Novice Starter Questions

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dcpattie
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Novice Starter Questions

Postby dcpattie » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:58 am

First post from a complete novice. I'm interested in starting to rollerski and have some basic preliminary questions for the community. I understand that learning to nordic ski is best done on snow and then transition those skills to roller skiing. However, my reality is that I live in Northern Virginia where the nordic options are nonexistent unless you drive about 3-hrs. I do have an athletic background and I'm accustomed to 15-hr training weeks. I also have been dappling with the Concept 2 Skierg since December (I purchased the new 2014 version). Enough about me, on to the questions:

Equipment: As a complete novice, should I purchase Skikes (V8 lift) or roller skis? Considerations - I'm interested in both classic and skate skiing but would like to focus on classic and double poling at first. I have a nice asphalt bike path near my home where I could perform the majority of training but would likely do longer weekend sessions on the C&O canal (a hard packed dirt trail). I think as a novice I'd like to have brakes - speed reducers might be a nice option as well.

Lessons: Anyone know of a club or instructor near Washington DC that teaches roller skiing technique and principles? As an alternative, I would be willing to travel along the east coast and would even be willing to enroll in a weekend camp for adults if such a program exists.

Dave in VA
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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby skiffrace » Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:41 pm

Hi Dave,
I am in a somewhat similar situation to yours. I also have an athletic background (rowing) and even did some XC skiing long time ago.
However, I live in Portland, OR, where snow is once-in a blue moon occurrence, and while mountains are not that far off, I refuse burning fossil fuels for 2 hours to satisfy my hobby, even on weekends.
I recently bought Jenex V2 Aero 150 rollerskis to be used on some paved trails near my home, as well as occasional excursion on some dirt.

Here are my observations after using the for about a month, 2 or 3 times per week.

-Even though they come with inflatable tires and are advertised as "off-road capable", their off-road ability is mostly fiction (or marketing schtick)
Yes, you can venture on dirt, but your progress will be slow, unsteady and dangerous. The problem is that the tiny wheels don't ride over obstacles the way, say, mountain bike tires do, but instead get constantly hampered and stuck in them.
However, they work splendidly on pavement, even rough and uneven one.
I keep the tires at 30 to 40 psi, and the ride is smooth and predictable.

-I ordered my rollerskis with the speed reducers. They are useless for braking, but work splendidly at reducing speed. With the wheels spinning freely, even a newby like myself can easily go 9 or 10mph on flat ground. For someone with only a rudimentary technique, that is dangerously fast, and falling on hard pavement hurts a lot. Also, the resistance is quite low - you are moving fast but not working too hard.
Speed reducers to the rescue. With them applied, my speed drops to say, ~6mph, and I get a terrific workout (160 to 170 bpm)
Double-poling works very well, but it's almost too hard when the speed reducers are applied.

-Braking is the missing link. The brakes sold by V2 are awkward to use and mostly useless. There are some after-market brakes, but their effectiveness is dubious, and they don't even fit my rollerskis. The bottom line - rollerkis on flat ground only, unless your technique is good and you can turn while going at speed, which, as you said, is not the case with you.

Overall, I think rollersking is an awesome sport, IF you live nearby some good place to use them.
BTW, some people rollerski on streets. I would never do that, even if my technique was better. You simply don't have as much control with the rollerskis, esp. when it come to braking, as with, say a bicycle. One false move, and you are down, perhaps in front of an approaching car. I've seen videos of Swedish or Norwegian national teams rollerkiing 25mph on public roads, but they are on a different planet skills-wise compared with you and I.

-Good luck.

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby TooHeavy » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:03 am

http://www.whitegrass.com/ Have you tried these trails? They are in your area.

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby dcpattie » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:17 pm

skiffrace wrote:Hi Dave,
I am in a somewhat similar situation to yours. I also have an athletic background (rowing) and even did some XC skiing long time ago.
However, I live in Portland, OR, where snow is once-in a blue moon occurrence, and while mountains are not that far off, I refuse burning fossil fuels for 2 hours to satisfy my hobby, even on weekends.
I recently bought Jenex V2 Aero 150 rollerskis to be used on some paved trails near my home, as well as occasional excursion on some dirt.

Here are my observations after using the for about a month, 2 or 3 times per week.

-Even though they come with inflatable tires and are advertised as "off-road capable", their off-road ability is mostly fiction (or marketing schtick)
Yes, you can venture on dirt, but your progress will be slow, unsteady and dangerous. The problem is that the tiny wheels don't ride over obstacles the way, say, mountain bike tires do, but instead get constantly hampered and stuck in them.
However, they work splendidly on pavement, even rough and uneven one.
I keep the tires at 30 to 40 psi, and the ride is smooth and predictable.

-I ordered my rollerskis with the speed reducers. They are useless for braking, but work splendidly at reducing speed. With the wheels spinning freely, even a newby like myself can easily go 9 or 10mph on flat ground. For someone with only a rudimentary technique, that is dangerously fast, and falling on hard pavement hurts a lot. Also, the resistance is quite low - you are moving fast but not working too hard.
Speed reducers to the rescue. With them applied, my speed drops to say, ~6mph, and I get a terrific workout (160 to 170 bpm)
Double-poling works very well, but it's almost too hard when the speed reducers are applied.

-Braking is the missing link. The brakes sold by V2 are awkward to use and mostly useless. There are some after-market brakes, but their effectiveness is dubious, and they don't even fit my rollerskis. The bottom line - rollerkis on flat ground only, unless your technique is good and you can turn while going at speed, which, as you said, is not the case with you.

Overall, I think rollersking is an awesome sport, IF you live nearby some good place to use them.
BTW, some people rollerski on streets. I would never do that, even if my technique was better. You simply don't have as much control with the rollerskis, esp. when it come to braking, as with, say a bicycle. One false move, and you are down, perhaps in front of an approaching car. I've seen videos of Swedish or Norwegian national teams rollerkiing 25mph on public roads, but they are on a different planet skills-wise compared with you and I.

-Good luck.



Thanks for the reply. I've looked at both the V2's and the Skikes. The thing that's really got me leaning towards the Skikes is the ability to do both classic and skate skiing with one cross ski.
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby dcpattie » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:19 pm

TooHeavy wrote:http://www.whitegrass.com/ Have you tried these trails? They are in your area.


I've been there once about 15 years ago. Its nice and I liked the funky vibe but its almost a 3-hour drive each way and thus a bit too far for more than 1-2 outings a season. But I do plan to go back someday.
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby TooHeavy » Tue Apr 07, 2015 11:38 am

I also have a pair of V2 150 skate models. My days of 4 hour roller ski sesions are long gone. I go to a rail trail which is flat with a crush stone base. I double pole and simulate step double pole to get my power up in the upper body. When I am cooked I bust into some skating to recover and then go again with the double pole session. I am usually back to the car after a hour . Any stones larger than the end of your pointer finger will probably trip you up with these ski's.

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby dcpattie » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:48 pm

TooHeavy wrote:I also have a pair of V2 150 skate models. My days of 4 hour roller ski sesions are long gone. I go to a rail trail which is flat with a crush stone base. I double pole and simulate step double pole to get my power up in the upper body. When I am cooked I bust into some skating to recover and then go again with the double pole session. I am usually back to the car after a hour . Any stones larger than the end of your pointer finger will probably trip you up with these ski's.


Thanks for the post - anyone use Skikes?
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby skiffrace » Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:29 pm

Have you tried searching this forum?
Here is an example post you'd be interested in:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2456&hilit=4x4&start=15

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby dcpattie » Sun May 24, 2015 5:46 am

After several months of research and a beginner Nordic Cross Skating class in Stuttgart, I ended up purchasing the Jenex V2 Aero XL150SC combi skis. They have the same packed dirt capability as the Skikes and also have a brake. What sold me on the V2's were the speed reducers since I'll be using them in a variety of terrain, some of which include long hills.
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby skiffrace » Sun May 24, 2015 11:39 am

Congrats, and enjoy your V2s. I had V2s back in 2000, and bought another pair a few months ago. The new version seems more solidly built - stronger grade of aluminum, the forks are welded, not bolted to the shaft, and the speed reducers use 2 levers instead of 1.
My 2000 V2s disintegrated after one year of use - the bolt that attached the forks to the body eate its way through soft aluminum and rendered the whole thing useless. I hope this time they will serve me longer.
On the subject of speed reducers - they do really work. I use them not only on downhills, but also on the flats when I want a power workout.
Their only fault is they are not adjustable on-the-fly - you need to stop or slow down to change the settings. This is OK if you adjust them once or twice per workout, but are not practical in a rolling terrain.
If someone improved them by adding push-of-a-button adjustment, they would be the 'killer-app' in the rollerski world.

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Re: Novice Skier "Notes From the Field"

Postby dcpattie » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:42 am

I've been roller skiing now for about 3-months. I wanted to post a few of my observations for anyone who may be in a similar position so perhaps they can benefit from my "lessons learned". And of course being a novice, I still have tons of questions from the advanced skiers on the forum.

Let me start by saying my introduction to roller skiing was totally backwards and unfortunately my form (and bad habits) likely originate from the way I entered the sport. I started with the Concept 2 skierg - and although I "think" my major movements are correct - a lot of the subtle things can be overlooked on the skierg (e.g., poling timing, handle release, etc.). Oh well, that's how and why I got interested in roller skiing and although I'm very excited to do some actual snow skiing this season, its on the rollers where I'll likely continue since I'm 3 hours away from a dedicated nordic center.

I started with a nordic cross skating class in Stuttgart Germany. This was a great introduction but in hindsight - gave me a false sense of skiing ability since the nordic cross skates have a fixed heel (I was using Powerslides). After returning to the States I ordered a set of Jenex (V2 Aero) XC150 SC (Combi) skis with the idea that I could use them on both pavement and dirt and for both classic and skating. This was a big mistake! IMO, the "Aeros" are to tippy for a novice - especially for skating with a classic binding and comb boots. And when performing the classic technique the platform was still tippy - even with the outrigger wheel to help stabilize. Again, this is thru the lens of a total novice - advanced skiers will likely benefit from the versatility of this rollerski. So since I was most interested in learning classic first - especially the double pole and kick double pole techniques - I asked Jenex if they could convert the combi (SC) skis into the classic (RC) version with two wheels in the rear. They indeed were able to make this conversion which was an absolute lifesaver! Now I'm on a very stable platform and couldn't be happier. The V2 RC is great for double poling long distances - however, they super heavy which make them a bit clunky for long stretches of diagonal stride. I'm already thinking about my next set of roller skis - I what something lighter with medium-slow wheels and a heel brake.

I have so much to work on; right now I'm thinking a lot about the following three (suggestions and tips wanted).
(1) Grip release and extension - I think this is because of all the KMs spent on the skierg. I have a bad habit of holding the grips tight the entire time.
(2) Double pole timing - my feet going completely numb after about 40 minutes of skiing and I think its because I'm not shifting my weight enough. On the skierg I can get up on my forefoot/toes during the "planting" phase but I don't have the balance yet on the rollers to it at full speed. I guess another way to think of this is "weight transfer".
(3) Diagonal Stride - I need to improve the timing of the poling and ski push (I need lots of work).

Finally, I've put together a list of classic roller skiing learning YouTube videos that have helped me tremendously:

Diagonal stride drill video: https://vimeo.com/116464921

Double pole (Gear West): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r88mdPpdsSk

Ivan Gorbenko classic stride videos:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vct3ZmSkBzg

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Idx7g-Wd9hs

Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqho8lxGO4I

Roller Ski Tips for Diagonal Stride (K2nicol):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nJuxR5HeRI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUwRGPiQcI4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2wKhHlbIcY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrH_H4Zi14o

Double Pole Technique Overview, Cross Country Nordic Skiing: XC Ski Acadamy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xejTj6RLECU

Rollski Technik Video Klassik Doppelstockschub

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=X_SqDkLqVn8

Double poling video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giCZA531bWE

Vermont Academy by Alexei Sotskov
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gaT1fCKvas
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Skier "Notes From the Field"

Postby skiffrace » Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:43 am

dcpattie wrote: (2) Double pole timing - my feet going completely numb after about 40 minutes of skiing and I think its because I'm not shifting my weight enough. On the skierg I can get up on my forefoot/toes during the "planting" phase but I don't have the balance yet on the rollers to it at full speed. I guess another way to think of this is "weight transfer".

Are you sure it's you and not your equipment? I had similar problem with my XC boots. Even though the advertised size was the one right for me (11) they fit very tightly due to the heavy insulation inside. After a while I removed the insulation which made much more room for my feet. I also added a gel shoe liner. These 2 things made big difference - all my feet numbness went away - no problems even in my longest (2 hrs so far) outings.
As for getting up on your forefeet/toes - I am under the impression this technique is done sparingly, usually during full-on sprints. I've watched quite a few videos, from the Vancouver Olympics to Vasaloppet. In Vasaloppet the top skiers use double poling almost exclusively, and I did not notice any of them getting on their toes.
Furthermore, double poling is a great upper body workout. However, based on the limited research material available, I am under the impression you get the biggest "bang for your aerobic buck" with the plain, old diagonal stride.

PS. one more thing about feet numbness. What air pressure do you run. Even though the stock tires can go up to 90lbs, I use 30 to 35 lbs in the rear, 40 to 45 in front ( I weight 180 lbs). Those low pressures are sufficient, provide for smooth ride and make the tire less prone to flats and blowouts.


dcpattie wrote: The V2 RC is great for double poling long distances - however, they super heavy which make them a bit clunky for long stretches of diagonal stride. I'm already thinking about my next set of roller skis - I what something lighter with medium-slow wheels and a heel brake.

This is a bit of a philosophical question - why heavier weight and slower pace would be a problem?
You are getting an excellent workout, at a safer speed. Furthermore, finding good rollerski places (=flat, smooth surface, no traffic) is notoriously difficult. Reducing your speed effectively increases the distance available in the few decent locations.
And even if(?) you ever think about racing, spending most of your training on slower and heavier equipment is a good thing, assuming you throw in a few high-tempo session once in a while.
You can retrofit your Jenex skis with heel brakes, but they don't have good reputation on this forum.

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Re: Novice Skier "Notes From the Field"

Postby dcpattie » Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:38 am

[/quote] This is a bit of a philosophical question - why heavier weight and slower pace would be a problem?
You are getting an excellent workout, at a safer speed. Furthermore, finding good rollerski places (=flat, smooth surface, no traffic) is notoriously difficult. Reducing your speed effectively increases the distance available in the few decent locations.
And even if(?) you ever think about racing, spending most of your training on slower and heavier equipment is a good thing, assuming you throw in a few high-tempo session once in a while.
You can retrofit your Jenex skis with heel brakes, but they don't have good reputation on this forum.[/quote]


Thanks for the reply. I do think the RC150 Aeros are great for straight double poling but I'm desiring a rollerski that is a bit more nimble. I am lucky enough to have a smooth asphalt trail near my home that is suitable for rollerskiing. I'm looking hard at the Elpex Wasa Evolution Classic Rollerskis...anyone have a review of that model? Like the Jenex models, one can configure Elpex rollerskis with an optional heel brake which is an absolute requirement for me.
Dave in Nordic Virginia

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby davidb » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:43 am

I use Elpex Evolutions and I really like them!
Skis with wider 50mm wheels ( Marwle, Proski, some Swedskis, el al)feel much more stable, but is that what you really want? (I don't think so.)
Elpex Evolutions come standard with a wheel speed that, in my view, is much too fast. There are wheel combos available that provide a slower speed that, for me, anyway, is just about right. The shop I got mine from ( Rollerski Shop) had the slower wheels in the mail the next day,and changing out wheels is a snap.
Also, wheel wear is good, parts are available and tracking is exceptional.
I'm not sure about brakes-do you really think you need them?

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Re: Novice Starter Questions

Postby davidb » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:29 am

Opps--sorry, got it wrong!
I was thinking Evolution X which uses 40mm width wheels;Wasa Evolution uses 50s.
For what it's worth, I still think Evolution X which uses 40mm, is the better choice; builds balance and feels more like a ski. Always seemed to me that after an off season of roller skiing on stable 50mm wheels, skis felt very tippy.
Also, and this applies only to my experience with Proskis, 50mms can be sensitive to really insignificant road debris; the front wheel suddenly jams, and down you go.


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