Cross Country and Rollerskiing

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Cross Country and Roller Skiing

April 26, 2018

Read about all the exciting things happening in cross country and roller skiing in our catch up with David Hughes, Snowsport Cymru Wales Nordic Discipline Director. Here he talks about why he enjoys the sport and upcoming sessions that anyone can take part in both North and South Wales.

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"When people in Wales think skiing, they usually think Alpine skiing. The great success of Menna Fitzpatrick in Pyeongchang has garnered some well-deserved media attention for our sport. But skiing isn't just about going downhill. For some of us skiing means cross country skiing.

And in Wales, that means roller skiing. Short skis (about 60 cms), with a wheel at each end and a binding to use a conventional ski boot. There are even models in which conventional sports shoes can be used. We use them with conventional cross country poles, but with special tips. The equipment, including a cycling helmet, can be acquired for considerably less than the cost of a beginner mountain bike. 

Cross country skiers are - or like to think of ourselves - as a bit different from the rest of the snowsport community. Certainly our requirements for skiing in Wales are. We don't need artificial ski slopes. For roller skiing, all we want is a tarmac track in decent condition and relatively flat. Welsh roller skiers are a defuse bunch, each with our own preferred training patches. Some I know use Parc Bryn Bach or the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. In Cardiff, I generally train either in Bute Park (great on a summer evening) or on the barrage. I travel to Spain regularly, where I have a couple of quiet roads I use for skiing.

Cycle circuits are ideal. The British Rollerski Series usually includes a few rounds at the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in London. Not too far from South east Wales, but easier to get to than Scotland. Although it has one tricky bend, to rollerski on a surface undamaged by cars is a pleasure. I'd encourage anyone to take part in a race. I've never troubled the leaderboard, but it's a friendly scene and it's nice to be around like-minded people - not to be the only roller skier in the village. The London regional Club's website has details of the race at Hillingdon here: http://www.londonnordic.org.uk/2018-roller-ski-races/

When Pembrey Cycle circuit is completed, we hope to be able to use that for courses, meet-ups and even races. In North wales, there is the Marsh Tracks circuit http://marshtracks.co.uk

Learning to rollers isn't difficult - if I can manage it, you can - but you will want a lesson to get you going. on the 26th & 27th of May, Steph Cook, a qualified instructor, will be holding sessions in North Wales at Marsh Tracks (on the Saturday) and the seafront at Penmaenmawr (on the Sunday) http://www.facebook.com/events/155571048489388/

In South wales, Roget at Capital Adventure Wales (who got me roller skiing) holds periodic sessions http://capitaladventurewales.co.uk

With enough support, we'd like to see coaching sessions become a regular thing, and clubs set up in both North and South Wales."

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