Best Roller Skis and How to Buy the Right Pair for XCS Training

Cross-Country Skiing in Summer? Yes, You Can! Gone are the days when skiing was limited to the snow season. What first developed as summer training for winter skiing has now evolved into an independent sport of its own and roller skis are the next new thing. You got it right: cross-country skiing in summer is very much a thing. With techniques and equipment very similar to that of winter skiing, summer roller skiing has only one fundamental discriminator: the skis have wheels.

4 The Best Roller Skis for Classic and Skate Styles

We have rounded up 4 of the best roller skis for enthusiasts of both the classic and skating skiing styles. Read on ahead to find some of the best options available!

KV+ Launch Skate Roller Skis

The lightweight aluminum alloy frame with built-in stability features of the KV+ Launch Skate Roller Skis makes them a great choice of roller skis. Thanks to the curved shaft, these roller skis have a low center of gravity and can provide increased stability to the skier. The pair of skis comes with both regular and slow sets of wheels.

  • Shaft Length (from axis to axis): 23.6″ (60 cm)
  • Shafts material: aluminum alloy
  • Wheels diameter: 4″ (100 mm)
  • Wheels width: 0.95″ (24 mm)
  • Weight: 3.4 lb (1550 g)

Swix Classic Roller Skis

These skis are a top pick for skiers into the classic skiing style. The wide bearings and performance wheels help you swiftly ski over average surfaces, while the NIS binding plate provides for easy mounting. The frame is also super lightweight and durable.

  • Swix Classic style rollerski system
  • 67mm x 50mm wide performance wheels and bearings ideal for average surfaces
  • Comes with Rottafella NIS binding plate with SNS pilot holes under the plate for easy binding mounting
  • Rear wheel contains ratcheting mechanism to enable diagonal kick and replicate classic skiing …

Barnett RSE-Entry Roller Ski Skating with Bindings

The Barnett RSE-Entry Skis are for those who wish to waste no time. The mounting and binding have already been cared for, and the wheels are fast. The frame is not only lightweight and sturdy, but it also has extra stability, owing to its low height. However, that’s not all; this all-black pair of roller skis look way too chic to pass up.

Barnett RSE-610 Skating Roller Skis

This pair of skis is designed for skating-style roller skiing. Like any good skis, these are built with strong but lightweight alloy, which offers just enough resistance. There is also a choice of bindings between both NNN and SNS, which make these super compatible with any shoes. The product is ready to use with wheels already mounted.

How to Buy Roller Skis for Dryland Training?

Your choice of roller skis will greatly impact your entire roller skiing experience. Make sure you do it right. To do so, make sure to take the following into account:

Classic, Skate, and Combi

When selecting a pair of skis, the first factor to account for is your preferred style of roller skiing. Each style has its specific requirements; therefore, what works best for each style is different.

For classic skis, an alloy frame with a length of 70 cm or more is recommended. You should also opt for medium or standard-speed wheels. These skis typically feature a reverse lock that is pre-mounted on the frame by the manufacturer. These are significantly important, so even if your skis don’t have these, you should definitely consider getting them fitted.

For skate skis, again, an alloy frame with medium or standard speed wheels is ideal. However, these skis can be shorter than classic skis. The minimum ideal length is 58 cm for adult men and 53 cm for kids and women.

roller skis vs cross country skis length

Let’s now discuss our final candidate, combi skis. These skis can be used interchangeably between both the classic and skate styles of skiing. This makes them ideal for learners. While you are learning on combi skis, you are free to try out both styles and see which one works best for you. However, once you have figured out your preferred style, we strongly suggest that you start using dedicated classic or skate roller skis to perfect your technique.

Fiberglass Composite or Aluminium

The difference between fiberglass composite and aluminum is not really about requirements as such, especially for beginners. The key difference is in the price. However, for skiing enthusiasts, we recommend composite frames since they are considerably more comfortable.

While you ski on a composite frame, you feel fewer vibrations rising, and they are also softer to wear. Having said that, you should also know that aluminum frames are stiffer and lighter with optimal power transfer; therefore, they are the better choice for competitive skiing.

All-Terrain Roller Skis

Some skis are dedicated to being used on smooth surfaces, while some are designed for rough surfaces. For skiing enthusiasts, we recommend an all-terrain roller ski for greater choice. These have wider and taller wheels that provide a comfortable skiing experience for bumpy roads without compromising on stability for smooth surfaces. They will seamlessly glide over gravel, grass, and roads just the same.

Breaks and Speed Reducers

Whether you are an amateur skier or a maestro, brakes on your skis will be your best friend. Brakes and speed reducers work with a small lever.

Ski brakes operate just like normal brakes. The skier leans back on the ski, which activates the calf, which, in turn, turns the brake on. The harder you lean back, the harder the skis brake. As for speed reducers, the skier presses down on the lever, and a bearing is pushed against the roller ski wheel, which adds resistance and slows the ski down.

cross country roller skis

Roller Skiing Tips

Finding a suitable location with the right weather conditions can sometimes be fairly challenging for skiers. Similarly, the choice of gear and technique can also pose a difficult question. If you, too, have been thinking along similar lines, look no further because we have answered all such questions here!

Where and When?

The first thing to look for in a skiing location is a gentle, flat terrain. Additionally, the area should have good visibility and wide shoulders. Finally, low traffic is also a safety requirement.

Given these requirements, bike trails make a good fit for a summer skiing track. Another great location is modern business parks on hours with decreased crowds, such as early mornings on weekends or holidays. Just make sure that you don’t violate any anti-skateboard laws or trespass on private property.

When looking for rolling terrain, we suggest opting for downhills with a moderate slope and ample run-out. This would ensure you don’t build up too much speed and remain safe. This is especially important if you are a beginner with little control over steep slopes.

Compared to Cross Country Skiing on Snow

Roller skiing is an offshoot of cross-country skiing. The key difference is that cross-country skiing on snow has – you guessed it – snow. On the other hand, roller skiing is done on dry, flat land and emulates skiing on snow.

The techniques used in the two are very similar. In fact, roller skiing initially gained popularity as a pre-season summer training for XC skiing on snow instead of a sport of its own. Thus, it only makes sense for the two sports to have a big overlap. Roller skiing also has both classic and skate styles involved, similar gear and equipment, and similar fitness benefits.

With or Without Poles?

The debate over poles has been a popular one with skiers across the globe. Often, skiing without poles is associated with younger kids, novices, and relatively ‘unskilled’ skiers. Is it true, though?

Poles divide the work with your legs and hips and ease a lot of burden off your body. Due to this, it is recommended to use poles for long-term skiing. On top of that, poles help you maintain balance and prevent you from taking a fall.

That said, over-reliance on poles can be risky. Because the poles are there to hold you up, people can often forget to find their body’s center of mass, which can result in an incorrect posture. Similarly, the usage of poles to ‘stop’ is a huge misuse of the equipment. It not only shows that your technique is incorrect but is also extremely risky.

What Equipment do I Need?

The most important piece of equipment you need for roller skiing is, well, roller skis. You need to select the right ski length based on your weight and height; this information should be detailed on your ski size charts.

The choice of ski frames depends on the type of surface you wish to ski on, as well as your style of proficiency and command over it. Next, you need roller ski wheels. The hardness of wheels, again, depends on the type of land you will be skiing on. The final component of your roller ski is the roller ski boots. A wide selection is available, and you can pick one to your liking.

Poles and pole tips are another key part of your skiing gear. Pick these according to your own height and skill level. Make sure to also get a good set of grips and straps for your poles; these will make all the difference to your skiing experience.

Technique for Skiing on Wheels

Any technique that works with skis works with roller skis. That said, it is best to stick to double and double pole kicks, particularly while you are classic rolling. This will help you develop classic techniques and truly master the sport.

For the same reason, it is also recommended to limit diagonal strides when using roller skis. The ratchet in the wheel will produce too perfect a kick, and you may never get to improve your technique for when it snows.

Closing Thoughts

A tricky aspect of roller skiing is braking or stopping. Both the rapid-fire step-turning technique and the snowplow wedge technique are only somewhat effective; you can bet your safety on neither of these. The recommended stopping method with roller skis is the stepping snowplow, that you should get more familiar with in the article linked above.

This might have been a lot of information to take in in one go, but don’t let it scare you. All that matters is that you step outdoors and have fun with the sport. Remember to pick a good location, good-quality gear, and stay safe!