The danger of roller skiing

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Magnus Johansson
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The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:35 am

A new reminder of how dangerous roller skiing is came this week when Martin Johnsrud Sundby crashed during training, injuring his thigh. He will not be able to train for a couple of weeks. Let us hope Sundby's injury is not as serious as the one Björn Dählie got when roller skiing, an injury that ended his elite career.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Montana » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:00 am

I can attest to these dangers. While descending a hill on my roller skis back in the fall of 1994 the front wheel picked up a rock that wedged between the wheel and the frame. This immediately stopped the wheel and the skis. I took several steps trying to stop my momentum but on the third step I twisted my ankle and broke a bone. Six weeks in a cast and the rest of the winter skiing with pain in my foot.

I also met a guy at Eagle River Nordic in the late 90s who fell on roller skis and broke his femur.
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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sat Aug 12, 2017 12:57 am

Montana wrote:I can attest to these dangers. While descending a hill on my roller skis back in the fall of 1994 the front wheel picked up a rock that wedged between the wheel and the frame. This immediately stopped the wheel and the skis. I took several steps trying to stop my momentum but on the third step I twisted my ankle and broke a bone. Six weeks in a cast and the rest of the winter skiing with pain in my foot.

I also met a guy at Eagle River Nordic in the late 90s who fell on roller skis and broke his femur.

Sad to read that, Ralph. Do you still have those roller skis? If you do, what brand and model are they, and how big is the gap between wheel and fork or shaft where the rock got stuck?

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Neuro » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:05 am

Indeed, there are so many of these stories. I've always wondered why top athletes risk it, especially with no protection gear other than helmet and going on new or unfamiliar roads, and this was a high speed crash so unnecessary risks were definitely taken.

This could easily be the difference between gold and not for Sundby in the olympics. In a way it's almost irresponsible at that level, but I guess the thought of a whole summer on the treadmill is unbearable. Some good rollerski tracks would help, but even here in Oslo there's only Holmenkollen and that's probably the most dangerous track you'll ever find. Last season Niklas Dyrhaug had a high speed spill here costing him the early part of the season (which was a very good season overall, but how good it might have been).

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Pat » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:29 am

Slow wheels and speed reducers seem to be the thing - at least with my skill level... well having survived years as an aviator I still think the standard thought of "There are old aviators, and there are bold aviators, but there are no old, bold aviators...." hope he heals up quick and all my friends on this forum I hope you are all healthy. Enjoy the outdoors!

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:24 am

Neuro wrote:Indeed, there are so many of these stories. I've always wondered why top athletes risk it, especially with no protection gear other than helmet and going on new or unfamiliar roads, and this was a high speed crash so unnecessary risks were definitely taken.

I believe roller skiing on roads or tracks is considered such an effective way of maintaining and improving cross-country skiing ability that it has to be included, but top athletes should of course protect themselves better, and like you and Pat say, don't go so fast on the roller skis using a slower setup.
Last edited by Magnus Johansson on Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:29 am

Pat wrote:(...) and all my friends on this forum I hope you are all healthy. Enjoy the outdoors!

Thank you, Pat. I wish the same to you!

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Montana » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:57 pm

Magnus Johansson wrote:
Sad to read that, Ralph. Do you still have those roller skis? If you do, what brand and model are they, and how big is the gap between wheel and fork or shaft where the rock got stuck?

I sold them the following fall. This was back in 1994. I can't recall the brand name and I've not used roller skis since then.
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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Neuro » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:55 am

Another World Cup skier with medal chances at the Olympics, Didrik Tonseth (Norway), had a nasty spill in Italy now. Concussion and scrapes. Going 50 kph downhill and a gravel road side road had spilled gravel onto the main which stopped Didrik's wheel. He said he was lucky and could have been much worse.

Again, disappointed with the Norwegian coaches who doesn't insist on roads being inspected first. Of course the coaching style here is traditionally very hands off, but the team could have potentially lost an olympic medal because of this.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:46 pm

Neuro wrote:Another World Cup skier with medal chances at the Olympics, Didrik Tonseth (...) Going 50 kph downhill and a gravel road side road had spilled gravel onto the main which stopped Didrik's wheel.

The same type of accident as Ralph's, but this time happening to a back wheel which is rarer since the little stone has to jam the wheel from above.

Neuro wrote:Again, disappointed with the Norwegian coaches who doesn't insist on roads being inspected first.

Yes, the skiers' safety should come first.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby davidb » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:51 pm

Frankly, I think that anyone rollerskiing 50kph, is absolutely nuts, particularly when cross traffic is possible, and is entitled to whatever happens to him, including the injuries that are likely when T boning a truck at 50kph.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby trotro » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:15 am

I'm always surprised how fast people go on rollerskis with zero protection, here the French team in the Bauges

https://youtu.be/qC1HTIGSfPw

I guess it is an adrenaline thing.

Sometimes it works out badly

https://youtu.be/pEbZp9ZekrE

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby JeffOYB » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:25 pm

I have to agree that it seems unduly risky. People say I'm risky when I do slow biking without a helmet, but I understand that risk and know it to be tiny. Fast rollerskiing is a BIG risk!

One should be realistic: rollerskis have design flaws regarding pebbles and control. One should adjust accordingly. ...Inspect the course! Train on a known loop! Avoid big downhills or use reducers.

Is there a solution to the decades of tiny pebbles destroying skiers? ...It would require a flared-bulge portion for the front fork to allow pebbles to pass up and thru. Possibly this would intrude on tilting the ski in skate training? Is that the problem?

Rollerskis are known to also destroy classic technique, except for the lame-ass sport of doublepoling. ...The only solution there that I've found are the ... you got it! ... wonderful CAT SKIS! ...These are totally safe devices that actually IMPROVE technique. Since I mostly do stride-oriented trail-skiing, I haven't had any bad training accidents. (I did have my first ski injury last spring while skiing some, yes, advanced singletrack.)
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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby Magnus Johansson » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:58 pm

JeffOYB wrote:Is there a solution to the decades of tiny pebbles destroying skiers? ...It would require a flared-bulge portion for the front fork to allow pebbles to pass up and thru. Possibly this would intrude on tilting the ski in skate training? Is that the problem?

Many roller skis have very little space between wheels and fork or shaft so the roller skis wouldn't need that much of a flare to reduce the risk. I wonder what brand and model of roller skis Didrik Tönseth used.

JeffOYB wrote:Rollerskis are known to also destroy classic technique

I think that is due to poor skiing technique. The problem has nevertheless been addressed by e.g. German brand Skirol: http://skirol.de/.

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Re: The danger of roller skiing

Postby davidb » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:24 pm

Jeff-
I don't think rollerskiing destroys technique at all. Maybe it requires 5-10 minutes first day on snow to adjust kick, but other than that, technique is usually improved dramatically, due to strength/balance gains.

I've never fallen because a pebble got stuck between the frame and the wheel ( and I've had my share of falls) Usually, just hitting the wrong sized pebble simply stops the wheel and down I go.


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