The closest thing to xc
Rollerskiing is cross country skiing on wheels. It is a great year round activity for maintaining fitness, working on technique, or even learning to ski before the winter.
You can do classic or skate
As with snow XC skis, rollerskis can be classic or skate. Classic rollerskis have one wheel that won't roll backwards. All you need is smooth road or bike path and preferably no traffic. Asphalt or bitumen is best, not concrete as the surface is too hard for pole tips to dig in.
Rollerski wheels are generally solid rubber, pneumatic wheels are also available. Normal ski poles can be used, though the baskets can be replaced with more durable rollerski poles tips. Helmets are essential! Other safety equipment such as knee/elbow pads are optional.
There are even rollerski races!
In Europe rollerskiing is a competitive sport in its own right, with a World Cup racing series during the northern hemisphere summer. In Australia rollerski events are growing with Victorian and Australian competitions held annually. Check out the events calendar for more details.
How to learn to rollerski
It is recommended to start rollerskiing with a lesson from someone who knows what they are talking about. Getting in touch with a qualified XC skiing coach or instructor is a good way to start and a must for any school group. Some winter XC Ski Schools may be able to assist.
Check out the tips sourced from the Level 0 rollerskiing coaching course on how to learn to rollerski. For more information on rollerski coach/instructor courses look to AUSXC or Nordic Sports Australia.
Tips on how to learn
Where to Rollerski?
While rollerskiing is the closest thing to cross country skiing without snow, it’s not for everyone. Roads and bike paths are not as forgiving as snow. It’s great for training and for keeping up specific fitness over the summer, and for proficient skiers can also be great for touring cities on bike paths or even daily commuting.
For beginners, our recommendations are to start on a closed in location with no traffic and a good surface, preferably with grass on the side, and with a qualified instructor or coach. Rollerskiing on open roads should only be done by advanced skiers with good local knowledge of the roads, and always give way to cars.
Places to try rollerskiing in Sydney include Lane Cove, Newington Armory and Oatley Park. In Melbourne try Westerfolds Park or Yarra Bend Park on the closed section of Yarra Boulevard just off Studley Park Road. And in Canberra a great location is Stromlo Forest Park.
Want to find out more?
Rollerskiing is growing within Australia and not only near the ski fields. Have a look at Rollerski Australia and Nordic Sports Australia Australia, both based in WA, for some inspiration on where it can take you.
For more information on how to get into rollerskiing in your area check out the events calendar, talk to your local club/community group or retailer.