Struggling to Keep Skis Straight While Striding

Q: Are there any technique tricks that I should try to facilitate striding?

A: I always find that starting with dry-land drills to gain balance on flat ground is easiest when trying to learn how to stride. It sounds like what you are describing with your skis tracking all over the place is there is a failure to complete shift weight from one ski to the other. When we don’t shift our weight from side to side and can not control this transfer of weight, we have incomplete weight on one ski or the other which causes instability in those striding skis.

By building balance and coordination on dry-land first, we can develop stability in our ankles and proper movement patterns to hopefully transfer over to skis.

You’ll find several striding drills in the CXC Academy video library that can help with developing good striding mechanics. These drills don’t have to take up an entire workout but beginning a session with 15 – 20 minutes of drill work can help you build correct patterns to take in to the rest of your workout.

Bungee Work – Stable Balance

Improving Glide On a Classic Ski

Shuffle to Full Glide Drill

Diagonal Stride Basics with Nina Gavrilyuk

 

Hope this helps and good luck with training going forward.

Andy Keller, CXC Academy Coach

Does Roller Skiing Damage the Surface of Modern Tracks?

It’s not unheard to use a track to ski on. There is even an instance where the top 2 skiers in the world did a mile race during a pro track race in Europe.

That being said, a couple things to consider:

A rubber track may be a little difficult for glide, as it may be like skiing on a chip sealed road that is a little soft. I’ve done it before but definitely less glide then a road.

A mondo track, like the one in the video, is going to be smoother, still a little soft, but will provide a surface that is good for practice. It may however show pole marks a little more then a rubber track, so doing no poles (or using Nordic walking pole tips) may be better in that instance.

In my experience, using empty flat parking lots and dead end roads are the best options for beginner skiers that may not be ready for the open road.

by Andy Keller (CXC Team Head Coach)

Ways To Stop On Rollerskis

By: CXC Team Member, Alice Flanders 

Rollerskiing on the bike trails around the Minneapolis area, you get a lot of comments and weird looks. Everything from “Birkie Birkie Birkie!” to “Holy Crap arm strength,” if there’s an exclamation about seeing someone doing something odd, it’s probably been said to a rollerskier on the Greenway. One of the most common questions I’ve encountered when people find out that I rollerski is,

“How do you stop on those things?”

This is a great question, one with a lot of really bad answers. Just as with anything that requires a quick decrease in speed, there are good ways and not so good ways to come to a standstill.

The following is a list of ways to stop on rollerskis, some of them good and some of them awfully painful.

10 Ways to Stop on Rollerskis

Superman

Also known as “face-plant” or “eating the pavement,” this technique is best known for the momentary “OH CRAP!” weightless feeling quickly followed by getting the wind knocked out of you. Causes often include cracks in the pavement, railroad tracks and appropriately sized pebbles.

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The Butt Scoot

This technique is common on snow but is much more effective at stopping you on pavement. When you get going too fast and don’t know how to stop, just sit down and eventually you’ll glide to a halt. Unfortunately pavement is not nearly as forgiving as freshly fallen snow and often contains small pebbles that are painful to remove. The Butt Scoot is not a recommended method of stopping on rollerskis.

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Sliding into Home

And Lucca nearly knocks it out of the park! The right fielder throws it to third for the out, but Hedblom is just too fast. Hedblom is sprinting for home plate. The third baseman throws the ball to the catcher. It’s going to be a close one folks! Hedblom sticks her foot out and slides into home, SAFE!”

There’s a reason we don’t play baseball on rollerskis. Similar to the butt scoot, characteristic results of this technique include road rash on the hip and outer leg, scuffed ski boots and ripped shorts.

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The Black Stuff

Beware of The Black Stuff, especially on hot days. This is the goo they squirt into cracks in the road. The hotter it gets, the more it likes to grab the wheels of unsuspecting rollerskiers. The faster you’re going the more it likes to reach up and give you a surprise crash landing.

Rolling Stop 

The rolling stop is one of the better stopping techniques. It requires having a good feel for the speed of the rollerskis, enough room ahead of you (or an uphill), and a back-up plan in case your speed calculations are wrong. When done correctly, you will slowly and gracefully come to a stop at exactly the right time and everyone will be impressed.

Stop Drop and Roll

This is a planned fall method for the dramatic flair in us all. It is a good back-up plan when rollerskiing next to a grassy curb. To employ this method, aim for the softest patch of grass and like a paratrooper hit the ground with a solid roll. As always it is important to make sure your helmet is properly fitted and adjusted.

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Grassy Knoll

Possibly one of the best and least technical methods, the Grassy Knoll allows the skier to control their speed and come to a stop without hitting the ground. For the Grassy Knoll, the rollerskier shall first stagger their feet and shift most of their weight to the back leg. The skier shall then aim for the grass alongside the trail and gently roll onto the grass while staying upright. Sometimes ski poles can be used to assist in balancing. Be wary of long grass, hidden rocks and sticks. If done incorrectly this can easily be adapted into a version of the Stop Drop and Roll.

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Urban Tree Hugger

When coming into an intersection a little fast, the Urban Tree Hugger is your best option. Aim for a light post or crosswalk post, catch it with one arm and redirect your forward inertia into the stationary light post. Be careful not to hurt your arm and make sure the light post/ crosswalk post is strong enough for the collision prior to using this method.

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“Snowplow”

Similar to how you snowplow in the winter, this is the most common way to slow yourself down on rollerskis. In order for this method to be successful, it is important to make sure your wheels do not touch (don’t cross your tips!).  To do this, push outward on each ski. This will force them to stay separated. You will stop due to the friction between the pavement and the rubber wheel as the wheel slides sideways across the road. This technique does take some practice to perfect.

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Water Landing

Water hurts a lot less than pavement. Summer days get hot. Sometimes it pays off to aim for the lake.

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Lets enjoy what pieces of summer we have left. Train hard, go fast, and don’t fall down.

It won’t be long until the snow comes!

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Should I start rollerskiing this spring or wait until summer of fall?

For recreational racers that just completed skiing take a month off without any form of skiing and then start ramping it up through the spring going once a week. Increase frequency in later summer and fall to 2, 3 and 4 times a week if possible. Unless you can get on-snow rollerskiing is the most ski specific training you can do. If you are new to roller skiing start in a flat, empty parking lot. Always wear a helmet.

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– SkiPost.com

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An Outline of Nordic Training Modes

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Skiing and Rollerskiing
Used for:
– endurance, intensity, speed, recovery, racing.
– strength (no poles skating, double-pole and single pole only sessions)

Running and Cycling
Used for:
– endurance, intensity, recovery, racing

Bounding
Used for:
– intensity, speed, strength

How: Bounding can be done with or without poles. The motion should closely imitate classical skiing. To focus on strength and explosiveness do shorter intervals focusing on getting maximum distance with each bound. For intervals try to use the explosiveness, rhythm and intensity that imitates ski racing.

Ski Walking
Used for:
– intensity, endurance, strength

How: Ski walking can be done with poles, but is generally done without them. It should closely imitate classical skiing. It can be incorporated into running endurance sessions on steep and/or long uphills and be used for intervals on uphills. Poles should be about 2 inches shorter than poles used for classical skiing on snow.

Spenst (dynamic ski specific plyometric exercises)
Used for:
– developing explosive power and strength

How: The focus is on getting maximum distance on each of 10 to 15 hops. Do sets of 10 to 15 hops and take full recovery (2-3 mins) between sets. Skating spenst can be done by hopping from side to side in one place, or jumping sideways up a steep hill. Classical spenst can be done by hopping on one leg at a time up a steep hill, or by bounding with both legs up a steep hill. Be imaginative, and warm up and down very, very well.

Weights
Used for:
– developing overall maximum-strength and muscular balance

How: use a wide variety of lifts that cover all major muscle groups.

Circuit
Used for:
– developing overall strength-endurance and muscular balance

How: set up a circuit of exercises that alternate stomach, back, legs, arms. Spend half a minute to a minute and a half at each station and move from one station to the next without stopping.

– Andy at SkiPost.com

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Keeping Rollerski Tips Sharp

To keep the tips sharp it is best to just wet stone them for 1 minute after each use. If they are really dull then you can use a wheel but have a bucket of water next to it to cool the tip every few seconds to keep it cool so the glue and plastic does not soften and the tip come out of the basket or ferrule. Use the same length poles for roller skiing as snow skiing.

from the SkiPost readers:

… those tips are silicon carbide, so the best thing to sharpen them with would be a diamond file or diamond wheel. Regular grinding wheels are also made of silicon carbide, which would be the same hardness as the tip, so using a standard wheel could be frustrating….

– SkiPost.com

Balance vs. Speed Issue while Rollerskiing

Q: I’ve noticed that on roller skis or snow skis there is a velocity where I definitely feel uncomfortable gliding and I can feel myself checking my speed. I can see where this might be useful on roller skis (hitting pavement sucks!), however, I have no fear of downhills (on snow) and relish going as fast as possible. It’s the commitment to standing on one leg at speed where there is a problem.

I always do my interval workouts up an incline or hill because if I do them on the flat I feel like my skis are getting ahead of me and I’m unstable.
 
I am wondering if my rollerskiing is getting in the way of going fast on skis and how I might work with what I have to get faster?

A: It’s difficult to know what the issue is without actually seeing you, so we’ll give you a couple of ideas based on some common difficulties.

First, is it possible that your rollerskis have wheels which are too fast, or are out of alignment? It’s definitely hard to be comfortable if you’re on blazing fast rollerskis. We saw that when Jennie Bender and Brian Gregg hopped on some really, really, really fast inline skate wheels and bearings right before the North Shore Rollerski Marathon. Both of them are pretty experienced at going fast, but there was bit of a learning curve of how to deal with gradual downhills feeling like 10% grades. It’s also hard to feeling copacetic when your left foot is conspiring with your right to throw you into traffic and ditches.

If it’s a balance issue, it may be worthwhile to work with no poles a fair amount, with an emphasis on balancing (read: gliding) for a long time on each ski. Another option is to challenge your balance for 5-15 minutes/session with “V4” — a V2/balance drill where you pole twice on each side of a V2 (once while balanced on one leg, then poling to the other side like a normal V2). It’s definitely worthwhile to spend a short period of time at the beginning of workouts on drills that help you ski technically better — 1:30 in your planned heart rate is fine, but 1:20 in the right zone and :10 figuring out how to ski more efficiently is better.

Another drill that we have used working on agility/comfort on rollerskis is a short agility session — skiing figure-eights, slaloms, small circles, etc. You often find yourself getting into somewhat sketchy body positions doing these while going relatively slowly — so if/when you find yourself getting into those positions going relatively quickly, at least you have an idea of what to do to save yourself.

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