View Full Version : Any skate skiers out there?

02-01-2014, 08:33 AM
DH and I took a two hour private yesterday. I've been wanting to learn for a long time. I've classic skied some, and AMA really strong alpine skier. The Nordic area is just around the corner from the alpine area and they have 40+ K of really nice trails.

We had a great instructor, but dang do I feel uncoordinated. I can see it's going to take some work to get this. Any sport with lateral movement through the lower body is a challenge for me. And never mind that a non-entry level pkg is around $500. We've been advised that entry level for skate is crap and to stay away from it.

So to runout and get gear or wait for the swap? Dive in or forget it? I hadn't been over to the Nordic area Ina while, since I'm always alpine skiing, but man is it beautiful over there.

I do confess- I've been a bit of a crowd snob as the Nordic area is insanely busy on weekend (standing room only in the day lodge), so working time into the weekdays is going to be a challenge.

02-01-2014, 01:14 PM
I've skied classic for years. DH and our friends want to take a skate lesson this year. Reading your post is making me leery! I used to ice skate as a kid and was pretty good, but when I see skate skiers climbing/descending, it looks much harder.
Plus, I won't forget when I happened to see SheFly in the lodge at Bretton Woods after she had taken her first skate ski lesson. She said it was "hard." If SheFly thought it was hard, it's hard. I'm not afraid of the work, more the coordination.
But, don't stay away from the nordic area! Go early on the weekends, and Saturday tends to be quieter than Sunday in most places.

02-01-2014, 02:38 PM
Skate skiing is usually my cardio exercise of choice in the winter. Not this year though, we haven't had much snow. I love it. It's great frontal plane stability exercise and it's excellent cross training for cycling.

It's not usually expensive to rent skate gear so I often encourage beginners to rent for the first 5 times or so and to try to rent different brands. It's good to get a feel for what the different equipment is like and get a sense of what you want to buy. Buying used at swaps is a fantastic way to go.

The moment I knew I had progressed from being a beginner was when I could ski for 20 min straight and not feel like I was pinning it the whole time. When you get comfortable on the skis and start finding your different gears so to speak, then it gets easier and more fun.

My favorite days are the ones where the snow off track is frozen enough to ski anywhere. Then you can ski, dodging and diving through the trees feeling like James Bond in... I don't remember which movie it was with the ski chase, but like that.:cool:

Enjoy the journey!

02-01-2014, 06:58 PM
Thanks Wahine! I know I'm not crazy to want to do this. I've got good strength but as always with any new cardio related exercise you have to build up to it. I'm burning up way too much energy trying to put technique together. I figure as I can pull that together, I will become much more efficient and then it should start to be fun and have flow.

Our instructor was great. DH has a lot of not-great-for-skate-skiing "skating" techniques that he's used/invented over the years as a ski patroller on tele gear that he needs to unlearn: the old muscle vs finesse thing. Me, I'm just not real coordinated. He got the skate stride already, but I was better than him in poling. It was kind of fun taking a lesson together. I don't think we've ever done a lesson for something new before, in all our years.

During the two hour private, another couple came by that are students of this gal. They were NON skiers before they started with her. After four sessions, they are already doing loops on the trail system. Talk about good marketing...

Speaking of a two hour private, the two of us for $80 including rentals, total. What's not to love about that? Day rental is normally $29 for a package.

02-01-2014, 09:34 PM
Irulan, buy the expensive boots to start (foot comfort is super, super important) but look at starting with something like a used high-end rental. Also, check your local Nordic group's classifieds. The racing crowd upgrades pretty regularly and you can score some nice, already saturated skis that way.

You'll develop your own rhythm and figure it out. I rarely V1 anymore, and seem to favor V2 and V2 alternate. it's just easier for me.

I could give you a 1000 pieces of advice but won't (unless asked) :p I skate a lot, especially this year. Fortunately, we have a lot of places to ski (many of them free) and they are never that crowded (especially the very hilly areas). This year I have been doing a lot of skiing after work, in the dark with a headlamp. It adds and interesting dimension to the exercise. You really have to be ready for anything (like a moose darting out of the bushes). And it's fun.

Enjoy the learning process. Yes, a lot of it is about strength, but I think more of it is about efficiency (and heart and lungs, to be sure). And wax.

02-02-2014, 07:24 AM
The importance of good boots was emphasized, and we are gear sl*ts are our house, so DH was already eyeing the upgrade package. I've already checked the Nordic clubs website, so I have to decide whether to rent a few more times, wait until next year for the swap, or just to go for it.

02-02-2014, 09:20 AM
One good thing about skate gear is you don't have to upgrade that often. I've been using the same skate skis for 8 years, but had the bases ground about 4 years ago. I've been using the same boots and poles for 4 to 5 years. So once you invest, you won't need to put a lot lot of money into it for a while.

02-02-2014, 04:41 PM
I just looked up skate skiing. I never heard of the term before. How is this different than X country skiing?

I used to be hard core alpine skier but never touched nordic. so can some one explain the difference between skate and X country/nordic skiing.

02-02-2014, 06:40 PM
What you are thinking of is the classic diagonal stride that has been around forever. Skate skiing is just like it sounds a skating motion. You'll see the biathlon guys skating from target to target. "Classic" will use a two track trail to move in, and skaters use a flattened lane, usually right next to it.

http://youtu.be/KowNO3vi5FQ. Skate skiing
http://youtu.be/G3Vue10ItXg Classic diagonal stride XC

02-03-2014, 06:03 AM
Yes, a thousand times, yes! This has been my go to winter workout for cross training (until we got fat bikes...). The whole body workout is awesome, and the fitness transfers nicely to the bikes and vice versa. I'll echo the comment on good boots - mine literally feel like I am wearing slippers. If they don't feel like that, you will hate them.

I have a brand new pair of skis I got for Christmas two years ago, and still haven't used because the conditions haven't warranted getting out the "good" skis" :D Like you, we are gear hounds, so the equipment is pretty high end racing gear (but I don't race on the skis).

Yes, it is hard, but it is also fun. We have some great skating areas where the climbs will make you work like a dog (Bretton Woods, Jackson), but even just our local center, on the golf course, is a great workout. The technique is difficult - I've been skating for about 3 years, and still can't get the poling quite right, and still consider myself a very intermediate skier. But getting out for an hour or two to get the heart rate up is exhilarating!

And going at off hours is good advice - early in the morning before the crowds start, late in the afternoon when the temps are cooling... During the week at lunch time is another good option.

We're supposed to get some snow here this week, so hoping to get back out on the skinny skis vs. the fat tires.


02-03-2014, 07:52 AM

My favorite days are the ones where the snow off track is frozen enough to ski anywhere. Then you can ski, dodging and diving through the trees feeling like James Bond in... I don't remember which movie it was with the ski chase, but like that.:cool:

Enjoy the journey!

That is such a great image.... love it!