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Rollerskiing Down Hills

I would venture to guess that going down hills on rollerskis horrifies 80% of the people who own rollerskis. This is for good reason - pavement isn't as forgiving as snow! While falling on pavement can mess you up, don't avoid hill workouts on rollerskis. They're a key part of a skier's training program!

Nothing will prepare you for ski season like doing hill repeats on rollerskis, that much is fact. While you push your body to the limit going up, often the biggest challenge is getting down comfortably.

Now when you think about it, are some of the hills you avoid on rollerskis really that big? I bet not. Perhaps you feel a bit uncomfortable simply letting your rollerskis roll down a gradual hill? As the skis accelerate - 10mph, 12mph, etc - you begin to tense up and feel nervous? Well guess what, the moment you're nervous and tense is the moment you're most likely to fall!

What am I saying? On these smaller hills, as my Australian friends would say, "point them and run"! That's right, just roll down that hill in a relaxed fashion with a bend in your knees and in a general "athletic ready position". Relax because you're barely going any faster than you would be if you were rollerskiing hard on a flat section of road. Relaxing and not tensing up are probably the 2 best ways to avoid a crash on rollerskis.

Now what if the hill is too big to ski straight down? I've seen the following techniques used with great success:
  • Keep it simple & walk down.
  • Leave your rollerskis on and ski walk through the grassy ditch with your skis on. This allows you to not scuff up your fancy new ski boots!
  • Using quick little step turns, zig zag down the hill on your rollerskis.
The zig zag method actually is a great thing for developing your step turning and balance skills. Focus on keeping the back wheel of each rollerski in contact with the ground and picking up the front wheel enough with each step to turn each rollerski only slightly. It will take many of these mini steps to execute a single zig zag. The steeper the hill you go down, the sharper the zig zags need to be. By the time you get to the bottom of the hill, your shins will likely be fatigued and you'll realize how good this is for your turning technique and balance!

Get out on those rollerskis, otherwise you'll be wishing you had once the snow flies!

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