Abram! If you are looking for some rope-tows and endless laps, take I-90 west and hit a number of the ski resorts in Minnesota and Wisconsin just off the interstate!

The fun of traveling on these long road trips chasing waves and lines of fresh powder are memories that everyone holds onto for life. Being able to do such a trip with less of an impact than before as more renewable energy sources make up our national grid is a future we can be stoked on. In the meantime, use public transit, carpool, or use waste vegetable oil, biodiesel, or renewable diesel if your vehicle can take alternative fuels!