How Inline Skating Can Help You Ski Better
I think we can all agree that the worst part about skiing is that you can’t do it year-round. Come the end of spring, chances are there won’t even be a lick of snow on the ground, in most places at least. What’s a skier to do? The next best thing: inline skating, or Skate to Ski.
Inline skating is actually a very capable replacement for skiing, about as close as you’re going to get to skiing on dry land. That’s why we’d like to introduce you to Skate to Ski, an initiative launched by Rollerblade, the official supplier of the U.S. Ski Team. Its goal is to get more skiers out on inline skates to help keep them in skiing shape during the off-season. Skate to Ski hopes to inform skiers on the many benefits of inline skating, both as a training tool and a way to stay fit in the off-season.
We are always looking for ways we can improve our skiing (we’ve written before about inline skating as a training method), and that’s why Skis.com fully supports the Skate to Ski movement. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out more content related to the Skate to Ski training method. We think you’ll find that inline skating can have some serious training advantages, and that skiers of all ages, skill levels and sizes would benefit from doing some skating in the off-season.
A recent research study titled The Application of Rollerblade’s in Alpine Skiers Training has found that inline skating is the best form of off-season exercise for skiers. How does inline skating help build your skiing skills? It comes down to three components, as outlined by the study:
Skiing and inline skating share very similar movements that translate to one another. By inline skating, you can mimic the same movements that take place when you ski, acclimating the body to the body posture, weight shifting and rhythm you use when skiing. Especially when it comes to downhill inline skating, the two sports are very similar, aside from the terrain you ride down. The small diameter of inline skates wheels require similar amounts of force and control as you glide downhill. The width of posture, gait and body inclination of alpine skiers compared to inline skaters are highly comparable.
Seeing as the movements of skiing and skating are similar, it should come as no surprise then that both sports use the same muscle groups, more or less. Leg, hip, knee and ankle muscles are all used in unison when skiing, and the same could be said about inline skating. All of these muscles are strengthened and conditioned when skiing or skating, meaning that the more of one you do, the better off you’ll be at the other.
Maybe the most important transferable muscle usage comes from the rotation of the thigh and the load distribution on the inner and outer leg. These are unique movements that utilize muscles in a way not often used. Same can be said for the hip and knee extensors which facilitate load transfer and the ankle muscles which are used to stabilize.
While skiers, on average, will reach higher speeds than inline skaters, getting used to controlling your movements and reacting at speed is another way that inline skating can mimic skiing. Skiers often have to be very attentive and react to changing conditions at a moment’s notice. Inline skating does not have the same intensity as skiing, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some parallels when it comes to reaction time and controlling your body movements, skills that skiers should place a premium on.
In recent years though, changes in inline skates have begun to bridge that speed gap between skiing and skating. The production of inline wheels with a smaller diameter and improved bearings have allowed skaters to improve speed on the asphalt, more closely resembling skiing. Many inline skates out there, such as the Rollerblade Macroblade 90 or the Maxxum 100, are specifically designed as inline skates for skiers, offering more speed and control to skiers in training.
Inline skating is a great off season activity for both hardcore skiers needing to train year-round and casual skiers who just want to stay in shape. Beyond the training similarities, inline skating is also a great cardio workout.
To make it easier for all our skiing friends to get a good off-season workout, you can now find a full range of inline skates on Skis.com for men, women and kids. Not sure which skates to get? Head over to the Inline Skates Buying Guide on our partner site InlineSkates.com.
Only thing left to do is get some skates on your feet and get out there!