You have a new pair of skis in the mail. The last thing you want to do is waste your time going downhill on them. You’ve got something more fun in mind: touring the French Alps in style. You’ve got a couple of days off work and you’re keen to make the most of them. Your plan is to hit the slopes early in the morning. You’ve got a long day ahead of you and you want to make sure you get some good runs in before the day is out. The problem is, how do you stop on these things? How do you brake when you’re going at such a fast speed?
You’re used to stopping on regular skis, but this is different. You need to adjust your technique and think for a change. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Let’s have a look at how to stop on a roller ski in an efficient and stylish manner.
The first and most important thing you need to do is to adapt your technique. When you are on a regular ski, you use the ski poles to stop yourself. You push away from the bottom of the slope with your poles and that’s all there is to it. It’s a simple, easy and straight-forward process. When you are on a roller ski, you must let go of the handles with one hand and reach down with the other to touch the ground to stop yourself. It’s a bit more complex than that, but you’ll get the hang of it quick enough. Keep in mind: if you want to stop properly, your skis must be parallel to the slope. This will prevent the kind of sudden stop that often leads to injury. Do your best to keep your balance while braking. It’s not easy and it takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it. Once you’ve mastered that, everything else becomes a piece of cake. You’ll easily be able to control your speed and stop in the right place. Before you know it, you’ll be bombing down the mountain like an expert. You can also add some style to your skiing with a pair of ski goggles. They won’t hurt either.
The next thing you need to check out is the material the skis are made of. You don’t want to brake on a wooden ski, especially if you’re touring in the French Alps. These things are prone to breaking under hard pressure. It’s not the kind of material you need if you want to have a safe and enjoyable trip. You also don’t want to brake on plastic either. It will melt under the extreme heat of your brakes and possibly even start a small fire. The best material for the job is fiberglass. It’s light, safe and doesn’t absorb water like bamboo or wood does. You can also find some good thermally-conductive material (insulation) to keep your skis cool under hard pressure. You won’t regret investing in a pair of these. Even if you don’t end up using them that often, the look on your face when you arrive at the top of the mountain will be enough to make your friends and family proud.
Another important factor to consider is traction. The smoother the ground, the more traction you’ll have. This is particularly important if you are braking on icy or snow-covered surfaces. You don’t want to slide all the way down the hill because your skis were not able to grip the surface. There are two ways to tackle this problem. First, make sure the balls of your feet are always in contact with the ground. Second, make sure you are using the right-sized skis for your weight. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people get this wrong. Going back to the beginning, if you are a smaller person, you should be using smaller skis. If you are a bigger person, you should be making use of larger ones. It is also a good idea to invest in a pair of ski boots that are specifically designed for roller skiing. These will keep your feet warm and dry, even when skiing in wet or slushy weather. Don’t underestimate the importance of these items. You may find that your day becomes much more enjoyable once you’ve got the right gear. It will also help prevent injuries, especially towards the end of the day when your body is aching and you’re not quite sure whether you should be resting or continuing to ski. Finally, make sure your equipment is in good condition. This includes your skis, ski boots and bindings. If you’ve just bought a new pair of skis or just changed the shoes in your ski boots, it may be a good idea to take them out for a spin before you hit the slopes. This will help you get used to the feel of the new gear and allow you to identify any minor flaws before you begin your tour.
Where Should You Stop?
The last but not least important factor to consider when stopping on a roller ski is where you should stop. It’s not just a matter of stopping at the bottom of the hill, although that’s certainly an option. The most effective place to stop is near the middle of the slope. Not too near the beginning and not too near the end. You want to find that perfect spot that is neither too easy nor too hard to stop at. If you have a GPS device or a mobile phone, there are lots of tracks and points of interest marked on it. You can use it to pinpoint the perfect place for you to stop and take a break. Don’t worry, there is plenty of room for everyone. Do your best to find a place where there are no other skiers around so you don’t have to worry about hitting anyone or anything with your ski poles. The last thing you need is to end up in a wreck because some careless skier decided the area was good enough for a joyride. Once you’ve found that perfect spot, take a break. Relax and enjoy the view. Stare off into the distance and take in all the glorious detail the French Alps have to offer. You’ll soon find yourself wondering why you didn’t just stay at home. This place is one of a kind. You may find it hard to leave once you’ve found it, but that’s what you need to do to preserve your sanity. Before you know it, the sun will be going down and it’ll be time to head back to the lodge for some post-ski fun.
That was a lot to take in. We hope this article gave you enough information to help you stop on a roller ski in the proper way. Just remember the four things mentioned above and you’ll be able to conquer any slope you want. Take it easy and have fun. That’s what matters in life in the end.