By Leandro Lutz
The summer is approaching and with it the roller-ski season for long distance skiers. For those unfamiliar with the sport, we bring you an ‘ABC’ on the equipment and some important tips to better enjoy the ski on the tarmac.
A ski with wheels, or popularly known as a roller-ski, emerged in the Nordic countries as a form of training so that skiers could improve and maintain fitness in the snow-free months by exercising arms, legs, core and improving cardiovascular conditioning.
As in Nordic skiing, roller-skiing is practiced in two techniques: the classic one and the freestyle. It is a very similar sport to cross-country skiing, however it is practiced on the road.
In the classic technique, people use roller-skis with ratchets that do not allow the wheels to turn backwards, allowing a kick backwards simulating the classic stride. Skate roller-skis have larger and narrower wheels, which allow the athlete to do the "V" skating technique.
Besides the roller-skis, what other equipment are needed for the sport practice?
- Bindings: roller-skis use the same bindings as the normal Nordic skis. Skate boots need skate bindings and classic style boots require classic bindings.
- Boots: you can wear the same boots as for skiing, however, due to excessive wear on roller-skiing, many athletes use a second pair of boots specifically for the roller-ski trainings.
- Poles: use the same poles you use for snow, but do not forget to change the snow baskets to roller-ski ferrules, which have a hardened tip for tarmac use.
- Helmet: it is vital to wear a helmet to protect yourself in case of a fall.
- Gloves: wear lightweight gloves, reinforced in critical areas of contact with poles.
- Glasses: Wear glasses (solar or protective), prevents dirt in the eyes or even protects from the pole tips.
Now that you know all the necessary equipment for roller-skiing, you should also know where the best places to practice are:
- To get started, choose a place that is flat, clean and with minimal traffic.
- Steep downhills, stops and poor pavement should be avoided.
- Shared cycle paths, parks and countryside roads are the best places.
Gold tips for your safety:
- See and be seen (wear appropriate reflective gear).
- Respect the traffic.
- Always wear a helmet.
By following these tips, your sporting moments will be much more enjoyable. Enjoy the summer and glide on the asphalt with your roller-skis!