Roller-skiing is one of the best forms of ski training â€” and also one of the most dangerous. Unlike on snow, where a controlled fall can salvage many situations and a skilled skier can stop on a dime, skiing on the road can be unforgiving in the extreme, and bailing out should be used only as a last resort.
But you should not feel as if you are putting your life on the line every time you strap on your rollers. Taking the proper safety precautions and making smart decisions can keep you healthy and happy on your skis.
Having the right equipment, and equipment that is functioning properly is the key to effective roller-skiing.
Skis: Obviously you need these. If you are buying new skis, make sure you think long and hard about ski speed. Get skis that match your ability — too slow and you will be V1ing the downhills, too fast and you will be dreading every change in grade. If you are not a confident roller-skier, skis on the slower side will be safer and more comfortable. The good news is that there are plenty of options on this front. Talk to your local ski shop, WebSkis (purveyors of the renowned Pro-Skis – http://www.webskis.com ), or FinnSisu (distributor of the Finnish Marwes – http://www.finnsisu.com ) for advice on specific models.
If you are using old skis — either your own or someone else’s — be certain to give them a good look-over before heading out. Make sure the wheels spin freely and without grinding or grating noises — a sign that the bearings are going bad. Check to be sure that the bindings are tight and that they function properly. The vibrations of the road can cause screws to work loose and weak bindings to open unexpectedly while skiing. Finally, check the shaft and forks. Look for signs of cracking in the shaft and carefully check areas where parts are screwed together (i.e. where fork meets shaft). Play it safe — if something looks bad, get it checked out, or replace the part. While roller-skis are expensive, replacement parts (other than wheels in most cases) are not overly pricey. It is worth $15 for a new bearing to avoid the rather unpleasant experience of having a wheel seize up.