Roller skis for general fitness; skate or classic

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  • #48138

    *I wasn’t sure if this should go in general training or ski mountaineering, feel free to move*

    I don’t XC. I mostly ski backcountry and peaks, which I in-town train for primarily with trail running but I also MTB and road cycle. I have the standard desk-jockey lower-cross syndrome (weak glutes/abs, tight lower back) which I’ve made pretty decent progress on over the past 18 months with the help of a fantastic PT (but doesn’t know much about snow sports).

    However, I’ve struggled to get out on my bike this year with the cooler weather for some reason and have been considering picking up a pair of roller skis for lower-impact days or when I just don’t feel like running (which seems to be the case more and more). Improving general fitness is my primary goal, I’m not training for any races or trips, I just want to spend the next several months improving my base for some local rando and running objectives in spring and summer.

    So the question is: skate or classic roller skis?

    Skate sticks out to me as a good option because (1) it’s a little less sagittal plane than classic (the variety would be welcomed), (2) skating across lakes and flat spots on deproaches is my achilles heal with rando and would benefit from practive, and (3) it just looks more fun. However, I’m concerned the lack of experience may make me fall back into some old/bad movement patterns.

    Classic style has the obvious carryover to rando, and would likely be safer, but also kinda boring.

    Any similar experiences or thoughts?

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #48152

    I think you’ve listed everything to consider. For sport specificity, classic. For what you think is fun, skate.

    Anonymous on #48153


    While roller skiing is great training it is also not easy to learn and is dangerous. Pavement is hard and you can go down just like on bike. There is a high level of skill need to RS properly. There are no brakes and downhills can be frightening. Skating skis offer a bit more control so can be easier to slalom on the downhills to scrub speed. You’ll need good skate boots and RS poles with their special carbide tips.

    I know some Skimo folks who have used RS as beneficial training tool but they were classic skiing. If you are a competent skater in snow then learning to RS will be a lot easier.


    DaveB on #48156

    Great, thanks for the thoughts, Scott and Scott!

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