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Rolling and Poling

Roller skis make X-C a year-round sport

Fri, Jul  24, 2009 - By Mike Stahlberg

BEND — In July, cross-country skiers are as rare as Christmas ornaments.

Unless they’re on roller skis like Lars Floras and his friends.

No snow is no problem for these elite cross-country skiers.

They just pull into a sno park, snap their boots into the bindings on a pair of roller skis and head off toward Mount Bachelor — on the paved shoulders of Century Drive or the freshly repaved Sunriver cutoff road.

“This is the most specific training we can get for cross-country skiing without being on snow,” said Flora, 31, a Portland native who represented the United States in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics.

But you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy roller skiing, or reap its conditioning benefits.

“If you can cross-country ski, you can do this,” said Torin Koos, one of Flora’s training partners. Koos, 29, was named to the U.S. National Team in May and is preparing for his third Olympics in Vancouver next year.

Bend residents in the off-season, Koos and Floras are frequently joined on the summer ski “trails” by two top female Nordic skiers, Kristina Strandberg and Evelyn Dong. Strandberg, 34, is the 2009 U.S. five-kilometer classic champion and silver medalist in the 15-kilometer pursuit. Dong won the 2008 American Birkebeiner race and finished fourth in the world’s largest ski marathon, the Swiss Engadine.

All are enthusiastic about roller skiing, going out for two-hour rolls several times a week.

Read the complete article at the RegisterGuard.