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Suggested Inline Skates?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I'm looking to get into inline skating for the upcoming Spring/Summer season. I only tried inline once many years ago and have a few questions:

1) Could anyone discuss a few of the leading inline skates that come closes to replicating the feel of alpine skiing?

2) In general, what characteristics do such inline skates have? Is there a FAQ available on this topic?

3) Are there are (decent) inline skates that work on grassy hills and can still simulate downhill/alpine skiing technique?

Thanks for any input,

Ben
post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Benjamin:
Hello all,

I'm looking to get into inline skating for the upcoming Spring/Summer season. I only tried inline once many years ago and have a few questions:

1) Could anyone discuss a few of the leading inline skates that come closes to replicating the feel of alpine skiing?
Ones that come with lessons .... from qualified instructors.... & work on technique to solidify good technique...

As with skiing you can 'teach yourself' to a certain extent - but you will not know what bad habits you are being taught....

Tell the instructor WHY you want to skate - they tend to teach skiers differently if it is for skate to ski... at somepoint you will need to decide if you just wish to learn to skate for skiing or want to learn some skate specific technique.

Quote:
Originally posted by Benjamin:

2) In general, what characteristics do such inline skates have? Is there a FAQ available on this topic?
See a good shop that has qualified instructors - over here such places offer free lessons on purchase & have organised regular skate groups....

Quote:
Originally posted by Benjamin:

3) Are there are (decent) inline skates that work on grassy hills and can still simulate downhill/alpine skiing technique?
I think they are called GRASS SKIS They are VERY similar to skiing & some of the race dept at my local ski resort have family that are champion grass skiers as well as STRONG alpine skiers... Hey - its a flat warm land - they have to do what they can
post #3 of 25
Any inline skate will replicate skiing movements with weight shift, balance etc. Look for a fitness type skate, soft boot, not the tiny wheel, trick skates. K2, Salomon, Bauer all make fine fitness skates. Check skate shops or mega sports outlets. Expect to pay between $100 to $200.
Transfer your orthotics from your ski boots.
There are off-road big wheel skates that you can take down grassy hills, but they are for advanced skaters. Learn on the easy stuff first. A lesson is a VERY good idea.
post #4 of 25
The best inline skate to get would be one that fits your foot best, and has replacement parts available from your local shop. (Specifically, brakes, axles, bearings and wheels, but I've sent frames,boots,liners,bootlace eyelets and sundry other drekh back for warranty replacement) Believe it or not, inline skates are far more likely to wreck your foot than ski boots from the very fact that you spend more time in them. (Look at the navicular bones of most wider-footed speed skaters- it will look like a second ankle).

Now, instructors are certified through the IISA,
http://www.iisa.org/ci/index.htm
but you can get beginner-level turning and stopping clinics from National Skate Patrol (I don't know of a chapter in your area, sorry).

You should be aware that the skating position is actually different in several finesse points than the ski position, and that you will need to re-learn most techniques that deal with 3-D snow.

I have extensively skated the off-road skates you mention, and they are quite, quite different than skis/ski boots, which is one of the reasons (I think) Harald Harb actually went on to develop his model of downhill skate.

The only grass skis I've seen up close were made by an Italian company (Rollka) and are distinguished from skates in that they have a belt going around all the internal wheels in much the same fashion as a caterpillar tread. This is actually a vital difference as it enables the grass-ski to act as a unit instead of 2,3, or 4 points. (Very much misery when a sharp rock traps itself between your 2nd and 3rd wheels and your foot yanks itself backward).

(Edited to say: there are videos specifically intended to show you how to train for downhill using skates, but I would be pretty hesitant to use those without coaching supervision).

Good Luck!

[ March 08, 2004, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: comprex ]
post #5 of 25
Other than the link I posted above, Kathie Fry's website:

http://www.skategrrl.com/

is a good place to start, and Fitness and Speed Skating Times' site:

http://www.fasst.com/

and Barry Publow's site:

http://www.breakawayskate.com/skate/index.shtml

Have article databases with all the really, really obscure junk you've never wanted to know, from how to customise your lacing pattern to optimal hill cadences to metabolic pathway training for 1500m races.
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
The only grass skis I've seen up close were made by an Italian company (Rollka) and are distinguished from skates in that they have a belt going around all the internal wheels in much the same fashion as a caterpillar tread. This is actually a vital difference as it enables the grass-ski to act as a unit instead of 2,3, or 4 points. (Very much misery when a sharp rock traps itself between your 2nd and 3rd wheels and your foot yanks itself backward).
Grass skiing is quite popular in some parts of Europe. The problem mentioned above is a pretty rare occurence on a prepared slope, but I've seen top racers finish a slalom on one ski - spectacular stuff!

Balek and Spinka are now the principal manufacturers in Europe. I have no idea if grass skis are made anywhere in the US, but you could try asking Horst Locher who runs the grass skiing centre at Bryce Resort in Basye, Va. (Contact email on the Bryce Resort website).

Grass skiing is the ideal complement to alpine skiing because of the technical similarities between these two sports. Whether a leisure skier or a competitor, grass skiing can be an excellent method of preparing physically, of perfecting technique, of training for alpine skiing. It is easier to learn grass skiing when already a snow skier, and vice versa as well, for a grass skier will have no difficulty in learning to ski on snow.

With the technical advances in recent years, speeds achieved in slalom races on grass can be in excess of those on snow. GS comes pretty close.



(can't embed the above image for some reason, photo of grass skier in full flow)

There's a lot of information about the sport on my website at www.grasski.org
525x525px-LL-vbattach7.jpg
post #7 of 25
Thanks for those, PG! I was hoping you'd chime in.

Has anyone tried grass telemark?
post #8 of 25
Take a look at Harb Carvers @ http://www.harbskisystems.com/carver.htm
There is plenty of info on them and I think it's the best alpine skiing simulation available so far.
post #9 of 25
IMHO they aren't a patch on grass skis for alpine simulation. On grass you have a ski that mimics the real thing and a skiing surface that resembles snow in many ways - uneven slope, different conditions (wet/dry/soft etc). I cannot see that coasting down a nice smooth tarmacked road comes even close.

A further point... double and wide wheel roller skis, as well as tracked skis, have existed for ages before they were 'reinvented' according to the Harb site.

Quote:
An idea for just such a device came to me just over a year ago while out at dinner with my long time friend Hermann Gollner and my partner Diana.
Over on the http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/ forum, easiski says:
Quote:
"Back in around 1982 we had some wheeled skis called slalom skates which were invented (I believe) by Gustavo Thoeni. They had bindings like snowblades, were about the same length, had 2 wheels fore and 2 wheels aft of a hinge sort of mechanism with a boot platform proud of the ski."
And on grass we have been skiing on wide roller/tracked skis since the 1960s.

post #10 of 25
Where can grass skis be purchased?
post #11 of 25
PG,

I did not mean to say that Carvers are better than grass skis.
I have not tried grass skis and there is no chance that I can do it in Colorado.
So I am not in the position to judge one vs. another.
I wish if we can hear from a person who can share their experiences on trying both grass skis and Carvers.

My point was only to inform people who might be interested in the alternative to inline skates.

I am sure that people who enjoy skiing would enjoy both grass skis and Carvers.
Carvers are easy available for us here and are very close to inline skates (which was the original thread topic) but simulate skiing so much better then inlines.
I wish the grass skis would be available for us here but unfortunately it's not an option.
post #12 of 25
i have tried to find somewhere in the US that produces grass skis. They look like a blast. The only places I have found to purchase them are over seas. Not much of an option. Anyone have any leads?
post #13 of 25
Wow, grass skiing looks awesome! I wonder why it hasn't caught on in America?
post #14 of 25
For US availability of grass skis try contacting Horst Locher who runs the grass skiing at Bryce Resort skischool@bryceresort.com. At Bryce you can try out the sport between June 13th and September 5th. Basye/Mt Jackson area, couple of hours from Washington DC.

Otherwise they can be ordered from Austria where a former world champ Christian Balek manufactures the Speedy Jack grass ski. Christian's a rocket on skis, but not so fast at replying to emails ... this isn't the equivalent of the Head factory, he has a very small team putting skis together and is often off competing so you have to be patient, and send the odd reminder!

His website address is http://www.grasski.com/
post #15 of 25
Well, the first week-end of grass went really well- we had a chance to see a Speedy Jack in action, and the most amazing thing about it was the (relative) silence of it.

PG, do you have any advice on tip pressure for these things? I could finesse the tails out somewhat, but too much forward pressure and I'd go rut-digging. Do you use something more upright or softer than your snow boots?

Is the Speedy Jack about as advanced as these things get? Is there anyone working on a unit with cartridge bearings?
post #16 of 25

Grass Skis

How do you size for the grass skis? I am 5'-6", 150 pounds and race masters skiing....

Thanks for any advice..

David
post #17 of 25
PG, wouldn't you say that tarmack skiing is the summer equivalent of skiing on groomed pistes, and grass skiing is more like free-skiing everywhere?
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nobody
PG, wouldn't you say that tarmack skiing is the summer equivalent of skiing on groomed pistes, and grass skiing is more like free-skiing everywhere?
I don't think you guys realize just how smooth (relatively speaking) the grass slope has to be in order to "ski" on it. Most runs on most mountains would be quite inadequate for grass skiing. Hiking some mountain in the summer will show you that.

So although Nobody's analogy seems to make sense, I would hardly qualify grass skiing as skiing everywhere.
post #19 of 25
That's about right TomB. Most go grass skiing on well prepared slopes - and even then there's no real comparison to tarmack. In Europe at least, many grass skiers spend a lot of time skiing gates, free skiing only on the slopes they will be racing on. Conditions even on a well-prepared course change more or less quickly, as they do on snow after a number of racers have been down the course, so it's not really that similar to tarmack.
post #20 of 25
How does inline skating compare to other off season activities as good form of exercise in preparation for ski season? I do a rotation of modest (i.e. slow) biking, jogging and swimming in the summer months for fitness purposes. I've been curious about trying inline skating (is that any different from roller blading?). I'd particularly like to know from a skier who does both biking and inline skating if skating provides a significantly better workout for skiing related muscles/reflexes/balance? Thanks.
post #21 of 25
Jamesj, that is how I started inline skating.

"Rollerblade" is a trademark of the Prince Corporation.

It has been mentioned before, both here and in the "fitness" forum, you should find an IISA instructor who also understands downhill skiing.

I do not remember if two other points have been made before:

- Focus on skate boot FIT. Too many beginner skaters develop bad habits from having badly fitted gear. They should fit as well as if not better than your ski boots; it is likely you will spend as much time in them. Do not skimp, or buy a badly fitted boot because the frames, wheels or bearings have better-sounding specifications to them.

- Start with ski-oriented instruction right off. There are too many ways for a skater to cheat on skates otherwise.
post #22 of 25

skating benefits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj
How does inline skating compare to other off season activities as good form of exercise in preparation for ski season? I'd particularly like to know from a skier who does both biking and inline skating if skating provides a significantly better workout for skiing related muscles/reflexes/balance? Thanks.
I'm in a similar situation, Jamesj. I took up inline skating this spring in hopes that it would help my skiing. I'm excited for this winter. My feeling is that a lot of the inline skating skills will transfer over to my skiing.

One of the biggests benefit that I expect is improved centering. You *have* to be centered on inline skates. If you get just a little too far fore or aft of that you'll go over. If you have long tails on your skis you could feasibly be sitting in the back seat w/o knowing it.

Inline skating also allows for the opportunity to work on your parallel turns during the off season, turns can be practiced 'alpine' or 'tele' style (depending if the inside or outside foot drops back). This is easiest if you can find a nice downhill section to practice on.

But prbly the biggest benefit I expect is maintaining my comfort w/ the sliding/rolling sensation. I teach skiing and one of the biggest things that I find that people need to learn is to be comfortable w/ standing in one place while the ground slides underneath you. Most people freak when the first slide down a slope on skis. They equate that sliding sensation w/ slipping on a wet/icy floor. It feels bad and triggers a fear response. I expect that inline skating will help to keep me comfortable w/ the sensation of ripping down a big hill. My friends, who skate and ski, confirm this. They say that after 9 months of skating, that first day back on skis will feel like you never stopped.

Another benefit you might experience is the rounding out of your lower body workout. If you examine you're workout routine you'll notice that all of your off season sports involve moving your legs front to back (peddling a bike, lifting your feet while running, kicking your legs during a crawl, etc.) There's not much side to side movement in your legs. Skating will help to balance this out and work out some different muscles.

Garrett
post #23 of 25
Yep to the sliding feeling....

It also works the other way - if I skate as soon as I finish skiing (next week or 2) I skate faster than if there is a big gap.... the sliding sensations are similar enough to be felt as same by my poor addled brain....
post #24 of 25
I started skating a few months ago. It has gotten me through the summer. I think I get much more of a workout from a 15 mile skate than a 15 mile bike ride. It's so easy. I just keep my skate stuff in the car and use them whenever I can. A lot of skiing transferred to skating. When I hit a little hill and slalom down I go into mental ski mode. I can't wait to see how this affects my skiing.
post #25 of 25
I've had had a cronic A frame in my skiing for years. The past couple of seasons, I have pretty much corrected it through good coaching and awareness. I'm sure it is a carry over from skating. Remember when you get back on skis to watch for excessive knee angulation. Skating has a lot of knee action. Skiing is less knee, more leg extension.
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