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It's SUMMER !!! - What can we do before our first ski lesson this Winter? [- A Beginner Zone thread]

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Skiing is sliding which is very similar to rolling.

 

We are all familiar with rolling in our cars or on a bicycle - but that kind of rolling is done while sitting down. 

 

Rolling or sliding while standing is a whole other challenge because our center of gravity is higher when standing than sitting and there can be an unpleasant kind of "leverage effect" if our feet trip up when we are walking or rolling/sliding while standing up.*

 

I tell people in my first time ski lessons when they want to practice at home for skiing:  "What other sport do you put five foot boards on your feet and walk around and slide on?"

 

Answer:  "Nothing." **

 

So, what can we do during the Summer to make our first ski lesson this Winter be the best?

 

Roller skate.  Do it indoors in a rink in a controlled environment with a uniform surface so there is one less variable to worry about.  Along with renting your skates (four-wheel side-by-side is best to start on rather than rollerblades (which were designed for outdoor rougher surfaces), rent elbow pads and wrist guards (or buy your own - they are cheap - if not available to rent). 

 

A rink also has music so your body/psyche can be energized by the rhythm.  And a rink has other people around so you won't feel alone and vulnerable.  Hopefully there will also be little kids around.  Because if they can do it.  Dang it, you can do it too!  And besides little kids are often very encouraging to cautious adults.  And their joy from moving their bodies in a relatively frictionless environment is, quite frankly, contagious.    

 

So, if you can, look around for a roller rink and try an afternoon skate.  Because here is the deal, you will get used to rolling which is the same as sliding and being able to balance on a short little roller skate will make balancing on a longer snow ski as easy as standing on a "moving sidewalk" at the airport.

 

See you on the slopes!

 

Tim Hodgson

 

 

 

* Don't even get me going about snowboarding.  Just let me say now, that skiing falls, when they occur, are usually more gentle than snowboarding falls. 

 

**  Not really true.  Here's the deal why snow (and even water) skis are long.  When the surface we will be sliding on is soft, we need a longer ski to slide on to avoid sinking into the surface and getting stuck.  But when the surface gets harder, we can use shorter skis.  And when the surface gets harder still, like ice or a hardwood floor in a roller rink, we can use the shortest "ski" yet (when skis get really short they are called "skates").   


Edited by Tim Hodgson - 9/20/16 at 12:53pm
post #2 of 15

What about ice skating?  Isn't that more like skiing than roller skating with 4 wheels?

 

My friend's son was an active ice hockey player when he went skiing the first time (age 6).  Picked up skiing really quickly.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Ditto for ice skating!  If you can do either roller skating or ice skating, you will be ahead of your first time ski class!

 

Roller skates have a little more ankle support (more like ski boots and skis) than ice skates, so for those of us who have weak ankles, roller skating may be a little more comfortable.  Either will work to prepare you for your first ski lesson, so pick what works for you!

post #4 of 15

Reminds me of the time I tried to teach a girl I was dating to ski. Yes big mistake I know, even if I am an instructor. My dad, the veteran at teaching us youngsters sports suggested I get her on rollerblades to get a feel for the sensation of moving without moving your feet. There was a lot of screaming involved. But...

 

 

It worked! She had almost no sporting ability whatsoever, but she was able to successfully slide down a green run without crashing too much. She had so much fun that she went out and bought all new gear as soon as we got back from our ski trip.

 

 

What's the point of the story? That even 30 minutes of rolling along a flat sidewalk can make a world of difference on your first ever time on skis. 

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

What about ice skating?  Isn't that more like skiing than roller skating with 4 wheels?

 

My friend's son was an active ice hockey player when he went skiing the first time (age 6).  Picked up skiing really quickly.

I'd recommend ice skating as a closer analog to skiing as well. It has all the benefits of roller skating that have been mentioned, but ice skating also introduces the idea of tipping your blade on edge to get grip, and flattening it to let it slip. That's a crucial element of skiing that just doesn't translate on roller skates. 

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

What about ice skating?  Isn't that more like skiing than roller skating with 4 wheels?

 

My friend's son was an active ice hockey player when he went skiing the first time (age 6).  Picked up skiing really quickly.

I'd recommend ice skating as a closer analog to skiing as well. It has all the benefits of roller skating that have been mentioned, but ice skating also introduces the idea of tipping your blade on edge to get grip, and flattening it to let it slip. That's a crucial element of skiing that just doesn't translate on roller skates. 


Is there much difference between figure skates and hockey skates?  I've only used figure skates.  My friend's son only used hockey skates.  Needless to say, skating with skis or doing a hockey stop were completely natural for him.  I remember watching him skate up the training slope faster than other kids could ride the short magic carpet.  That was on his first day on skis, which of course were pretty short for his height as a first-time skier.

 

For another friend's daughter, we took her ice skating for the first time a few weeks before her first ski trip.  She was six.  Picked up skating fast enough, but was clearly very stubborn about figuring it out her own way.  It took a couple days of ski school before she started "getting it."

post #7 of 15

One of the benefits of using ice skating/hockey/roller skating/roller blading as cross training/learning for skiing is that it provides immediate feedback when you get in the back seat- while longer skis let you (somewhat) get away with being in the back seat, shorter skates do not. For this reason, some might struggle more with skating than skiing, but for those that are able to pick up skating, their stance/balance/COM is likely to be much more centered which allows them to progress more quickly as skiers.

 

While there are are a number of drills to help get skiers out of the back seat, I have often times recommended skating to chronic back seat skiers who are serious about improving.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Is there much difference between figure skates and hockey skates?  I've only used figure skates.  My friend's son only used hockey skates.  Needless to say, skating with skis or doing a hockey stop were completely natural for him.  I remember watching him skate up the training slope faster than other kids could ride the short magic carpet.  That was on his first day on skis, which of course were pretty short for his height as a first-time skier.

 

For another friend's daughter, we took her ice skating for the first time a few weeks before her first ski trip.  She was six.  Picked up skating fast enough, but was clearly very stubborn about figuring it out her own way.  It took a couple days of ski school before she started "getting it."

 

 

I think of it this way.  Figure skates are closer to carving skis and hockey skates are closer to All Mountain skis.

 

 

The toe pick in the front takes some getting used to, but doing that helps to keep you more centered and not levering on the front of the skis.

 

The other huge thing about skating is that you have to use the outside edge of the skate, it gets you used to getting out and over the center/outside of the the ski at transition - including hip movement.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Is there much difference between figure skates and hockey skates?  

 

 

I think of it this way.  Figure skates are closer to carving skis and hockey skates are closer to All Mountain skis.

 

 

The toe pick in the front takes some getting used to, but doing that helps to keep you more centered and not levering on the front of the skis.

 

The other huge thing about skating is that you have to use the outside edge of the skate, it gets you used to getting out and over the center/outside of the the ski at transition - including hip movement.

So, since a beginner who rents gear is more likely to end up on narrower skis (70-80mm), does it make sense to suggest figure skates for someone who has never skated or skied?  Figure skates are shorter than hockey skates, right?

 

As an example, my "carving" skis that I use in the Mid-Atlantic or northeast are 78mm underfoot.  My "all-mountain" skis that I take on trips out west are 88mm underfoot.

post #10 of 15

Well it depends upon who you ask.  I was told by numerous people (excellent skier friend and skating coaches) to start with Figure Skates that they were easier.

 

Pretty much everyone else on epic and elsewhere said, "no start with hockey skates" because that's what they do and they don't like figure skates.

 

Hockey skates have more rocker than figure skates.  The blades curve up front and rear.  Figure skates have a longer contact point with the ice.  They do however have those toe picks in the front that hockey skaters hate.  If you tip the foot forward at all it catches the toe pick.

 

I really didn't have that problem, I started on Figure Skates.

 

To me the figure skates also were tighter around my ankle than the hockey skates I tried out which I liked, although they are soft, not like ski boots.

 

To answer your question I don't think they're shorter, probably longer.

post #11 of 15

Sounds like either type of ice skates is helpful if the goal is to get a headstart on learning to ski.  Definitely seems that ice skating requires decent 1-leg balance.  So I suppose roller blades would be helpful too.

 

One of the easiest exercises I do all year long is for 1-leg balance.  Pretty much think about it any time I'm waiting around.  What are other ways to improve balance as it relates to skiing?

 

 

post #12 of 15

Getting comfortable on rollerblades, ice skates, or roller skates does help a good deal for never-ever skiers.  You don't have to get particularly good at it, but feeling comfortable standing on the skates and moving around a bit will help a great deal if you have never skied before. 

 

I first learned to ski at about age 14.  I was very excited about it and wanted to learn quickly.  I heard that rollerskating would help, so I started practicing on them.  In lessons I progressed rapidly compared to my siblings (one 13, one 16) who did not practice skating or share similar interest in skiing.

 

I have not done much roller skating after the first few years of skiing.  I am not sure how much crossover there is between the two once you progress to intermediate/advanced ability level.  I have considered getting back on skates, but there aren't any dedicated trails near me.  I found skating on neighborhood streets to be somewhat treacherous... pebbles and cracks in the pavement were hard for me to deal with.

post #13 of 15
I inline skate during the offseason and would also highly recommend it for beginning skiers to get comfortable with dynamic balance. Personally I would recommend blades over skates because of the abiliy to reproduce edging movements. You can also rocker the wheels of blades to get the same feel as ice skates.

Once comfortable at indoor rinks, I would also recommend you venture outside and start skating on more variable terrain. Curbs, cracks, gravel, pavement, corners, driveways and ramps all help to refine your ability to slide in control. The adventurous can even try some of the features in skateparks. I love to carve the ramps and bowls on my skates as it is the closest activity I can find that replicates the balance challenges of skiing. Surprise yourself.
post #14 of 15

What is better for training for ski balance - rollerblades or rollerskates?

 

Inspired by this thread, I went to a rollercade and played on some rollerskates last weekend.  I found I could skate on one foot and lean a bit either direction to make the skate turn - similar to pressuring a ski.  I guess the base of the skate is somewhat like a skateboard.  Can you do this on rollerblades?  It's been a long time since I was on rollerblades.  I think the Harb Carvers are based more on rollerskates than rollerblades?

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

TexSkier you get the prize !!!  Yes, believe it or not traditional four-wheel skates have trucks (which were adapted in the 60's to "skate" boards) and, thus, turn tighter and respond more to tipping to the inside to turn than four wheel in-line Rollerblades.  In the Friday Night Skate in San Francisco, the women (and men) in gold lame capes who skate danced were all on traditional skates for their tight turns and spins.  The drunken dance in the Triangle Lounge or DV8 or taking the multistory parking structure elevator up and being chased by the security guards down the ramps girls and guys like me were all on Rollerblades because they will roll over everything outdoors.  So, best for quick escape.* 

 

Brother David Miles who would play funkadelic organ in the Palace of Fine Arts while we got whirled 150- 200 skaters hand-to-hand doing "Crack the Whip":

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although some skaters gave us all a bad name by rappelling down the sides of multistory parking garages on Rollerblades.  What intolerance!  Go figure... 

 

*  And two friends spent a night in jail and had their Rollerblades confiscated for jumping the West Side Capitol steps (three to a landing to four to the frontwalk) after the CHP young bucks took over guarding the California Capitol building.  (Who would a thunk that the cops can run diagonally across the lawn while we skaters are stuck to the pavement?) 


Edited by Tim Hodgson - 9/30/16 at 8:56am
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › It's SUMMER !!! - What can we do before our first ski lesson this Winter? [- A Beginner Zone thread]