Roller skiing is an alternative summer activity for cross-country skiers. The sport has its roots in Italy and Northern Europe, beginning around the mid-1930’s. Roller skiing became more popular in the 50’s when an increase in competitive cross-country skiing required more specific summer training. Original roller skis had one wheel in the front and two wheels in the back, but the introduction of the free skate style of cross-country skiing required roller skis to be redesigned. Now roller skis have one wheel on the front and one on the back to accommodate both classic and skate styles.
Roller skis are similar to inline skates but sit on an extended platform and are used on solid surfaces. Good pavement or tarmac, free of obstacles, with shallow grades are ideal for roller skiing. As roller skis do not have brakes, steep grades and rough terrain can lead to a dangerous experience. Although, newly designed calf-activated brakes are beginning to appear.
Roller skis function like traditional cross-country skis, requiring the same upper and lower body mechanics, which simulates the action as its winter cousin. This allows effective off-season training, but roller skiing has also developed into its own sport with competitions being held around the world.
There is a world cup circuit in Europe and that is where roller skiing has gained the most popularity. In North America, roller skiing is typically only found in areas with concentrated collections of ski teams and training facilities. Try roller skiing with another Endurance Unlimited member and expand your endurance sport repertoire.