A couple of months ago, my friend Lou sent me a Groupon offer idea as a bit of a laugh. It was for a Rollerskiing lesson in Hyde Park, for the bargain price of £12. I’m not sure why exactly I agreed – I have only ever skied once (on a dry slope on the outskirts of Birmingham) and the one and only time I ever tried rollerskating was at a roller disco in Norwich when I was in year 7 where I got my first ever migraine which ended in a trip to A&E. So, all in all, not brilliant experiences to build upon.
Included in the session was all the equipment we needed (elbow and knee pads, poles, boots, skis and helmet) – all you’re asked to bring are some gloves. The groups are capped at 8 people and our instructor was friendly, explained all the drills clearly and was obviously really rather good at it. All pluses. I, on the other hand, was not. I hate (HATE) not being in control, especially of my own limbs, which is exactly what happens when you strap your feet to a plank with wheels on it. I am lanky and awkward enough at the best of times, wheels DO NOT help.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that about half way through the lesson, I took off my skis in a childish huff and was resigned to spectating from the sidelines. Instead, I got offered some wider, less wobbly wheels (as you can see from the photo), which although did nothing to improve my skills, certainly made me feel like I could manage staying upright. I was very grateful for the simpler option!
Putting aside the fact I was rubbish at it, the lesson was good and well structured. We started off on grass before moving to the tarmac, going through lots of drills and exercises on both surfaces to get used to the skis and how to handle them. It provided a great all round introduction, and everyone was able to go at their own pace, with the more adventurous people able to speed off up and down the path.
I don’t think this sport is for me – it definitely made me appreciate the simple pleasure of running – but for someone who is predisposed to finding skiing and/or skating enjoyable, this might just be for you.
Rollerski provide Saturday morning intro sessions, as well as one day and four week courses. Find out more at rollerski.co.uk