Is roller skiing for you?

To roller ski or not to roller ski?That is the question. With the end of ski season, the mind begins to ponder how to keep in shape until the next snow fall. For serious skiers, there is no question – roller skiing is an important part of any training plan and a great way to keep in shape during the long off-season.

For those of us who aren’t focused on racing all winter long, the answer is less clear. Here are three questions you might consider before taking the plunge on roller skiing.

Is roller skiing really a thing?

Roller skiing has been around since the 1930s, yet when is the last time you saw someone roller skiing? Like the elusive yeti, roller skiers are rare, at least in Canada. Roller skiing is much more popular in Europe with dedicated tracks in some areas and a World Cup circuit.

 Where can you do it?

In Ottawa, roller skiers are most often found using bike paths and in Gatineau Park. In the summer and fall, portions of the park are closed to motor vehicles at certain times every week. Roller skiers are one of several groups who take advantage of this opportunity to put in some kilometers. Club Skinouk, which is based in Gatineau, also holds a roller ski race in the fall.

Will it help you get ready for next season?

Zipping around on skinny planks with wheels and zooming down hills with limited to no brakes – what’s not to like? Roller skiing can seem a bit scary even for seasoned skiers, but it can benefit your skiing even in its tamest forms.

For example, a double pole workout on flat terrain can be very helpful for building upper body strength for next ski season. One point to keep in mind though is that roller skiing is not always the best way to improve your ski technique and can introduce some glitches to your stride.

Like any sporting activity, a hard workout will lead to sore muscles. However, roller skiing does have a greater potential for pain than skiing on snow. Snow generally is a softer landing than pavement after all.
If you try it, be careful where you ski, make sure you know how to stop, and always wear a helmet. Learn more about the risks and rewards of roller skiing

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