Where to go-
If you are just getting started – stick to the two P’s.
- Parking Lots. The best spot to gain familiarity with being on rollerskis is an open, flat parking lot. This will give you the opportunity to work on balance, slowing down, and stopping.
- Paths. Once you’re feeling comfortable on the skis, find a blacktop bike path. We recommend blacktop paths over sidewalks because rollerski ferrules (pole tips) do not grip concrete sidewalks and the constant bumps make for an unstable ride. If you’re in the Twin Cities, parks like Elm Creek, Baker, and Hyland are great options.
Once you’ve mastered the two P’s, take it to the streets! Look for roads with wide shoulders, and/or low speed limits with minimal traffic.
Whether you’re a seasoned summer skier or just getting started, there are four “wearables” no rollerskier should be without.
- High visibility clothing. Although rollerksiing will undoubtedly make you a faster skier – rollerskis do not move that fast. Make sure you are noticeable to other pedestrians and vehicles!
- A Helmet. Why should you make sure your helmet is up to snuff? You only get one brain. Check out the latest Wavecell safety tech from Bontrager – it is pretty amazing.
Gloves. Rollerskiing can be hard on your hands! We carry light weight options specifically designed for rollerskiing from Toko otherwise a cycling glove is a great alternative.
- Water Bottle Belt. We like the something high-vis, and a sizeable pocket that can carry your keys, cell phone, some simple first aid items in case of emergency – and most importantly – snacks.
How do I maintain my rollerskis?-
Think about your rollerskis like you would your car, or your bike. They require regular TLC to perform at their best!
If you are training on rollerskis 4 – 5 days a week, we recommend rotating the wheels every season, and replacing the wheels and bearings every two years.
For classic rollerskis, replace the wheels and bearings every two seasons.
This will help with even wear, and allow you to keep the whole rollerski longer.
All too often, we see rollerskis come in looking terrible.
At this point, you are better off replacing the whole ski.
What kind of poles do I use?
You can use the same poles you ski on all winter, however some people chose to dedicate a less-stiff, less-expensive pair of poles specifically for rollerskiing. Why? Because snow is a lot more forgiving than pavement.
We suggest the following:
Race – Swix Quantum 2
The Quantum 2 compares to the "star" pole or CT1 in the old Swix pole lineup. It is made out of 100% high strength carbon, and blended with a new resin for improved durability. If you want a super light pole that does not compromise on strength against pavement, go with the Q2.
Performance – Swix Quantum 4
This pole is the best bang for your buck. The Quantum 4 is made of 100% composite material, and is just as light as the previous “team” or “CT2” for only $89.99. If you are looking for something lighter that won’t break in half, or break the bank we suggest the Q4.
Beginner– Swix Quantum 6
The Quantum 6 is a composite pole with higher resin content that makes it the most durable in the line, without adding too much weight. This was Gear West’s #1 selling pole in year over year, and it had the fewest warranty claims against it for breakage. Just think about that for a minute.
A super important additional item you will need for your poles, are rollerski ferrules (tips).
Most poles (Swix) require a 10mm ferrule, however some require different diameters, for example – Start poles need 9mm ferrules. Be sure to know what your pole needs before purchasing a pair!
Pounding the pavement will cause some serious wear and tear on ferrules, so make sure to keep them sharpened!
What if I want someone to help me learn to rollerski? Where can I find lessons?
There are a lot of great places to take lessons, and learn how to rollerski! We have a series of videos on our YouTube channel that you can check out for helpful technique tips if you’re the DIY type. Otherwise we suggest programs provided by organizations from your local ski clubs.
- Jenny Beckman