I’ve had the honor of guiding so many of the Walking Women Cross Country ski holidays; it’s such an incredible way to travel peacefully through the winter landscape, and is well known for being one of the best whole body, low impact workout, that you’re so absorbed in that it doesn’t even feel like any effort! Sadly, the week abroad goes by so quickly, and all too soon the sensation of gliding becomes a glorious memory. Not any more! Now I m a roller skier, I can get out and have some fun, practice my “kick and glide” any day I like (although I prefer not to practice in the rain!)
All you need is roller skis, boots to fit the bindings, which are the same as the ski boots, and poles, which are also the same, but have a sharper tip on the end, to create a grip on the tarmac, and a smooth tarmac surface. Cycle ways, and outdoor cycle training curcuits are ideal. My favorite when I m travelling up North is Morecalme Bay promenade. The surface East of the Eric statue is really smooth !
I love the comments that I get from people, from “what on earth are you doing? “ to “where s the snow? “ which makes me appreciate that my new hobby is right on track with environmental issues, and, although the sport was developed as a summer training for cross country athletes, the sport of roller ski ing in it’s own right, is growing as part of our sustainable future.
In fact, the sport has become a competition event now in Britain, Norway, and the Alps. Whilst I was guiding the Tour du Mont Blanc this year, I passed a state of the art Roller ski Centre and track in Les Contamines, which looks fantastic.
Meanwhile back home, we are a small group of enthusiasts, who have set up the North Wales Roller Ski club, in affiliation with Snow Sports Wales. With the help of a small grant, we have managed to train ourselves up as level one instructors, and buy a few sets of skates, so that we can offer free taster sessions to our community, at our scenic promenades and cycle ways. We start gently, as they feel wobbly to begin with, for sure! Once the balance and confidence is established, we are soon experiencing the same sensation as the real thing on snow!
Once the balance is mastered, roller ski ing provides a great fun workout, without all the damaging pounding on knee, hip and ankle joints of tarmac jogging and running. Clubs are beginning to pop up all over Britain, so the best thing to do is to have a taster session before you choose to invest in the kit. Contact me through Walking Women if you want to find out more about this exciting sport, or are thinking of joining us for the real thing in the incredible Espedalen in Norway in March. I m off now to get some more practice in…