STEVE H: While there are a still a few patches of snow left on the ground, for the most part, the long winter is over and spring is here. But while you can't go skiing, it doesn't mean you should let the muscles you need for next year's skiing go to waste.
Welcome to the Summit Sports Podcast for skis.com and snowboards.com. On this edition we're going to talk about ways to stay in shape throughout the summer so that you can be ready to hit the slopes when the snow starts falling again.
We start off the podcast by going to Julie here at Summit Sports who has been skiing for decades, although she's just in her mid-twenties, and a frequent go-to person here on the Summit Sports Podcast.
So, Julie, what's some advice for staying in shape in the warmer months?
JULIE: We really to want to help with any cross-training that we can do that's going to help balance the body and be able to develop that coordination where you can focus on doing multiple things at the same time. A lot of flexibility and stretching is really helpful so anything you can do especially in skiing relating to the quads since it is such a quad dominant sport. A lot of stretching of the lower body from the calves to the quads, the hamstrings, your hip flexors and low back. As those muscles develop, your body tends to tighten up and it can really put a lot of stress and strain on tendons and ligaments which skiers are so prone to those knee injuries. So, a lot of stretching. Any sort of, you know, sport or activity that's also going to incorporate that same balance, agility and coordination. You know, dance, yoga, bosu ball workouts are great even paddle boarding really helps with that core strength and there's a lot of small twitch muscles that you need to keep balanced on your board. As far as more sport-type activities, you know, cycling is great for the legs and for cardio working out as well as skating which I do frequently in the summer just to keep exercising and a lot of the edging maneuvers are fairly similar to skiing.
STEVE H: Skating. Let's talk about that one.
STEVE K: I've always felt that inline skating is as close to the perfect sport as possible and it's a great way to train for skiing in the off-season.
STEVE H: That's Steve and you may recognize his voice as the Ski-E-O and Ski Buyer for skis.com but he's also the owner of inlineskates.com. So, Steve, what makes skating the perfect sport?
STEVE K: The reasons why I say it's the perfect sport is, first of all, it's the same muscle groups as skiing. You use the same thigh muscle, inner thigh muscle, which often isn't exercised by a lot of machines say at the club and stuff like that. It's also considered a balance sport so it helps you with balance just like skiing or snowboarding. It's low impact so you don't get the impact of running on a treadmill or running on the street. You stay cool because you're moving fairly quickly. So, you're moving typically about 15-20 miles an hour or 10-15 miles an hour and so you stay cool, you don't realize how hot you are until actually you stop. It's a lot of fun so I think it's always easier. Personally I hate exercising in a health club; I want to do a sport that's fun and I'd much rather be out inline skating than I would be walking on a treadmill or doing an elliptical machine. You can go fast or not go fast, it's up to you. It's social. I often go with my wife, used to go with my kids when they were younger so it's something you can do with other people. It's easy. Anybody can learn to skate. There's no real balance required, the skates are so supportive these days that they just hold you right up, it's not like a pair of roller skates or something like that. And some people even use them for transportation, you know, going to work, a lot of people in New York City actually use them, to skate around, going to school. If there's a good bike trail or good sidewalks, it's just a great way to get around.
STEVE H: How does skating help with skiing?
STEVE K: Well you can use a skates in 2 ways, you can use them to build muscles which would be kind of interval training where you do bursts or going up hills is actually a great way. It's really fun using hills because going up the hill actually gives you a great workout on those inner thighs, same muscle groups, and then when you go down the hill you can actually, it feels like your slalom skiing, you can literally slalom on your skate by weighing the outside skate like the outside ski and literally doing S-turns all the way down so it feels like you're skiing coming down or you can use them in more of a cardio way where you just use them for 20 to 30 minutes to get your heart going and just enjoy the ride.
STEVE H: Now, if you haven't been on a pair of inline skates in a few years, you should know that the styles and technology has changed to make them more comfortable and more user-friendly. Steve had a story to share about the first time he ever put on a pair of inline skates.
STEVE K: I put my very first pair of inline skates on back in 1990 so about 24 years ago. Actually it was before I opened up my very first sporting goods store, my first ski shop, was basically back in early 1990. The semi arrived with Rollerblades - it was the hot sport back then just starting to take off and it actually pulled up, the truck, pulled up to my house, the big semi, and dropped off about 4 pallets of inline skates and our store wasn't even open yet, I instantly pulled the skates out of the box, put them on and started skating around my neighborhood in an old pair of, well it was new then, Rollerblade Lightnings which was probably the classic skate of the time. I had a blast at it.
STEVE H: I'm afraid to ask you just because of the look, what color were the wheels?
STEVE K: They were pink. The 2 hot colors back then were neon green and pink and actually guys were wearing pink wheels back then. Sorry you asked me that.
You know, if you haven't been on a pair of skates in more than 10 years I think you'll be quite surprised. Softboot Technology has really taken hold so many of the older skates were these hard more ski boot-type boots. They didn't have good ventilation. Now the boots are soft, they're very comfortable they ventilate a lot but the biggest changes are in the wheels and bearings and kind of the structure of the skate. The wheels are much larger, they absorb vibration much better. Bearings are much better which gives the skate a more fluid kind of feel so you kind of feel like you're skating on ice rather than push a pair of skates across the street. It has a lot more creature comforts. Some skates have Boa which makes them really easy to tighten, more vibration absorption, aluminum frames, they're just completely different from what they were fifteen years ago.
With inline skates, basically there's 2 categories. To make it simple, basically higher cuff boots and the lower cuff boots so the lower cuff boots are usually the expensive skates are usually the $250 and above and those are more of a performance race type skate so if a person hasn't skated in a while or has never skated at all or just looking for a comfortable supportive boot, I would stick with the higher boots. From that standpoint, as a beginner, there really is no limit to which ones you can buy, in other words, the less expensive skates are not going to perform as well and the more expensive skates are going to have better wheels, better bearings and be more comfortable so, although it sounds strange, I would recommend basically as long as you're going with the higher boot, the most expensive one you can afford is going to be the one you're probably going to enjoy the most and probably use the most because it does make skating a lot more enjoyable and have a much better skate. Typically the 150-200 dollar price range is where you get a really good skate.
STEVE H: To get an idea of which skates are great for cross-training, I went to our inline skate buyer Alisa.
ALISA: Well, the VO2s are my choice for cross-training this year for skiing. The VO2's, the cool thing about the VO2's is the Vortech Ventilation system which is a channel, an air channel that runs from the toe all the way out through the back of the skates like an exhaust system so what that does is it goes right under your footbed and cools your foot off as you skate so I think, for me, that is key because during the summer here, it's very warm and I don't like my feet to get hot so that's gonna keep me nice and cool. Another cool feature of the VO2's, some of the models come with a Boa system which is also used on many winter products, ski and snowboard. The Boa gives you a nice snug fit, very comparable to how your ski boots are going to feel in the wintertime – real nice performance feature, make sure you get a tight fit so you have control from your foot all the way down to the wheels all the way to the pavement.
I think the VO2 line from K2 really makes an excellent cross-training skate because it still has your high cuff giving you a lot of support whereas a lower cuff boot on some of the more advanced like marathon-type skates gives you a little too much ankle articulation for most people. So, the VO2's still have that high cuff giving you a lot of support, they have a great ventilation system and you can't go wrong with the Boa.
STEVE H: As we conclude the Summit Sports Podcast, Steve tells us briefly about how inline skates has impacted skis.com, inlineskates.com as well as the Summit Sports retail stores.
STEVE K: So, we've been selling skates for 24 years, we sell actually more inline skates than just almost anybody but basically we're one of the top if not the top inline skate dealer both in the Internet and in our stores between inlineskates.com and our stores and now we're selling them on skis.com. We know this business backwards and forwards and we literally built our business on inline skates and it's a great sport, it still is a great sport. That's what's kind of cool about it, it's really seeing a resurgence right now.
STEVE H: So, if you're looking for a fun way to stay in shape this summer then definitely check out inline skating. The skates like the K2 VO2's are not only a blast to ride but they'll also keep your stability, balance and body in check so that you're ready to hit the slopes this winter in greater shape than last year.
Make sure to check out skis.com and inlineskates.com for the latest and coolest new inline skates out there.
I'd like to thank Julie, Alisa and Steve for joining me on the Summit Sports Podcast and thank you for listening and have a great summer.