Is Rollerskiing Ski Specific?
I enjoy roller skiing. And when I first started using roller skis, I made great improvements in xc skiing. Now, at the age of 50 and having skied hard for almost 25 years, I find that roller skiing seems to have a bad effect on my skiing. Over the last 5 years I have noticed that if I roller ski 2-3 times per week beginning in late summer and right up to the first snow fall, I have had a hard time adjusting to skiing on snow. It seems to take many weeks before I feel comfortable on snow skis to where I feel like I have to relearn good ski technique. However, when I do little or no roller skiing in the summer and fall, I feel much better when I first get on snow. Skiing feels more natural and I don't have that "fish out of water" feeling when I get on snow. In both cases, I have continued with other and aerobic activities and weight training to get in good condition for the ski season. In years when I did not roller ski I did hill bounding and running instead. Based on all of the xc ski training information I have read this does not make any sense. What do you think?
Rollerskiing is great for training the sliding dimension, but riding rubber wheels will never be exactly like gliding on snow. Without knowing anything about your skiing form or "techniques," your questions are likely related to the following items.
Classic rollerskis are equipped with ratcheted mechanical mechanisms allowing only forward travel regardless of motions and work patterns. Properly sized and waxed skis on snow are, in order to function, dependent on good weight shift and precise kick exchange. The skier's classic technique easily falls out of sync on rollerskis and it will take some time to catch up once on snow.
Corollary, effective skating is much dependent on how a person rides the skis, particularly with use of the edges. It is very possible to ride and roll off rubber wheels, but they will never fully simulate the feel for how a ski and its edge travels in and over snow.
You correctly point out there are multiple good training methods, some perhaps more effective than others, and most importantly that something works well for you. You will find that successful athletes use a multitude of workouts, training modes and methods and the trick is to find the right balance for optimum conditioning and performance. You have cracked the box open which is a perfect starting point for new discoveries!
All the best of luck forward,
3 Time Olympian