Don't laugh. I went xcountry skiing last year for the first time. We were on Maine Huts & Trails going between Poplar and Flagstaff and back. We all had on heavy packs, probably 45 lbs or so. I had rented some classic skis. Trails are groomed. I was not at all comfortable in the grooves. I felt like my feet were too close together and I wanted to fall over sideways. Pretty soon I was out of the track and feeling much more comfortable and I said "hey, I can kind of skate." (I really knew zero about cross country skiing.) A few days into it I did much better after dropping the pack. I found I was MUCH more comfortable with a skating motion than the classic.
I decided to buy skis this year and figured I might as well buy skate skis. I bought a Peltonen outfit and had about 3 hours to try it out the other day on a golf course in Deep Creek MD. Geeze. They are skinny, light little buggers. Eventually I got my balance and I discovered:
* I was MUCH faster than my cohort on classics. If we went down hill I can to go first or run him over.
* these things are really lousy trying to herringbone up hill
* mine don't seem to have any brakes
This last part concerns me the most. Even with the classic ones I rented last year I had a heck of a time stopping in the danged things. There are places in these back trails that are windy, twisty and steep. I would snowplow for all that my old body was worth and still wasn't able to control things like I wanted to. Now I'm afraid with these new greased lightening skis I'll simply fly into a tree. I tried calling the Maine Huts & Trails place and several ski shops before I bought skate skis, but nobody at any of these places actually did skate ski, so they couldn't offer any advice.
Questions for your experienced skate skiers: I know I'm a big time newbie...
1) Is it dumb for me to try to cut my teeth on skate skis?
2) Are there some trails, even when groomed nicely, where skate skis just aren't appropriate? That is, if a trail is going to be hilly, twisty and steep in places are they not appropriate, or is that simply a matter of experience and skate skis can go down hill anywhere classic skis can?
3) How does one stop on these danged things??!!!
Russ (47 y.o. male)