Experienced inliners who have worked with us in development say that training with Sled Dogs Snowskates (as well opening up a world of winter fun for Inliners) improves technique, fitness, and confidence – which together deliver a step-up in performance when switching back to wheels! Michael Rivers knows more about inline skating and fitness than most people as he has racked up 11 years of freestyle experience, is a professional trainer with his own school, and has founded the Cyprus-based Ultra Marathon and Cyprus Skate Marathon.
Michael was thrilled to test the latest Sled Dogs Snowskates. After three months of snowskating in the mountains of Cyprus, he delivered this detailed review:
Snowskating helped us develop our balance. There is nothing quite like the thrill of speed, uneven terrain and dodging other piste users to help you develop your balancing skills. We did not realise how much you need your arms to help you balance when Snowskating, and how the position of your body can really make or break your ability to defy gravity.
Strong legs and gluteals definitely come from Snowskating. You have to keep low and this means you are squatting for extended periods. This extra strength training really helps your inline skating skills. Many of the speed-skaters use box jumps and other specific leg exercises to help them increase their lower body strength. Snowskating is a much more fun way of achieving this.
Core strength is so important for keeping your back safe and keeping your posture upright. Snowskating creates vibrational challenges to your body. Combine this vibrational disturbance with the demands placed on your quadriceps and gluteals and you have a potent recipe for developing your core strength even further. Our core was on fire after a morning on the piste.
We got fitter faster. Altitude training is very good for improving your fitness levels. The resistance from walking on the snow at the bottom of the slope and using inline skating techniques to move along the flatter sections really got our heart rate going a treat.
Inline skating can make you a bit lazy with your weight transference. If you fail to get the weight transfer correct when Snowskating, you go down! What a great way to remind your body to keep your weight over your hips.
Heel braking on the snow requires correct technique and an exaggerated application. Heel braking on the tarmac is as easy as ABC after Snowskating. For the inliners who have taken their heel brakes off, this gives them a great chance to practise the great art of heel braking once again!
Change of direction on Snowskates is fast and fun. You have to allow your body to lean with the turn and keep your body in good alignment. Practising this on snow, downhill and with greater speeds really gets you to hone your skills in this area.
Bending the knees is always a must for an inliner. If you are really good at inline skating, you can get a bit blasé about this. If you do not bend your knees sufficiently when Snowskating, you will either fall or you will kill your speed.
You have less fear of falling on Snowskates. It must be psychological. The snow seems soft and harmless enough to tumble on. In fact, we found most of our falls very funny. Especially if you wear some protective gear, your falls on the snow can be less troublesome than your tarmac falls. This gives you added confidence and that really helps you to excel!
CONFIDENCE AT SPEED
The snow helps you learn to deal with speed. When you get back on your inline skates, they seem slow in comparison. Wheels do not roll as freely as solid smooth sole plates. The extra speed you can easily gain helps make you a pretty fearless inliner. Like children who know no fear, you can learn much faster when you are not scared.
FINDING THE EDGE
Using edges on the Snowskates is an art. Practice helps you find your inside, outside and middle edge on the Snowskates. When you are back on your wheels, finding these edges is even easier.
I was excited about Sled Dogs Snowskates, and they did not disappoint. If you’re an inline skater, you’ll take to these like a duck to water – and discover a comprehensive physical and psychological improvement in your skating.
If winter used to be an off-season for you, Sled Dogs Snowskates offer a solution seemingly tailor-made for Inline skaters. Big thumbs-up.
Sled Dogs Snowskates do not require *perfect* slope conditions – first-time users will be surprised just how tolerant the equipment is – rather Sled Dogs simply need the typical conditions at a managed slope:
hardpacked and groomed.
It is really easy to use Sled Dogs on skilifts, a lot easier than using them with a snowboard or skis. It’s just important to remember Sled Dogs have a base and glide – so glide, don’t walk!
Sled Dogs have steel edges (similar to skis and snowboard) that grip well in icy conditions and keep you in control.
In very icy conditions the advice is the same as for skis and snowboard:
recommended only at advanced level for those who know how to use the edges and have maintained a sharp edge.
What are the limitations?
Having listed the good points of having super-short bases (easier to learn, balance, control, turn, stop, fall safely, and step) it is only fair to be clear about the downsides:
• With a reduced surface area to the snow, Sled Dogs Snowskates do not work off-piste.
• When the snow is especially soft/warm eg. at the end of season, Sled Dogs are not recommended.