Rollerski Best Practices

Posted by Jenny Beckman on May 29th 2019

Where to go

If you are just getting started – stick to the two P’s.

  1. Parking Lots.The best spot to gain familiarity with being on rollerskis is an open, flat parking lot. This will give you the opportunity to work on balance, slowing down, and stopping.
  2. Paths.Once you’re feeling comfortable on the skis, find a blacktop bike path. We recommend blacktop paths over sidewalks because rollerski ferrules (pole tips) do not grip concrete sidewalks and the constant bumps make for an unstable ride. If you’re in the Twin Cities, parks like Elm CreekBaker, and Hyland are great options.

Once you’ve mastered the two P’s, take it to the streets! Look for roads with wide shoulders, and/or low speed limits with minimal traffic.

Safety First

Whether you’re a seasoned summer skier or just getting started, there are four “wearables” no rollerskier should be without.

  1. High visibility clothing.Although rollerksiing will undoubtedly make you a faster skier – rollerskis do not move that fast. Make sure you are noticeable to other pedestrians and vehicles!
  2. A Helmet.Why should you make sure your helmet is up to snuff? You only get one brain. Check out the latest Wavecell safety tech from Bontrager – it is pretty amazing.
  3. Gloves. Rollerskiing can be hard on your hands! We carrylight weight options specifically designed for rollerskiing from Swix, Toko and Daehlie.
  4. Water Bottle Belt. We like the Toko insulated drink belt best. It is high-vis, and offers a sizeable pocket that can carry your keys, cell phone, some simple first aid items in case of emergency – and most importantly – snacks.

Which rollerskis are best for me?

It all depends on your training priorities and your budget! Which of the following best describes you?

I want to make the Elite Wave! Models like the Swenor Elite Skate features a composite shaft that reduces the foot numbing road vibrations often associated with aluminum rollerskis. These provide the best “snow feeling” and have exceptionally durable wheels.

I want to go to state! The Swenor Alumium skate rollerski is great first rollerski for high school skiers, and recreational skiers looking to add ski specific training to their offseason. A lowered aluminum monocoque shaft drops the skier’s center of gravity, increasing stability and promoting proper technique while rollerskiing.

I want brakes.If you live in an area with less-than-perfect pavement, or like the idea of adding a brake or speed-reducer to your set-up the V2 Aero 150. It is the most versatile option of all the rollerskis we carry.

I want to kick it old school.We carry three models of classic rollerskis.

Swenor Fiberglass – This ski features the same composite shaft as the Skate Elite. It reduces vibration from the road and also flexes underfoot providing a natural “kick” feeling when the camber is engaged.

Swenor Fin-Step - has a wider wheel. It is very stable and can handle rougher surfaces similar to the V2 Aero 150

What about bindings?

Whether you’re on the NNN train or hanging on to SNS -at Gear West, we always use drillable bindings on rollerskis for the most secure connection possible. 

How do I maintain my rollerskis?

Think about your rollerskis like you would your car, or your bike. They require regular TLC to perform at their best!

If you are training on rollerskis 4 – 5 days a week, we recommend rotating the wheels every season, and replacing the wheels and bearings every two years.

For classic rollerskis, replace the wheels and bearings every two seasons.

This will help with even wear, and allow you to keep the whole rollerski longer.

All too often, we see rollerskis come in looking terrible. 

At this point, you are better off replacing the whole ski. 

 What kind of poles do I use?

You can use the same poles you ski on all winter, however some people chose to dedicate a less-stiff, less-expensive pair of poles specifically for rollerskiing. Why? Because snow is a lot more forgiving than pavement.

We suggest the following:

Race – Swix Quantum 2

The Quantum 2 compares to the "star" pole or CT1 in the old Swix pole lineup. It is made out of 100% high strength carbon, and blended with a new resin for improved durability. If you want a super light pole that does not compromise on strength against pavement, go with the Q2.

Performance – Swix Quantum 4

This pole is the best bang for your buck. The Quantum 4 is made of 100% composite material, and is just as light as the previous “team” or “CT2” for only $89.99. If you are looking for something lighter that won’t break in half, or break the bank we suggest the Q4.

Beginner– Swix Quantum 6

The Quantum 6 is a composite pole with higher resin content that makes it the most durable in the line, without adding too much weight. This was Gear West’s #1 selling pole in 2018, and it had the fewest warranty claims against it for breakage. Just think about that for a minute.

A super important additional item you will need for your poles, are rollerski ferrules (tips).

Most poles (Swix) require a 10mm ferrule, however some require different diameters, for example – Start poles need 9mm ferrules. Be sure to know what your pole needs before purchasing a pair!

Pounding the pavement will cause some serious wear and tear on ferrules, so make sure to keep them sharpened! Diamond Edge craft Sharpener can help make sure you get the most power out of every pole plant.

What if I want someone to help me learn to rollerski? Where can I find lessons?

There are a lot of great places to take lessons, and learn how to rollerski! We have a series of videos on our YouTube channel that you can check out for helpful technique tips if you’re the DIY type. Otherwise we suggest programs provided by organizations like the City of Lakes Loppet FoundationEndurance United, or Minneapolis Ski Club. 

-Posted by Jenny Beckman on May 29th 2019