Skate to Ski Camps Help Snow Pros Hone Their Skills for Winter

In partnership with PSIA-AASI Official Supplier Rollerblade, Skate to Ski Camps are really starting to take off. Eastern Division will host an event at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania on August 26 (registration is now open), and professional ski and snowboard instructors are also invited to attend the CAMP SkateIA, hosted the by Skate Instructors Association, in Los Angeles on August 18.

This camp includes three days of classes from over a dozen different instructors from around the world. According to Rollerblade’s Myles Cotter-Sparrow, “Skate IA is hosting a Skate to Ski camp within their three-day event to bring PSIA members into the world of inline skating and see all of the different aspects to inline skating other then the Skate to Ski benefits.”

Fresh off the PSIA-W Skate to Ski Camp, which was held at Tahoe Donner in California on July 29, PSIA Level III alpine instructor and master inline skate trainer Suzanne Nottingham sat down with to talk about how these camps benefit PSIA-AASI members.

What were the main skills/drills you focused on as lead clinician at the PSIA-W Camp, and why?
It depends on the skate skill level of the group. Sometimes we have beginners and must teach them safe skating practices as the priority. But regardless of skating skill level, I teach direct cross-over to skiing skills, i.e. rotational, edge, and pressure control. Usually, drills duplicate skiing sensitivities and include hill management, as well as dynamic balance, agility, coordination, and visual acuity training. Gate training is also part of the curriculum, but I’ve learned that not all skiers like running gates. Again, it depends on the needs of the group.

What were the key takeaways for how attendees can continue to skate and train as they gear up for winter?
The main takeaway for the camp on July 29 was that attendees learned how to skate well and left the clinic with solid skate skills, including stopping well. In the face of speed wobbles, attendees also learned how to assess the terrain (roads) appropriately. Hills that we take for granted as skiers become Mt. Everest for skaters. Safety and skill efficiency are big takeaways. Once a person feels confident gliding on skates, it becomes a lifelong sport, just like skiing. From a physiological perspective, gliding sports bring compelling results when it comes to nervous system proficiency and dynamic balance – supreme training for skiing.

Any suggestions for snow pros who did not attend and what they should focus on if they are skating on their own?
Yes! First, beginners need to know how easy skating is; we have the skill development and safety protocol wired. We teach skating with the same attention to safety as we do teaching skiing. For instructors who are experienced skaters, there is a plethora of drills, exercises, and tasks to practice proficiency and become more comfortable with speeds and steeper grades.

I’m in skating and skiing for life, so I want everyone at any level to know that simply strapping on a pair of skates on at any skill level or speed, you get automatic benefits of enhancing bone density, cardiovascular endurance, postural integrity, core strength, agility, coordination, and, of course, balance. First-time beginners get the same exact benefits but at a lower intensity. It’s good for everybody.

You can hear more about skate to ski benefits in an upcoming PSIA-AASI First Chair Podcast, which will air right here.

- Peter Kray

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