Saturday, 11 July 2015

Eight weird urban sports to try this summer

Rollerskiing The last time I went cross-country skiing, it was along the snowy trails of St Moritz, skirting a frozen lake. Now I can say I’ve been skiing on flat tarmac in a London park. In June. Needless to say, there was no snow. I was rollerskiing – an alternative to cross-country skiing that began as a summer training technique in the 1950s, and is now a thriving sport in its own right. It involves short skis, about half a metre long with a small wheel at each end, plus ski poles. The experts at the London Cross-Country Ski Club recommend that beginners have five lessons to build confidence, technique and stamina. I was trying to master the basics in a two-hour crash course – hopefully without too much crashing involved. Falling over on skis is never fun, but at least on snow you have a relatively soft landing. Tarmac, on the other hand, hurts. This made me tense, wobbly and slow; while the other two beginners in my class immediately zoomed off, I barely moved. On the plus side, I had plenty of time to concentrate on the correct technique. We shuffled about on grass to get the feel of the skis, then moved on to a path to practise “double poling” (keeping the skis parallel and using the poles to propel yourself along), “skating” (going from side to side, like ice-skating) and “classic” (a smooth forwards stride). Having watched Alison, my instructor, fly along skater-style with the grace of a gazelle, I could certainly see why the more -READ MORE - Dixon (second from right) and fellow learner rollerskiers.

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