Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to Oslo to meet with a couple of guys from Sled Dogs Snowskates. Sled Dogs are essentially inline or ice skates for snow. They comprise a ski boot with a small, built-in ski.
I have previously used Sled Dogs as training for skiing so I contacted them about getting a pair. I mentioned that I am a ski instructor and they invited me to come down to Oslo to participate in a weekend of “skating” to help develop an education program for Sled Dogs.
I was fortunate enough to skate with Sled Dogs founder Ronny Paul Glydar, ambassador and ex-alpine racer Rune Ingebrigtsen and Kris Fondran, a skating coach from the US who is working with Sled Dogs to develop this education system.
I have written a couple of articles about the importance of stance and balance in skiing, yet it remains one of the greatest challenges facing skiers.
The human body has evolved to function properly when we are balanced, that is, when our mass is over our feet. Unfortunately, ski length means that we can be completely out of balance without falling. This lack of direct feedback makes it difficult to know when we are balanced.
Sled Dogs on the other hand aren’t much longer than our feet. The mass must therefore be over the feet. Move too far forward or back and you will fall. This forces you to stand in a position that is closer to how your body has evolved to function properly, thus allowing you to make the movements of skiing.
Skiing on Sled Dogs forces you to stand with your balance somewhere between the arch and the heel of the foot. Stand forward of this point and you risk digging the toe in and doing a “superman”, especially in softer snow. Standing in this position allows you to turn your legs, creating separation, which allows you to angulate at the hip to create grip.
Skiing on Sled Dogs or anything that is shorter than a ski, including snow blades or even ski boots, is a great way to challenge and develop your fore/aft balance and improve your overall ski technique.
Interested in skiing with me?
If you are interested in joining me for some on-snow coaching and you are able to make it to Idre Fjäll in Sweden, you can book a session with me through the Idre Fjäll Ski School. Just be sure to ask for James Nunn!
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