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Let’s Roll: Zionville Ramp Company Creates a Safe Place for Skating

By Anna Beth Adcock

See ya later, skaters! Building skate ramps and community, Ashley Galleher, now-owner of Zionville Ramp Company, began her love affair with the sport in middle school when a guy in her class caught her attention with his impressive skating chops “for a seventh grader,” as she recalls. 

“And then I started seeking out ways to watch skateboarding,” she says. “I watched the X Games… And I got a skateboard the next year. We had a gravel driveway and my dad was building a garage behind our house, so when he poured the concrete slabs, I would ride the skateboard around on that.” 

However, it wasn’t until Galleher moved out west to Lake Tahoe, California after graduating from Appalachian State University that her interest in skating turned into a lifestyle due to regular access to skate parks and meeting “the right people,” aka a group of friends also interested in the sport.

“Lake Tahoe was where I met the solid skater girl crew that changed everything,” she recalls. “Some of them were from the West Coast and grew up around skateboarding—it’s more part of the mainstream sports world there than it is here in Western NC—and some of us were just starting to get into it.”

Galleher and her friends traveled to skateparks in Sacramento, San Francisco, and the California Bay area (such as Fremont)—finding any excuse to roadtrip in the name of testing their boards out at a new spot. Ashley also liked to test new skating styles — finding features she liked and those she didn’t. During this era of her life, Galleher also discovered ladies’ skate nights—where she made even more friends who shared her hobby.

There was this feeling deep down that I wanted to be back in North Carolina. Looking back, I see how I used my experiences being out West where the [skate] scene was already established to work towards establishing that here.


During her time on the West Coast, Galleher bounced around a few states—Colorado, California, Oregon—and worked at an array of camps doing myriad recreation management jobs and sports programs for over five years before making the move back to the High Country in 2016. 

“There was this feeling deep down that I wanted to be back in North Carolina,” Galleher says. “Looking back, I see how I used my experiences being out West where the [skate] scene was already established to work towards establishing that here.”

After returning home, Galleher continued to work remotely for a nonprofit in California and nabbed a restaurant job. Soon after, she bought a house and began to build a ramp of her own with the help of her friend from the West Coast, James McLeod. The skating aficionado offers the credit to her friend for introducing her to a new side of boarding… building ramps. 

“That [building ramps] blew my mind. I was like, ‘Wait, you can build these in your yard?’” she says. “It was kinda too good to be true—and something I’d dreamed about as a teenager.”

Galleher embraces giving skate lessons. Photo courtesy of Zionville Ramp Co.

And so began the shift in Ashley’s skating hobby— from a passionate pass time to a blossoming career. To start, it took awhile to get the project off the ground due to Galleher’s job and lack of funds for materials. But when the pandemic hit, it gave her the time she’d been craving to shift her attention to skateboarding—and showed her there was a way to make it profitable. While she now has a booming biz—Galleher continues to bartend at night to keep the dream alive.

“When you love something, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep it going,” she says. “And when I gave skateboarding the time—I realized I did love it that much.”  

Galleher built a ramp in her backyard and launched her business as a custom ramp builder in July 2021—eventually expanding Zionville Ramp Co. to encompass skateboarding camps due to high interest from the local community. 

Even though Galleher didn’t initially plan on skate lessons being part of her business model—she embraced the call to share her knowledge and hasn’t looked back since. 

There has been a high interest in skateboarding camps. Photo courtesy of Zionville Ramp Co.

While she has more inspirational stories than she can count from teaching, Galleher points to a 5-year old girl she worked with once who started her skate journey saying “I can’t believe in myself,” and was genuinely surprised when she succeeded. 

“When you teach people you get to watch their confidence build,” she says of coaching prospective skaters. “… People from all walks of life can enjoy it [skateboarding]. It’s so freeing and it’s so different from anything we do in our regular lives—and you’ve never learned it all. It’s really hard and you have to try it so many times before you get it right.”

After selling a few ramps and hosting lessons, events, and programs in her backyard during the first year—Galleher determined the next big move for her skateboarding biz was moving to a new locale. And now, the skating extraordinaire is moving again to an improved, larger location with the capacity to welcome even more novice and experienced skaters alike to roll with community. 

Not everyone is confident enough to just step out and go to a skatepark, because I was that person and I felt confident going to skateparks because I had a group of women cheering me on… and that changed everything.


 “I’m pretty good at building ramps and empowering people… If you want to try something then try it,” she advises. “Not everyone is confident enough to just step out and go to a skatepark, because I was that person and I felt confident going to skateparks because I had a group of women cheering me on… and that changed everything.”

Ashley’s Tips for Learning to Skateboard:

1 - Be prepared to fall — and accept that falling is a big part of skateboarding. It’s a skill you will get better at with time!

2 - Pad up and wear a helmet. Protective gear improves confidence, keeps you skating longer, and makes you stronger! The right people won’t care how you look”.

3 - Some days everything just works and you are really feeling it — other days are the exact opposite. That’s skateboarding! Listen to your body and come back to it tomorrow.

4 - Watch skate films, tutorial videos, and watch other people skate.

5 - Ride your skateboard every chance you get. Whether it's in the parking lot, on the greenway, or a small strip of sidewalk. 
6 - Leave your achievement mindset behind and just have fun. You don’t have to be great at something to enjoy it.

7 - Make sure to stretch!

In February 2022, Galleher began the process of building a ramp in the new warehouse—now transitioning into her new skate space slated to open to the public June 10. The kickflip haven will initially feature 5,000 square feet of skateable space—with 1,500 square feet of offices and what will soon be a lounge area—a tall ceiling, a skate bowl/loft and a flat space for skating newbies to learn without the stress of nailing tricks right off-the-bat. And Galleher is armed with a lineup of stellar skate coaches ready to spread the love—and the technique tips—of boarding. 

And with the help, knowledge, and resources of Mcleod, the new skate space is set to shred the local skate scene. “I’ve never built a bowl before. It’s the hardest thing ever—it’s literally mind bending carpentry and skills that I don’t have,” she says of the skatepark’s prep. “But James came out to teach and learn alongside me… and with his knowledge and my resources we got it done!”

Ashley Galleher can often be found building on her own skills. Photo courtesy of EddyLine Creative. 

Rolling out a plethora of programming, the new park will offer group events (Ladies’ skate nights, Community gatherings, live music, and group classes!). And for those who prefer to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the park will have pingpong tables and corn hole options so all feel welcome to come hang. 

“For so long I was like a caged animal or a racehorse in the gate,” laughs Galleher. “Now that I have this space, I’m going gangbusters—building things and dreaming bigger and bigger. It all starts with small dreams, but if you give them space and time they really do grow and gain momentum.”

Galleher invites everyone to give the sport a try. Photo by EddyLine Creative.

And Galleher isn’t planning to stop the action there. Looking ahead, she plans to add a street course—something that’s big and time consuming, she says—along with a 5-foot tall halfpipe. 

“Adults can forget to have fun—when you’re a kid you’re always having fun, learning and growing. Skateboarding gives adults the opportunity to try something, fall down and get back up.”

Amping up the cool factor, the positive space that skating has exuded for Galleher continues on in her pupils. One of the skate teacher’s favorite aspects of her job is watching her students become the teachers. 

“People end up teaching themselves—kids will start skating on their own and start helping other kids,” she observes. “It’s cool to watch people help each other… And that’s taking ownership of what you’ve learned, when you can convey it to someone else.”

Another appeal of the sport goes beyond the thrill of landing a trick or the social perks. To Galleher, skateboarding goes deeper still. “That feeling of landing a trick and getting it right… it’s an intangible thing,” she says. “When I have a good skate session, I feel like I can do things in other aspects of my life, like I’ve pushed past my limits so I can do it in other areas too.”

Adding: “In life you can either try hard or just cruise and enjoy the feeling of rolling. It’s all what you put into it.”

Ready to board? After its grand opening on June 10, the new park will offer programming from Thursday—Sunday with plans to increase its hours in the future. And ramp up the fun via more information at Zionville Ramp Company’s Instagram @zionvillerampco or the company’s website zionvillerampco.com. Let’s roll!