Rollershop 56, established by Tengis Buyanabdrakh, is situated in the center of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. The city is home to approximately 1.6 million people, accounting for almost half of the country’s total population of 3.5 million. For nearly three years now, rollershop56 has been serving the inline and quad skating communities across Mongolia. Prior to its establishment, Mongolia didn’t have a specialized skate shop for inline skating. This meant to get skates you had to order them from other countries. Due to the limited availability of proper gear, a significant number of young talented skaters often abandoned the sport and transitioned to other activities.
The way rollershop56 started is quite a unique story. “One day, my wife threw away my skates because she thought they looked broken. I was furious and sad because logistics made it very challenging for Mongolians to get decent skates.” My wife suggested I open a shop to supply good skating gear to the community, then funded the idea with her maternity leave pay. That time we were expecting our second son. I just realized my shop is exactly the same age as my second son,” says Tengis.
Related: Inline Skate Shops Worldwide Guide
Rollershop56 offers a wide selection of products.
At rollershop56, you can find a range of complete inline skate options for aggressive, urban, and freestyle skating. They offer brands such as Powerslide, FR, and Razors. Additionally, they stock roller skates from Rio, Impala, Riedell, and Moxi. The shop’s best-selling inline skates are the Powerslide Imperial due to their price and performance, while Rio and Chaya are the top-selling roller skates. Getting products to Mongolia is quite challenging because freight costs are so high. Even so, Tengis does his best to offer quality products and sell them at MSRP. “Thank you to our suppliers for letting a small shop in the middle of nowhere have your products and letting our community have access to them; we would not exist without you,” he noted.
Tengis enjoys both urban and aggressive inline skating.
When Tengis was nine, his father gifted him and his brother a pair of inline skates. Since then, skating has been an integral part of his life. He spent his formative years in Darkhan, Mongolia’s second-largest city, home to around 121,428 residents. Positioned 229 km (142 miles) north of Ulaanbaatar, this industrial city’s heartbeat resonates with ice hockey, solidifying his passion for skating. Even during the bone-chilling winter days, Tengis would squeeze in ice hockey games during school lunch breaks. Starting from his early experiences on the ice, he has grown into a versatile inline skater with a passion for aggressive and urban skating.
Inline Skating in Mongolia
The rollerblading culture in Mongolia found its roots in the late 90s, but it somehow faded into obscurity until the early phases of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the late 90s, MC, one of Mongolia’s most famous rappers and a member of the hip-hop group Lumino, used to be an avid aggressive inline skater. Today there are a fair amount of recreational inline skaters and a handful of aggressive skaters in Mongolia, but generally, it is an activity enjoyed primarily by younger children. Tengis explains that “people see inline skates as disposable items. Something they buy them for their 4-year-old child to skate for maybe 2-3 weeks, then throw them away. But for me, rollerblading is the only activity I do except for my job.”
Apart from a small skatepark close to the shop, humorously referred to as the “worst skate park in the world” by Tengis’ friend Marc Benjamin, there are sadly no other skate parks in Mongolia. With the lack of parks, kids have no option but to skate in the streets. The weather in Mongolia makes skating outdoors challenging due to the short warm summers and long freezing winters. Ulaanbaatar holds the title of being the world’s coldest capital, with winter temperatures plummeting to as low as -36 to -40 °C (-32.8 to -40 °F). This extreme cold forces rollerbladers in Mongolia to take a break from skating and hibernate during those months.
Creating a Community Space
Winter in Ulaanbaatar.
Tengis envisions a future for Roller Shop 56 where he can establish a cozy indoor space for the community to gather, hang out, and skate all year long. His goal is to provide aggressive skate rentals and lessons, allowing people to delve into the world of aggressive skating. This side of the sport is relatively unexplored by most individuals in Mongolia.
Tengis adds, “Our plan for the next year or two is to acquire a larger space to transform into a community hub. Customers will be able to come, hang out, have discussions, buy skates, get their skates fixed, practice skating, enjoy some coffee, and stay updated with blading news, just like the content you create and new video releases. I’m aiming to create more of a concept store that caters to anyone interested in rollerblading/inline skating. I draw inspiration from shops worldwide like Intuition Skate Shop, Loco Skates, 8Roll Skates, Them Skates, Beehive Skate Shop, and others. I’m managing the shop while working a full-time job, which can be quite a challenge, but I enjoy chatting with customers about products and ensuring they have a great skating experience.”
Rollershop56 is located in Olymp Plaza building.
He added that “I want to mention my friend Marc Benjamin, an aggressive skater living in Mongolia. He’s single-handedly spreading the word about aggressive skating and putting effort into expanding our local community. Some of the younger kids we skate with are really impressed when they watch us, and they’re curious about learning tricks like grinding on their skates, so we often teach them how
A big thanks to Jan Welch for the opportunity. I also want to express my gratitude to content creators like Ricardo Lino, Tom Moyse, Brandon Drummond, This Week in Blade, Mushroom Blading, and the Jump Street Podcast. Your work serves as an inspiration to countless skaters across the globe, including those in far-flung places like Mongolia.Tengis