Rollerskiing Tips and Tricks from the Pros

The summer season is upon us and that means it’s time to hit the pavement. Cross country skiers are fortunate to have a form of warm weather training that’s so similar to the real thing, with rollerskiing building plenty of cardio, endurance and specific strength capacity for the coming winter. But rollerskiing, admittedly, can be rather tricky to master, so we decided to ask Kikkan Randall and Sadie Maubet Bjornsen for some tips to keep you safe, productive and having fun.

Kikkan Randall’s thoughts on safety and technique

 ●       Try your best to know your route before heading out. Pick terrain that can be skied safely, know the downhills especially and make sure there are good run outs (and no T-intersections). Watch out for cattle grates if you’re out west!

 ●       If you find a good climbing section that’s not so skiable to come back down, have a friend or a parent pick you up on top or stash a bike or car.

 ●       Always wear bright clothing! Cars need to be able to see you. Fischer yellow works best :)

 ●       Check your equipment before heading out. Bolts do come loose, bearings can get gritty over time and fenders can act like unintended brakes if they come loose and touch your wheel. Also check your shafts occasionally for weak points.

 ●       Sharp tips are an important part of a quality workout. Maintain the points with a good sharpener.

 ●       Finding a smooth section of pavement with consistent mail boxes along the route or light poles are great markers for a speed session. Try extending the length of each sprint by a light pole or mailbox and try to hold the same time over each section.

 ●       Always wear a helmet!

Sadie Maubet Bjornsen on route finding and efficiency

●       Sharp tips! Literally, not having your tips slide is the single greatest solution to enjoying your rollerski and not getting elbow tendonitis. Investing in a diamond stone sharpener is well worth it.

 ●       Paths are your friend. I prefer to ski on bike paths as opposed to the roads as much as I can. Decreasing the traffic threat makes it more enjoyable, and safer.

 ●       Always wear bright clothing. It is hard to believe how much you camouflage without it! I always wear a bright shirt and a bright helmet.

 ●       Try to maintain proper low body position. While rollerskiing can be intimidating, especially with pebbles all over the ground, I find that keeping a lower body position allows me to react to the terrain, and the potential trip ups a little better. This works with both skate and classic technique.

 ●       Ski like you would ski on snow. With classic rollerskiing in particular, it is easy to rely on your wheel ratchet for kick, and pick up bad habits. When I find myself skiing poorly, I try to think about a few small cues. Firstly, glide. When I am skiing well in the winter, I am making time to glide on my skis. I try to search for the same glide on rollerskis. Secondly, keeping some "drop." The up and down motion I make on skis to set my wax pocket down can easily be replicated on rollerskis if you use a little visualization. Try to pretend you are unsure if you will get your kick. This change in cue ensures that I keep my winter technique all the way through the summer season.

Safety first:

Check out more information about the Fischer rollerski break.