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inline-skate to snow transition

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Old December 20th 04, 04:07 PM
Ken Roberts
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Default inline-skate to snow transition

Last year at this time I found my first couple of days skating on snow
jarring and bit unpleasant after three months of using inline skates (e.g.
like "Rollerblades", though mine are Salomon). This year it went smoothly
and pleasantly, and I'm real happy with training on inline skates.

What I found unpleasant last year were the slowness of snow versus pavement,
and the irregularities of early-season snow versus smooth city streets. So
this year I put rubber wheels (e.g. K2 Continental 80mm) on my inline skates
for two or three days in early December to slow me down. This was definitely
less fun than my usual fast polyurethane wheels, but it made my first days
on snow feel OK. (And my improvement from all that off-season focus on
legs-and-hips-technique felt great.)

Irregularies of snow: I've gotten a lot more experience with rough and
variable pavement in my road-skating adventures in summer and fall this
year, and that seemed to help my handle the irregularities of snow. I
definitely felt that my control in skiing up steep hills with irregular snow
in the last couple of days was helped by all the hills with ruts and rough
pavement in my road-skating adventures.

One technique trap I feel into last year is that inline skates make it easy
to start the leg-push from close underneath -- never mind "glide on a flat
ski", when rolling on pavement you can _push_ with it flat, or even on its
outside edge -- and it works effectively (unlike on snow). So this year on
pavement I made sure I also took lots of opportunities to push quick off
the inside edge of my skates, like up every little hill. Now on snow I'm
finding no problem getting continuous leg-pushes whenever I choose, and I'm
finding much more confidence to push my no-poles skating drills into steeper
snow than last year.

Another technique trap on inline skates is while recovering the skate up
forward again after the leg-push -- it's natural to get into allowing the
tip of the skate to point down toward the ground -- which is impossible when
wearing a ski. What I did about this in my inline practice this year was
Nothing. The dire consequences were that I caught a tip a little once
during my first half hour on snow -- and that seemed to be enough to
stimulate my muscular-control module to fix the problem, without any of my
conscious intervention, and I never noticed it after that.


P.S. My dad is great -- he wears the same size skates as me -- and he's
letting me use them when the weather turns cold. So I put the slow rubber
wheels on his skates, and kept the fast wheels on my own skates so they're
still ready to go for fun times.


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