Unless you have the time and money to travel the world at the drop of a hat, then skiing is not a year-round sport (although we do highly suggest some Chile or New Zealand summer slopes at least once in your life). On top of that the muscles you use and the movements required for skiing are very unique and not always the easiest thing in the world to replicate at the gym when you can’t be on the hill.
Lucky for you and me, we can work those same muscles and replicate the same movements that we do on the mountain during the summer months by inline skating. That’s right, I said inline skating. In case you haven’t heard this trope before, check our previous blogs on the topic below:
Skating to Skiing
Inline skating has helped to improve my skiing more than just about anything else, especially in the realm of other sports. I have been skiing since I was 3 years old, and although I started off with a bang, it took me a little time before I started rocking the black diamonds.
I have an older brother and my younger years were spent trying to keep up with him, since he was a couple years ahead of me I had to work a lot harder than he did to ski the same terrain and be able to keep up. This went on for most of my childhood, but my one advantage was that I picked up inline skating and even some roller hockey while I was young and before I knew it, I was inline skating three or four days a week every summer.
Once I started this regimen, my skiing really went to another level. I started going into the ski season in better shape than ever before and really feeling like I never stopped skiing for the season. When I got back on my skis, everything came back so quickly, since my inline skating made it feel like I never really left the sport and I even started noticing that I was better on my first day of the next season than I was on the last day of the previous season. How could that be? Let’s explore the reasons that my skiing improved without me even being on skis.
Cardio and Ease on Your Joints
First and foremost, my inline skating improved my skiing in and of that skating all summer helped me to be in great physical shape overall. Skating is a great cardio exercise, I started out slowly, just like you would when you start running, and as I skated more and more I started going for longer distances.
The big difference between skating and running is that skating is considered a low-impact exercise, meaning that it is a lot easier on your joints. So, after skating longer distances your muscles are sore from working out but your joints are not.
This is huge for skiing because as I am sure you know skiing can be very tough on your knees especially (if this is a problem you have). With skating all summer, I was able to strengthen the same muscles I use when I ski and by building those muscles up it helps to take the strain off of my tendons and joints so I don’t feel nearly as sore after a ski day as I would if I didn’t skate. Also, because of the exercise I do all summer, it takes a lot more to wear me out when I’m on the mountain, I am able to ski longer and take fewer breaks because I just don’t get tired as easily as I would if I didn’t skate.
Another incredibly important aspect of transitioning from skating to skiing is that the movements in inline skating are almost identical to the movements in skiing. This is huge, when I started skating on a regular basis I was able to advance my abilities on skis immensely and in a very short period of time.
It all started on flat ground and I would build up my speed and start to carve on my skates the same way I carve turns on my skis. I got good enough at this that I was able to not only maintain my speed but even create speed just by carving back and forth on my skates. As I got more comfortable I started to take my skating to more hilly terrain.
Going down hills on skates is nearly identical to downhill skiing. I carved turns, both short quick slalom turns and much longer sweeps turns. By doing this I became much more comfortable in any and all terrain. I became so much better in the trees, and I was significantly better on the groomed runs too. I had never been more comfortable on skis as I was after I started skating on a regular basis. All of this came from mimicking the same body posture, weight shifting and rhythm that I use when I ski.
My suggestion? Pick up a pair of inline skates today and get yourself ready for the long dry season the best way you can, by honing in your skiing abilities.
If you want some tips on what particular exercises to do on your brand spanking new inline skates, check out our blog Training with Inline Skates for Ski Season. And welcome the summer with open arms!