Skiblades — know about ’em? If you live in a place like the mid-west or a frosty, mountainous area then you probably do. You might even confuse them with Sled Dogs, but I assure you they are a whole other animal. (Yay for puns!)
Anyway, as you may have surmised from the moniker “ski blades,” there’s a lot of overlap between the skills developed by blading and those used on the snow for skiblading.
The guys at RVL8 Skiboards agree, and teamed up with me for an outing to show just how related the two sports really are.
What I can tell you is that the things I learned from rollerblading definitely made it possible for me to do tricks on my first day riding skiboards.
For example, pumping through a terrain park is very similar to pumping through a cement park. Knees bent, arms down, and don’t let your balance get too far back. Hitting boxes and rails particularly feels more natural than I would have thought. I learned fastslides and backslides after about six runs, and they quickly became my favorite tricks to do that day.
The one thing that is not similar to blading is the “ollie” or “nollie” motion. Typically with rollerblading, you’re either lifting your toes or your heels first to jump on or over an object. It’s not a drastic motion and you probably don’t realize that you are doing it, but most of the time that is what your feet are doing.
But with skiboards the decks are pretty stiff, though after talking with some other riders I was told that they get more flexible with use. So what does that mean for your first couple of sessions? Really it just means working a little harder on your spins and trying to jump over obstacles without a jump or kicker.
Here are some words from RVL8 team rider Kirk Thompson, and rollerblader Jonathan Cooley:
Coming to skiboarding from a background in rollerblading feels extremely natural. It takes a short bit of time to get used to the stiffer boots and learning to turn the boards, but as soon as you hit a jump or lock into a rail, it will feel like you’ve done it a million times. I find it easier to go big on skiboards since the snow is soft, the jumps are bigger, and you don’t have to be as precise when locking in your grinds. Most of the feelings are the same, but I tend to try things on skiboards that I could only dream of doing while rollerblading.” — Kirk Thompson
I definitely feel that rollerblading has given me a great comfort for going fakie, or switch as it’s called in skiing. Grinding is a very similar feeling as well. Most rollerbladers are generally comfortable on a frontside royale, which feels exactly like a frontside on skiboards, so generally if you can cab in or 450 royale, those naturally come to you in skiboarding. Another way that blading has influenced my skiboarding is through flips. Through learning misty flips, flat spins and corks on blades, I have been able to throw my body the exact same way and gain the same tricks on skiboards, which honestly feels better due to the more air time and softer landing. I feel that style transfers over as well. I seem to have similar style on my skies as i do on my skates. This is different from many skiers in that when I go for a spin i still throw my legs up with a grab and get a little off axis exactly like in blading, the feeling is almost the exact same. So overall my blading has definitely not only influenced my skiboarding, but shaped it.” — Jon Cooley
If you’re a rollerblader and are looking to try a winter sport that you can pickup quickly, I would DEFINITELY recommend skiboarding!
Thanks again to our friends at RVL8, team rider Jack Schmid, and Mike Kelly for helping us film!