Skate to ski training system

34 minute read

The program is designed as a progression of Phases. In Phase 1, you’ll cover basic skills that ensure you’re ready to progress. Phases 2-4 get into true cross-training for skiing. Many of these drills are derived from proven methods of ski training drills used by the PSIA and the U.S. Ski Team.

We hope you’ll find this program as fun to try out as it was for us to build. And if you’re able to progress through the entire program, you will absolutely be in the best skiready shape possible for next winter.

This exciting new program has been developed by rollerblade® in partnership with elite skiers around the world.

DOUG LEWIS - US OLYMPIAN

DOUG LEWIS “The Rollerblade® Skate to Ski program is the most ski specific off-snow program you can do as a skier. Not only does it train ski specific movements and patterns that will translate into better skiing when you return to snow, but it will increase agility, strength, mobility, and work your cardiovascular system as well. Plus it’s FUN!”

KATIE RYAN - US SKI TEAM

KATIE RYAN “The adrenaline rush and freedom I get from skiing in the winter I now get from inline skating during the warmer months. Skating allows me to be outside with my friends and get a great cardio workout.”

BRENNAN RUBIE - US SKI TEAM

BRENNAN RUBIE “Whether I’m ripping around the neighborhood, or preparing for the next ski season, inline skating is a versatile way to have some fun, and switch it up.”

Before you roll

New to skating?

Inline skating is a great all around workout. It hits every aspect of fitness. But it also requires some unique knowledge to get the most out of the experience – including safety.

Choosing the right skates is a critical part of getting the most out of this program.

For this program, we recommend choosing one of our molded shell skates over a soft upper skate. Both will get the job done, but as you progress through the program, the carving control you get from a molded skate will make the exercises easier to perform, and more accurately recreate the sensation of skiing on pavement.

Wear protective gear. A helmet is essential, and the three basic pieces of gear – wrist guards, kneepads, and elbow pads are highly recommended. You will likely be pushing yourself in these exercises. Wear the gear.

You may notice Brennan and Katie skating in the videos wear only a helmet. They are highly accomplished skaters and skiers and chose to skate with minimal protection. Unless you’ve also been a World Cup downhill ski racer on the U.S. Ski Team, we HIGHLY recommend putting on all the gear. And those of you who are World Cup racers – you really should wear all the gear too.

Where are the poles? You’ll notice that none in the program show skating with poles. The reason for this is simple – focus. Poles can create an unnecessary distraction while skating and can even be dangerous in certain situations.

You’re free to try these exercises with poles if you wish. Just make sure they aren’t distracting you from the task at hand. And most importantly, make sure they don’t cause a risk to you or anyone around you.

Choosing terrain

Just like in skiing, it’s important to skate on terrain that’s within your ability to navigate safely. Unlike in skiing, there are no trail markers to let you know what lies ahead. Before you head out to skate, make sure you know the road ahead and the variables that are likely to exist. Here are some of the major things to consider.

Slope

This is the one that you will most need to recalibrate if you’re used to skiing down hills. Even the slightest pitch in a paved trail or road will cause you to pick up speed very quickly. Make sure you are super strong at braking and controlling your speed before you venture onto any sloped surface.

Quality of pavement

Again, just like in skiing, the condition of the surface you will be skating makes a huge difference in your ability to control yourself. Avoid water, sand, and deep cracks in the pavement.

Traffic

The paved surface you’ll be skating on may have pedestrians, bikes, or even motor vehicles. Make sure you are obeying any local rules about skating in a location, and be super aware of your surroundings.

As you progress through the various phases of the Skate to Ski Training System, you will also progress to more challenging terrain. Here is a guide to how we classify the increasing challenge of inline skate terrain. In all cases it is assumed the pavement is dry, free of sand or debris, and is free of cracks that can grab your wheels.

Beginner Terrain: Absolutely flat surface such as a tennis court, basketball court, or flat and smooth parking lot free of active traffic.

Intermediate Terrain: A smooth paved path wide enough to make turns. A smooth paved road relatively free of pedestrians or other traffic. Will have slight slope and pitch that will cause you to pick up moderate amounts of speed.

Advanced Terrain: A smooth paved trail or road that will have a moderate slope, not steep, that will cause you to rapidly pick up speed. At no point is a steep slope recommended or necessary to use the Skate to Ski Training System.

Pre-skate checklist

Always inspect your skating equipment before each use. You wouldn’t head out on the slopes without properly functioning bindings, skis, or boots. Same should be true for your skates. Perform the following quick checks before you head out.

  • Wiggle each wheel to check axle tightness.
  • Check the screws/bolts that secure the wheels to make sure they are tight. If bolts that secure the wheels are loose, tighten them with the Allen wrench included in the box. This is especially important with recently changed or rotated wheels.
  • Spin wheels to check that bearings are spinning freely.
  • Examine the wheels for wear. Excessively worn wheels decrease overall performance and control.
  • Inspect brake pads for wear and tightness. Inspect all other brake components to ensure that they are secure and in working order.
  • Check for worn laces and loose buckles. Replace or have repaired if needed.
  • Beware of loose laces while skating.
  • Check for frame damage (e.g. cracks, breaks, bends) and that they are securely mounted.
  • Look for cracks in the shell and cuff. If cracks are detected, do not use your skates and have them replaced or repaired.
  • Wear one pair of athletic socks. Skates should fit securely without being too tight or uncomfortable.
  • For optimal ankle support, make sure your ankle area is laced or buckled tightly when first starting out.
  • Wear ALL the protective gear - helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads.

Phase 1

Once you’ve got the basics of movement and stopping down, you’re ready for Phase 1. In Phase 1 the focus is on creating a solid foundation for the work ahead.

A-Frame turn

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface with no slope.

Objective

This drill is a great way to develop a balanced stance and learn direction change at slow to medium speeds. This is the equivalent of the wedge turn on skis. The goal is to learn to link turns using the A-frame stance.

If done correctly

  • Knees and ankles are flexed throughout
  • Upper body calm and upright, hips over heels, knees over toes
  • Feet are wider than hip width apart, with 70% pressure applied to outside leg, 30% on the inside leg
  • Turns are on inside edges, round, smooth, and linked together

Common challenges

  • Feet come together, A-frame stance is lost
  • Leaning into the turn, putting more pressure on inside leg
  • One foot gets ahead of the other
  • Upper body rotation towards the turn

Summary

Maintain a flexed ready stance throughout the turn. Keep both feet at the same width, and do not let one leg advance in front of the other. If you are having trouble, direct more pressure to the outside skate. This will allow the inside leg to rotate through the turn more easily.

Once you have the A-Frame turn mastered in both directions, using a little more momentum, practice linking several turns in a row or down a very slight slope. Experiment with a wider or a narrower stance to see how this affects turn shape.

Braking on a hill

Terrain

Choose a very slight slope to test and improve your ability to use the brake effectively. Braking down a hill requires significantly more skill than braking on a level surface.

Objective

To learn speed control and stopping while going down a slope. To develop the braking skill and confidence needed to safely navigate slight to moderately sloped surfaces.

If done correctly

  • Knees and ankles are deeply flexed, hands out front
  • The braking foot is scissored fully out in front of the back balancing foot
  • The stance should be as narrow as possible – less than hip width
  • Pressure is applied gradually to the braking foot until almost 100% of pressure is applied directly to the brake pad

Common challenges

  • Braking foot not scissored forward far enough
  • Turning as brake is applied = Stance is too wide
  • Upper body bending forward at waist
  • Legs straight and locked instead of flexed

Summary

After you’re comfortable stopping on the flats at different speeds, its time to start experimenting with different slopes to see how your newfound braking skills hold up. Try slowing yourself with your brake pad but not stopping. Speed control is an essential part of skating no matter what terrain your skating. Respect gravity. Take on increasingly steeper slopes only when you are 100% confident in your ability to slow and stop yourself. The faster you are moving, and the steeper the slope, the longer distance you will need to stop.

Striding for power

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface with no slope. Ideally you should pick a route where you are able to skate in one direction for at least 5-10 minutes.

Objective

To learn a more powerful, efficient stride. Develop a deeper, longer stride that begins from the outside edge and finishes on the inside edge of the wheels. The motion should be very similar to skate skiing.

If done correctly

  • The striding foot is placed down directly on, or slightly past, a center line under your hips
  • The striding foot is placed down pointing directly forward
  • The stride starts on the outside edge of the wheels requiring 100% momentary balance on the foot about to stride
  • There is a gliding moment on one leg before pushing off again on the next stride
  • Knee of the gliding leg is flexed and over the toe

Common challenges

  • Constant striding with no gliding in between strides
  • Short choppy strides only using inside edges of wheels
  • Stride foot placed down at an angle like a duck
  • Knees and ankles not flexed enough

Summary

Start the stride with your pinky toe (outside edge). Push and roll your foot all the way through your heel (inside edge) to get as much power out of your stride as possible. As the power from your stride increases, you can spend more time gliding between pushes for more efficient skating. Try using a cadence count of 1, 2, 3 throughout each stride to ensure you are truly gliding between strides.

Remember that loose fitting skates are like poor fitting ski boots – and will make this skill difficult to perform. Check to ensure that all laces are tied and buckles are snug to allow for better power transfer and balance.

Parallel turns

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface. A very slight slope may be helpful to fully develop this skill. Without any pitch it can be harder to create and maintain momentum throughout linked parallel turns.

Objective

This is like progressing from wedge turns on skis to parallel turns. It is the breakthrough skill that will allow you to truly cross-train for skiing on skates. If you’re already familiar with parallel turns on skis, you have two legs up in learning this skill over the average inline skater.

If done correctrly

  • Skater maintains a flexed stance throughout the turn
  • The left leg scissors ahead for a left turn, right leg scissors ahead for a right turn
  • Skater maintains a relatively narrow stance – less than hip width. The flatter the terrain, the narrower the stance needs to be
  • Skates are rolled on edge with the outside leg using the inside edge, and the inside leg using the outside edge

Common challenges

  • Too wide a stance – unable to roll skates on edge
  • Being too upright with locked legs
  • Going too slowly on a flat surface – some momentum is necessary

Summary

The parallel turn is the fundamental skill needed to progress further in this program. In order to create linked parallel skate turns, it will take practice. Eventually you will want to progress to a slight slope that you feel comfortable with. The perfect location has a continuous slight slope that allows you to maintain momentum as you link one turn to the next.

Free skate

Terrain

Find your favorite local spot that has a combination of perfectly flat areas and areas with slight slope to experiment with your new found skills. It’s time to have some fun.

Objective

Learn to be a solid all-around inline skater. Apply all the skills learned so far to explore your local terrain. Develop solid coordination & balance, build endurance, and gain the confidence needed to progress in this program.

If done correctly

  • Skater is able to identify terrain that is within their ability to skate
  • Skater has fully learned the skills in Phase 1 and is using them regularly as they skate
  • Skater is confident and having fun

Common challenges

  • Remembering to check out the terrain ahead before skating
  • Skating down hills or in areas that are beyond the skater’s ability
  • Jumping ahead to Phase 2 before mastering Phase 1

Summary

Find a route that you can comfortably skate in roughly 30 minutes. On flat sections and inclines, work on maintaining a constant rhythm and velocity with your stride. On downhill sections, work on your parallel turns and braking. Think about how turning on skates is similar to skiing and how it’s different. See if you can improve your time along your route while maintaining good technique and control. Continue with your free skating until parallel turns, long smooth strides, and controlled speed on slight to moderate hills becomes routine. When you reach this milestone, you are ready to move on to Phase 2 and beyond.

Phase 1 checklist

Before progressing to phase 2, make sure you are solid on the following:

  • Using your brake for speed control
  • Stopping on flat and sloped terrain
  • Easily changing direction at will
  • Gliding between strides for at least a 2-3 second cadence
  • Performing smooth parallel turns in both directions
  • Performing parallel turns in short to long radius turns
  • Knowing how to identify appropriate terrain within your ability
  • Being able to free skate for 30 minutes at a moderate pace

Phase 2

In Phase 2 the focus shifts from skating on flat surfaces into using slightly sloped terrain. In this phase, you’ll begin to apply your foundation skills into more ski-specific movements.

Balance & agility

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, non-rolling surface such as grass or carpet. Progress to a smooth, flat, paved surface with no slope.

Objective

To develop a solid sense of balance and coordination on your skates.

If done correctly

  • Skater is able to maintain tempo of lateral hops and hold steady on one foot between jumps
  • A proper ready stance is maintained with ankles and knees flexed
  • Skater is able to balance and roll short distances on each foot equally and independently
  • Upper body becomes more relaxed and calm throughout the skating motion
  • Leg movements become smooth and controlled while skating

Common challenges

  • Balance cannot be maintained on one foot
  • Standing too tall without proper ankle and knee flexion
  • Frequent excessive upper body movement to recover balance
  • Skater is too rigid and lacking fluidity during the skating motion

Summary

Inline skates have a much shorter platform on which to balance than skis. Developing a stable platform is essential to progressing with your skating. The video offers some basic balance exercises. Try out some other motions to truly challenge and hone your sense of balance and coordination on skates:

  • A rolling lunge with the front leg in a deep bend and the back leg tracking behind on only the toe wheel
  • Gliding straight balancing on only one foot for as long as possible
  • Pumping both legs from narrow to out wide to narrow again repeatedly as you glide forward (sometimes called swizzles)

Angulation turns

Terrain

Find a low to moderate pitch that allows you to maintain momentum while making consistent, medium radius turns.

Objective

To evolve the basic parallel turn into a more dynamic and energized turn. To use the turn to manage speed and direction on sloped terrain.

If done correctly

  • Skater can link turns with various turns shapes
  • Shoulders are level with upper body oriented down the slope
  • Turns are more dynamic with deeper flexion and increased angulation
  • Skater begins to experiment with speed control on a slope through turn shape

Common challenges

  • Choosing a slope that’s too steep causing loss of control
  • Leaning into the slope with too much weight on the inside leg
  • Too much motion or rotation in the upper body
  • Inside foot scissored too far ahead of outside foot – making a hockey turn vs a ski turn

Summary

Your skate turns should now feel very similar to your ski turns. Deep flexion, dynamic energy, and direction control on a slope define successful angulation turns. Experiment with how deep a carve you can make with hips dropped into the turn and legs outside your body.

As mentioned previously - respect gravity. Take on increasingly steeper slopes only when you are 100% confident in your ability to slow and stop yourself. Finding the right slope is essential for this drill. Too little will prevent momentum needed for continuous turns and deeper angulation. Too much slope will make this too difficult and potentially cause a loss of control.

Line jumps

Terrain

Ideally a flat, empty parking lot with parking space lines. If no painted lines are available, you can place cones an even distance apart.

Objective

To jump consecutive lines while maintaining balance during take off and landing. Progressing your balance and agility to include small jumps while rolling.

If done correctly

  • Skater should lift both feet off the ground simultaneously
  • Skater should maintain balance lifting off the ground and on landing
  • Feet remain hip width apart and are parallel at all times

Common challenges

  • Skater is landing loudly
  • Skater is using the upper body in excess to lift feet off ground – jumping with the upper body as opposed to the lower body
  • Skater is not maintaining a straight line
  • Skater is not landing on both feet simultaneously

Summary

Skating like skiing will require you to avoid obstacles. A deep crack, sewer grate, sidewalk curb, or unsavory road kill may be in your future. Learning to jump and land while maintaining balance in motion is an important skill in your quiver. Once you have mastered line jumps on flat terrain, try doing them on a slight to moderate slope.

T-stopping

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface. As you become stronger with the T-Stop, progress to slightly sloped surfaces.

Objective

To learn an alternate method of speed control and slowing to a stop on inline skates.

If done correctly

  • Motion begins with 100% of weight on the front foot
  • Ankles & knees are deeply flexed with front knee over the front toe
  • Skater drags back foot with even weight and pressure progressively applied to all wheels evenly
  • Dragging foot is perpendicular to front foot
  • Rolling front foot should be perpendicular to the ground or even balanced slightly on the outside edge of the wheels
  • Heel of the dragging foot is 12”-18” directly behind the heel of the rolling foot

Common challenges

  • Skater spins around due to too much weight too quickly on the dragging foot
  • Skater spins around due to dragging foot being out to the side rather than directly behind
  • Skater spins around due to front rolling foot leaning on inside edge of wheels
  • Skater drags only the toe wheel rather than all wheels evenly

Summary

T-Stopping is a great skill to add to your quiver. For those who prefer to skate without a brake, T-Stopping is essential. Remember though that slowing and stopping with a brake is more effective than T-Stopping.

If you are struggling with T-stopping, try a rolling lunge with almost 100% of weight on front rolling foot. Maintain just enough pressure on the back rolling toe wheel to prevent it from wobbling. When you are comfortable maintaining this rolling position, the next move is to pivot the back foot over to become the dragging foot. Remember there should be almost no weight on the dragging foot initially. Once all wheels are dragging, progressively add pressure to the dragging foot while tracking straight forward.

Skating uphill

Terrain

The most ideal location for learning this skill is a loop with a short, steep incline going up, that leads to a more gradual slope going down to practice other skills.

Objective

Develop solid technique for getting to the top of inclined terrain. Use uphill skating to improve your cardio, power, and endurance.

If done correctly

  • Skater will only skate up terrain they are able to safely skate down
  • Skater should use a wider more open stride to maintain momentum and pace uphill, especially on steeper hills
  • Shoulders face forward while arms swing to generate power
  • Proper form is maintain as described in “Striding for Power” in Phase 1

Common challenges

  • Strides are too short and choppy
  • Upper body twists into the stride
  • Skater loses momentum

Summary

Many of the skill in this program require skating down a slope. Getting to the top of a hill on inline skates takes effort. It’s an amazingly effective way to develop aerobic and anaerobic fitness. With inline skating you truly have to earn your turns. As you progress through the program, a great terrain choice is a loop where you can gain most of your elevation up a steeper incline that leads to a more gradual decent back to your start point. This is perfect for interval training – intense up, gradual down.

Phase 2 checklist

Before progressing to phase 3, make sure you are solid on the following:

  • Balancing in motion on each leg individually
  • Turning with deep knee and ankle flexion and angulation
  • Making smooth and consistent short and long radius turns
  • Safely navigating slight to moderately sloped terrain
  • Jumping vertically while rolling
  • Effectively T-Stopping for speed control
  • Maintaining momentum and good form while uphill skating

Phase 3

In Phase 3 the focus shifts into true ski specific cross-training exercises. For anyone who has trained for ski racing, many of these drills should look familiar.

Uphill hand down the hill

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to travel across the fall line for a few seconds.

Objective

Establish solid body mechanics between upper and lower body. Develop proper weight and edge transition in a turn.

If done correctly

  • The uphill hand is pointed down the fall line towards the transition of the next turn
  • Upper body remains facing down the hill throughout the turns
  • Smooth switch of hands with body following the hand into the top of the new turn

Common challenges

  • Upper body over-rotates into the turn and doesn’t remain facing down the hill
  • Confusion on which hand points forward - remember the name of the exercise
  • Skater only uses arms stiffly without having core of body follow hand into new turn
  • Skater bent over at the waist

Summary

A common challenge in ski and skate turns down a hill is rotating too much at the bottom of the turn. By switching hands into the new turn, this naturally stacks your body in an efficient way and keeps pressure on your outside skate through the turn. Once you have mastered this exercise, you will be more effective in transitioning from one turn to the next down a hill.

Hourglass turns

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to set the cones or markers according to the instructions in the video. Also ensure that cone placement does not create a hazard for anyone.

Objective

To develop speed control through different turn shapes. To be able to vary turn shape as conditions demand.

If done correctly

  • Turns are performed smoothly while matching the hourglass shape of the course
  • Proper Angulation Turn form is maintained as turn shapes vary
  • Skater uses the full width of the course at the widest points

Common challenges

  • Skater loses control of speed
  • Turns are not symmetrical
  • Balance is disrupted by changes in rhythm
  • Skater passes beyond the lane established by the cones

Summary

This is the first of two exercises that force you to look and think ahead as you skate down a hill. It also requires you to fully utilize the Angulation Turn skills honed in Phase 2. By lapping this course, you can also get in some high intensity uphill skating between runs. For added challenge, add two more pairs of cones at the bottom of the course that become medium and then narrow at the finish. This will further challenge your ability to control your speed through turn shape.

Lane changes

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to set the cones or markers according to the instructions in the video. Also ensure that cone placement does not create a hazard for anyone.

Objective

Similar to Hourglass Turns, this drill is also intended to develop speed control through different turn shapes. To be able to vary turn shape as conditions demand.

If done correctly

  • Turns are performed smoothly while matching the rhythm of 3 Short Turns followed by a Long Traverse
  • Proper Angulation Turn form is maintained as turn shapes vary
  • Traverse is perpendicular to the fall line
  • Skater uses the full width of the course while traversing
  • Short turns are performed in the outer lanes while maintaining consistent velocity

Common challenges

  • Skater traverses down the slope gaining too much speed
  • Short radius turns are not consistent in shape and velocity
  • Skater doesn’t complete the 3 turns & traverse before the next cone

Summary

This is the second of two exercises that focus on using turn shape to control speed and direction. At this point you should be feeling the physical and mental similarities between skating down a hill and skiing down a hill. Whether you’re a world-class ski racer, or enjoy skiing on a recreational level, being able to change the rhythm of your turns is an incredibly important skill. This drill forces you to constantly change where on the hill you are performing your turns, improving agility and control.

Traversing

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to perform a long traverse. You can use your brake or t-stopping skills at the end of each traverse to slow down, or simply make a small turn up the hill to slow your momentum.

Objective

Develop strong hip position, coordination, and balance when transitioning from one turn into the next. The traverse drill lengthens the time between turns to allow for more focus on correct body position.

If done correctly

  • Traverses are perpendicular to the fall line to create the time needed to perform the movements
  • Hips are stacked over the knees and ankles
  • Upper body is balanced and quiet with focus on lower body and feet

Common challenges

  • Traversing across the slope at an angle that creates to much acceleration
  • Skater loses balance performing the required footwork
  • Foot movement is erratic and heavy-footed instead of controlled and smooth

Summary

These drills test your ability to move to the new downhill skate and balance on it before starting the next turn. It is designed to sniff out weakness in form and allow for time in the traverse to correct bad habits.

For added challenge, perform this exercise on a slope that is at the steeper end of your comfort zone. Though as always, make sure it isn’t too steep for you to safely navigate.

Stomp turns

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to set the cones or markers according to the instructions in the video. Also ensure that cone placement does not create a hazard for anyone.

Objective Learn to be centered and balances on outside skate throughout the turn.

If done correctly

  • Skater maintains control through the turn
  • Shins and knees are aligned
  • The “stomps” are evenly spaced at the top, middle, and bottom of the turn
  • The “stomp” inside skate is set down parallel to the outside skate
  • Stomp is a light touch with weight and balance maintained on outside skate

Common challenges

  • Turns aren’t symmetrical
  • An even “stomp” tempo is not maintained
  • Skater puts too much weight on the stomping (inside) foot
  • Skater is not equally proficient with both legs

Summary

This exercise is designed to build confidence when balancing solely on the outside skate. This drill challenges your independence and balance on each foot. You may find this drill more difficult on one side than the other. This is normal and is often the case on skis as well. Working on this discrepancy on inline skates will make it much easier to trust your weak side when back on snow. If you’re struggling to make three smooth stomps, try reducing to two or even one stomp. Then build up to three as you gain better balance and confidence with this movement.

Phase 3 checklist

Before progressing to phase 4, make sure you are solid on the following:

  • Performing all the exercises within the designated course
  • Maintaining good upper and lower body separation and control
  • Tapering in and out of wide and short radius turns on a slope
  • Maintaining control when changing the lane of travel
  • Using turn shape to control speed down a slope
  • Transferring weight properly in the transition between turns
  • Building confidence balanced on outside skate while turning

Phase 4

In Phase 4 the ski specific cross-training ramps up to a higher level of challenge. If you can master these drills, you will have developed the balance, strength, coordination, and explosive power that will pay huge dividends the next time you hit the slopes!

Power carve

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface with no slope. Progress to slightly uphill terrain.

Objective

To develop leg strength and power by pumping down and out through each parallel turn to generate momentum rather than by striding. To eventually apply this skill to climb slight inclines.

If done correctly

  • Momentum is created and maintained solely through pump turns
  • The pump starts from toes and flows to the heel
  • Legs are contracted at the top of the turn and extended into the bottom of the turn
  • Isolate the explosive movement in the lower body with relatively quiet upper body

Common challenges

  • Momentum is lost
  • Skater doesn’t get deep enough flexion to “load the spring” at the top of the turn
  • Excessive upper body motions are used to maintain momentum

Summary

This drill is primarily a strength and conditioning exercise. It is designed to build the muscles necessary to load a ski and generate explosive power. This skill should be mastered on flat terrain before attempting to use it to push yourself up an incline. As you master this skill, try out increasing the degree of incline to see if you can maintain momentum.

Hop turn warm-up

Terrain

Begin on a flat to slightly sloped grassy area, progressing to a flat to slightly sloped paved area.

Objective

To develop the balance, coordination, and body movements necessary for performing hop turn on skates.

If done correctly

  • Knees and ankles are deeply flexed, hands out front
  • Upper body remains squared off facing the fall-line
  • Compression and extension is done with the legs - minimal motion with the upper body during the jump
  • Skater is landing as softly as possible

Common challenges

  • Upper body rotates along with the lower body, landing facing across the hill
  • Landing is out of balance and rolling – not across the fall-line
  • Overly hard landings – legs not absorbing impact

Summary

This drill is designed to create a platform to literally launch you into a rolling version of this movement. Make sure you are solid with this exercise before progressing to rolling hop turns. Performing this drill repeatedly on grass is also a great exercise for developing strength and power in the legs. This can be done as an interval exercise on its own.

Hop turns

Terrain

A road or trail free of traffic or other paved surface with a slight to moderate slope. Also ensure that cone placement does not create a hazard for anyone.

Objective

To perform a turn transition in the air, leaving the ground at the bottom of a turn and landing at the top of the new turn.

If done correctly

  • Both feet remain parallel and leave the ground at the same time
  • Upper body remains quiet
  • Shoulders are level
  • Feet land in a position that immediately starts the next turn

Common challenges

  • Losing balance and control while jumping or landing
  • Body is too rigid to absorb the landing
  • Hops are too small or too lateral to effectively land in the next turn
  • Skater cannot maintain the tempo of the set course

Summary

Have fun with this drill and try to be as fluid and dynamic as possible. This drill combines many of the skills learned in previous videos into one. In order to perform correctly, you must leave and land on the ground in a strong balanced position, and parallel stance. You must then use knees and ankles to immediately carve a quick turn and again be in a strong position to leave the ground again.

Starting out on a flat surface that you skate into with momentum is a good way to get familiar with the motion before trying on a slope. Eventually, finding the right slope is a key factor.

This is a challenging and higher impact exercise. Unlike other skills in the series, this skill does not need to be mastered in order to progress to the next exercises.

Single leg turns

Terrain

Begin on a smooth, flat, paved surface. A very slight slope may be helpful to fully develop this skill. Without any pitch it can be harder to create and maintain momentum throughout single leg turns.

Objective

To develop the balance, coordination, and agility necessary for inside and outside edge control on one foot. This is done while performing short radius turns in a straight line.

If done correctly

  • Skater maintains deep ankle and knee flexion throughout the turn
  • The turning skate pitches laterally from pinky toe edge (outside) to big toe edge (inside) equally through each turn
  • The outside edge turn has the same turn shape as the inside edge turn
  • Cones are placed far enough apart to allow adequate space for turns

Common challenges

  • Momentum is lost during the turns
  • Course is set on too steep a decline – too much momentum
  • Body is not centered and stacked over the wheels – especially on pinky toe (outside) edge turns
  • Overuse of upper body motions to maintain balance

Summary

Similar to one leg ski turns, the challenge of this drill is typically in making the pinky toe (outside) edge turn. Making the outside edge turn requires you to be flexed, stacked over your turning foot, and to drive your knee into the direction of the turn. This exercise on skates builds the skills and body position necessary to carve on your uphill ski.

If you’re having challenges with this drill make sure your skates are securely tightened. Loose fitting skates are almost impossible to balance on. This is also a drill that is easier to perform if you are using molded shell vs soft upper skates due to the support they provide.

Outside leg turns

Terrain

A wide road free of traffic or other paved surface with a mild to moderate slope. Make sure you have enough space to set the cones or markers according to the instructions in the video. Also ensure that cone placement does not create a hazard for anyone.

Objective

To develop the ability to turn and balance completely on the outside / downhill skate while performing medium to long radius turns.

If done correctly

  • Skater maintains deep ankle and knee flexion throughout the turn
  • Even turn shape with both left and right turns
  • Each turn is complete, finishing across the fall line
  • Upper body remains facing down the fall line throughout the turns

Common challenges

  • Skater cannot keep uphill leg off the ground
  • Overuse of upper body motions to maintain balance
  • Skater is much stronger on one turn than the other
  • Course is set on too steep a decline – too much momentum

Summary

This drill is one of the most challenging in the Skate to Ski Training System. It requires all the balance, strength, and coordination developed in previous exercises. Be patient with this drill. If you are struggling with this drill, review the Stomp Turns drill in Phase 3. It can also be helpful when first attempting this skill to keep the raised skate with the front wheel pointing slightly down.

Once you’ve mastered Outside Leg Turns, challenge yourself with increasing degrees of slope. You can also perform the Hourglass Turns and Lane Changes drills using only Outside Leg Turns.

Phase 4 checklist

Make sure you are solid on the following:

*Generating momentum using power carve parallel turns *Remaining balanced and landing softly with standing hop turns *Performing rolling hop turns within a designated course *Maintaining a balanced body position during rolling hop turns *Turning consistently on one leg in both directions *Performing six medium to long radius turns on downhill skate *Maintaining quiet upper body throughout all drills in this Phase

Next steps

Congratulations! you’ve completed the program!

So now what? Below are some suggestions on next steps to help you maintain and even progress beyond where you are now.

Go back and cycle through the following drills, attempting on steeper terrain as your ability improves.

  • 2-03 Line Jumpers
  • 3-01 Uphill Hand Down the Hill
  • 3-02 Hourglass Turns
  • 3-03 Lane Changes
  • 3-04 Traversing
  • 3-05 Stomp Turns
  • 4-03 Hop Turns
  • 4-04 Single Skate Turns
  • 4-05 Outside Skate Turns
  • Create a weekly routine that combines Skate to Ski training 2 or 3 days a week with other types of exercise
  • Once ski season arrives, try practicing the drills above on skis

Other ideas

  • Join or start a Rollerblade® 10k challenge in your area
  • Train for and complete a half or full inline marathon
  • Join or create a local social skate
  • Become a skate instructor
  • Explore other skate disciplines such as Freestyle Slalom, Park and Aggressive Street skating, Racing
  • Follow Rolllerblade on
  • Check out the Experience section of rollerblade.com

Rules of the road

  • Before using your skates, know and understand the skating and traffic regulations of your city, state or country. In some places it is forbidden to skate on the public roads.
  • Always wear protective gear (helmet, wrist-guards, elbow and kneepads).
  • Learn inline skating basics; such as braking and turning before going out on the open path or road.
  • Stay alert. Always skate under control.
  • Do not use headphones that limit your ability to hear your surroundings while skating.
  • Stop skating and inspect your skates immediately if you hear clicking or other unusual sounds coming from your skates while skating. This could be an indication of a loose bolt or other damage.
  • Always skate with the Allen key provided with your skates in case it is needed to tighten bolts. Carry in a place on your body that will not cause injury if you fall.
  • Avoid debris, rocks, oil, sand, water and uneven or broken pavement.
  • Avoid areas with heavy traffic.
  • Never grab or hold on to moving motorized vehicles.
  • Always be aware of your speed while skating, especially while going down hill. Skating down hill makes slowing and stopping much more difficult.

Reference

This is my version of the original course “Skate to Ski” from Rollerblade. If you interested in course, watch videos or visit Rollerblade site.

You can download all course in one pdf.

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