Roller ski basics: gear, safety, and maintenance

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Roller ski basics: gear, safety, and maintenance

A quick guide to basic roller skiing equipment and safety tips

Roller skiing is an excellent way to cross-train in the off-season while still using your skiing muscles. Here's a basic list on what you need to hit the trails with confidence:


Marwe roller skis

Known for their excellent "snow feel," Marwe roller skis are the skis of choice for the U.S. Cross-Country team, U.S. Biathlon team, and the Canadian biathlon team. They are strong, stable, and reliable, and suited for all ability levels.

Poles with ferrules

You can use your snow poles, but you'll need to swap out the baskets with ferrules, which are designed for use on hard surfaces. Ferrules, like poles, come in different diameters so if you have any questions about fit, swing by or give us a call at 651-645-2443.

Lightweight gloves

We sell roller ski gloves from Toko. You want something on your hands for protection in case you fall.

A helmet

A bike helmet works fine. Consider adding a reflective vest and knee and/or elbow pads to your kit.


Roller skiing Safety Tips:

First, always wear appropriate gear. You should always wear a helmet and gloves. In addition, we recommend knee and elbow padding. When roller skiing on roads, wear a bright, reflective vest to ensure good visibility by any road traffic.

Roller skis differ from inline skating in many ways. Most importantly, roller skis do not have a braking mechanism. Roller ski wheels are generally fairly resistant, unlike inline skates, and thus provide slower glide speeds. However, it is always important to be familiar with the trail/road you will ski on. In particular:
•    Know where the intersections are located
•    Be familiar with any hills
•    Have local knowledge of any sections with large cracks or sand
•    Remember, there is no brake so keep your speed in check


Roller skiing Maintenance:

The Marwe wheels should generally last a number of years, depending on how many K you log on them each season. Here are a few tips:
•    Sharpen your pole tips (ferrules) every time, or every other time, you head out roller skiing. Consider purchasing new pole tips each season. Pole tips are generally inexpensive and a solid, sharp tip makes roller skiing a lot more enjoyable.
•    Use a true roller ski ferrule instead of an old basket tip. Ferrules generally have a heavier, more durable tip. Old basket tips have a tendency to snap off easily.
•    When out roller skiing, swap the skis on your feet at the half-way point of the workout. And at the start of each season, rotate your Marwe wheels from front to back. These tips will help to ensure the wheels wear evenly and last longer.
•    Do not jump with your roller skis (for example, jumping off curb to street). This could weaken or damage the roller ski shaft.
•    Keep your roller skis clean. After roller skiing in the wet/damp conditions, make sure to wipe the roller skis down, spin the wheels and allow to dry in the open.
•    Whenever maintenance requires installing or replacing any hardware, never over tighten or under tighten the nuts — make sure the hardware has been firmly tightened.
•    When it comes time to replace the wheels, replace the full set.