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Winter preview: Kids roller skiing

Video

Wed, Nov  21, 2007 - By Wendy Almeida

See Wendy Almeida's blog at http://outdoors.mainetoday.com/children/kidtracks.

The girls gave roller skiing a try for the first time this weekend with Mike from the Maine Winter Sports Center. It is what nordic and biathlon competitors do when there isn't any snow to train on and we were curious to learn more about it.

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Roller skis are a shorter version of cross country skis that have wheels on the bottom of the skis. The bindings on roller skis match the NNN and SNS style of cross country boots.

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The girls brought their cross country ski boots and as soon as they locked into the bindings of the roller skis, they both commented on how weird it felt.

"This doesn't exactly feel like skiing mom. It feels kinda weird."

There are two basic kinds of roller skis - classic and skate. G. tried a classic pair of roller skis that had a rachet mechanism on the front wheel so she couldn't roll backwards. She liked the sound of that safety feature. L. tried a skate style with wheels that rolled both forward and back. After watching both the girls I noticed that G.'s movements were a little choppy while L. seemed to roll better. It looked to me G. was working twice as hard as her sister to glide along the pavement so I agreed with her when she said L.'s roller skis were better.

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We walked beside each of the girls at first but they got the feel of the roller skis since they have done quite a bit of cross country skiing and they like to inline skate.

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The trick of either ski is that there is no break built on to the roller ski to stop. That made the girls a little nervous but on the flat, smooth surface of the driveway, stopping was not a big issue.

 

 

After the girls took off their borrowed roller skis, we watched the competitive rollerskiers race around Pineland Farms for the Duathlon race. The girls and their friend (her dad was rollerskiing for fun with the competitors) cheered everyone on as the racers made three loops around Pineland Farms' course.

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See more photos from the race

It was freezing cold (the wind was strong at Pineland that morning!) but we all enjoyed the race and learning about roller skiing.

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