All about Roller Skis
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|What are roller skis?
Roller skis are cross-country skis with wheels. Shorter than normal skis, roller skis are 21 to 35 inches long. They were first developed as summer training devices for cross-country skiers. But now roller skiing is becoming a mainstream activity enjoyed all over the world, even by people who have never skied on snow. We ship roller skis and accessories to every continent except Antarctica -- where they don't need roller skis because they have year-round snow.
Why is roller skiing good for me?
Roller skiing is a great way to get in shape and stay in shape. You can get an excellent full-body workout without having to go to the gym. Roller skiing works both your arms and legs and promotes a high level of fitness. Yet it's a low-impact workout that's less stressful on your body than running. Even if you're unable to run because of injuries, low-impact roller skiing can help you enjoy the "runner's high" and the health benefits of an aerobic workout.
How does it compare to skiing on snow?
Roller skiing is intended to simulate as closely as possible the feel of cross-country skiing on snow.
How does it compare to rollerblading?
Roller skiing is safer than rollerblading. Roller skiing is a lower-speed sport, so it's easier to stop when you need to. Also, you can get a good upper-body workout when you roller ski. Rollerblading works out your legs, but doesn't build up any strength in your arms.
How do skate, classic and combi skis differ?
Most roller skis are optimized for either skate skiing only or classic skiing only. So-called 'combi' or combination models have special wheels that allow dual-technique skiing, so you can switch from skate to classic and back whenever you want. Here are the principal differences:
1. Classic and combi roller skis have a clutch wheel on each ski, to give you something to kick against. Skate skis do not have clutch wheels, so skate skis are simpler, and generally cheaper.
2. Classic roller skiing requires better balance than skating. To improve stability, classic and combi skis will have either three wheels per ski, or else two wide fat wheels. A skate ski typically has two tall, skinny wheels, for a better simulation of skate technique.
3. Classic roller skis have soft rubber wheels. Most skate and combi skis have harder wheels to resist the extra stress of skating.
4. Classic and combi roller skis have a longer wheelbase than skate skis.
Which roller skis should I get?
The best way to find out is to call us at (866) 244-2570 for some expert advice. We'll ask you a few questions about yourself, for example: What are your height, weight and shoe size? Are you a racer or a recreational skier? Do you prefer skate or classic technique? Do you need a stable ski that's easy to balance on? Will you be skiing on smooth pavement, or rough pavement, or unpaved (dirt/gravel) surfaces? Is it flat or hilly? Urban or rural? With the answers to these questions, we can help you select a ski model that fits your style and your budget. Click here for a list of available models.
Do I need safety equipment?
Yes. If you're a beginner, wear the same safety gear that you would wear for rollerblading: a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and full-finger gloves. When you wear safety gear, you can learn to roller ski more quickly and easily because you won't have to worry about what happens if you fall.
What poles are good for roller skiing?
The best roller skiing poles have lightweight aluminum shafts and sharp pointed carbide steel tips. Poles with more flexible shafts and softer metal tips don't work nearly as well.
How do I stop or slow down?
Most of our roller skis can be equipped with optional devices called "speed reducers", and some models are available with an emergency brake. Speed reducers apply pressure to the front wheel of each ski to control your speed on downhills. An emergency brake bears down on the rear wheel of one ski to stop you quickly. Other braking techniques practiced by experienced skiers include a modified form of "snowplow" like on snow; slaloming; and rolling with one ski on the pavement and the other ski in roadside grass.
What bindings do I need?
We'll select the correct bindings to match the boots you'll be skating in.
Choices include Salomon Pilot, Profil and X-Adventure; plus Rottefella NNN-2, NNN-3 and NNN-BC.
Can I roller ski with the boots I already have?
It depends on your boots.
Roller skis clip onto cross-country ski boots that have a metal bar molded into the toe of the boot. The best boots for roller skiing are "skate" and "combi" models from Hartjes, Rossignol, Salomon, Alpina, Fischer, Atomic, Madshus and Sportful, because they have good ankle support. But your XC ski boots will work with roller skis if they have one of these logos stamped into the boot sole:
NNN, NNN-II, NNN-BC, SNS Pilot, SNS Profil, SNS X-Adventure or SNS Back Country.
Click here for photos of Pilot, Profil and NNN boot soles.
Would I be better off getting a new pair of boots?
You need ski boots with good ankle support, or you need strong ankles. If your ankles aren't the strongest, a stiffer pair of boots will improve your performance.
We offer a discount on most boots if you order them with your roller skis. We can advise you which boots to get, based on your shoe size, width, arch shape and budget. We get it right 95% of the time, and if you're one of the other 5%, we offer 30-day exchange/refund privileges on unused boots. Try them on indoors, lace them up, walk around in them indoors on a clean surface. If you don't like the fit, send them back to us for an exchange or refund.
How do I keep my skis in good condition?
Keep them dry. If you go skiing on a wet day, do your best to dry off the rubber wheels and the speed reducers.
Toll-Free (866) 244-2570 ... www.nordicskater.com
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