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It’s really not fair that one sport can have so much fun while getting so much exercise. It just can’t be kept a secret any more. Cross Blading’s time has come.

CrossBlading uses inline skates with cross country ski poles on bike paths and roads. The technique is a mix of Nordic (cross country ski) skating, alpine (slalom and GS) ski turns for speed control on downhills and speed skating. The speed and agility of inline skates combined with the extra push from the poles creates a really well rounded and mature sport that provides as much fun and exercise as any sport. It’s relatively simple and economical. With a little guidance it’s safe and exciting for beginners and a blast for both cross country and alpine skiers.

Hi, I’m Ken, I have been a CrossBlader since 1983 and I would really enjoy sharing it with you. Here is my first CrossBlading video. Thank you for visiting and please let me know what you would like to see in the future.

 Posted by at 2:31 am

  18 Responses to “Home”

  1. Congratulations Ken for New Website!
    I am happy to find websites related to skates, xcski,….
    We follow closely from LLISCAMENT (sliding)
    http://lliscament.blogspot.com/p/nordic-blading.html
    Greetings from Barcelona (Catalonia)

    • Hi Tomas, Thank you. I like your site also.
      Americans don’t get Nordic inline skating, but I hope to fix that. Most of CrossBlading.com traffic comes from western Europe.
      Happy trails, Ken :^)

  2. Can you describe what the advantage of this is over traditional rollerskiing? Could you use hockey inline skates as well? Looks great. Always looking for some outdoor cardio instead of running (hate running :)), and to cross-train with biking (love biking). Thanks.

    • Rollerskiing is great for fitness / training, but IMHO, CrossBlading is a lot more fun with the speed skating and alpine skiing elements.
      I don’t know hockey (inline) skates well, but they appear to have a lower cuff, heavy construction as well as the rocker wheel (front and rear wheel are raised a few mm) set up. I prefer the higher cuff (w more lateral stability) of a fitness skate. The hockey rocker set up is too unstable at speed for my comfort, but most hockey skates can be set up w/o rocker w the axle spacer.
      Wish I could run.
      Ken :^)

  3. Great video. I am a skier that has always wanted to incorporate this type of workout into ski training. Never roller bladed before. As luck would have it my family just got me some Bauer RX:60 inline hockey skates with 76 mm wheels in front and 80 mm wheels in back. I am having them heat molded tomorrow. Basically jumping in with both feet. I’ll get the Swix poles in the next couple of weeks and get started doing this. Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Wish me luck!

    • Hope it goes well. Just remember, it’s is awkward at first. Pick you terrain carefully and go slow. I’ve been at this a long time and it looks like I just go all over, but that’s not true. I am very selective about my route and consider steep, rough, traffic, time of day, weather, wind, moisture, temperature, etc. For instance, I avoid steeps on very hot or damp days due to reduced traction. It’s easy to fall and there is a good chance it will hurt or you’ll break a pole. Limping home just sucks!
      Enjoy. Thanks, Ken

  4. Great site !,

    This inspired me to build one too ( still only in Dutch).

    http://www.crossblading.nl

    • Hi, Dutch CrossBlading looks good. Good videos too. How ’bout the Dutch Olympic skaters! Way to go. Thanks, Ken

  5. I actually tend to go along with every little thing that is written inside “Cross Blading”.

    Many thanks for pretty much all the information.
    Thanks for the post-Ralph

    • Hi, yep, lots of different ways to approach road skiing and I am biased, but after decades of trial and error, CrossBlading has emerged as the best way for me to cover distance, have fun and get a maximum work out. Thank you for visiting, Ken.

  6. Hey mate,

    I saw your video on youtube and was fascinated. I’m an American and I live in NJ. Being 17 now, I, for a long time, wanted to get involved in cross country skiing. Not being able to afford rollerskis yet, and decided to give it a try with these blades/ inline skates. I looked up the different techniques and found that the v1 and v2 alternate are much fun with these skates, and also quite a workout! I climb some hills and often train at the park. For me, its one of the best experiences of my life. I continue to train like this for a while. After watching the Natural with Robert Redford, I was inspired to make my own ski poles. I made some with strong pine and carved initials into em. Thanks for starting me out, I hope to stay with this sport the rest of my life!

    Brain

    • Hey Brian, Good on ya! I’m excited for you. I’m 51 and got hooked on CrossBlading when “Rollerblades” first hit the market around 1982. I had ridden a bike from KY to Aspen CO, wanted to learn to ski and saw some guys skiing on rollerblades. WTF!? They made a steep 10mi (Maroon Bells Rd) up and back down skate (w poles) look easy. I later found out that they were 2 world cup racers and an Olympian. At the time hardly anyone in the world could do that, but I didn’t know any better so I bought skates that day. I flopped around for a while, enough to know knee pads and a helmet were permanent fixtures and scary mountain road descents were not (yet) for me, so I skated up. And up. It was a long time before I got comfortable, no – wrong word, competent at getting down sketchy roads.
      I would have to agree that of all the cool workouts, sports, etc. I’ve enjoyed, that Nordic inline, especially mixed w speed skate and alpine skiing, ie CrossBlading is awesome! The skill set is hard earned. It’s not really a casual sport. It requires all of your body and attention. It really triggers my animal, but I have to keep him on a tight leash, or ol’ gravity will catch me off guard and claim some skin.
      As far as poles, I love your story. Skate what ya’ got, but consider that if you are strong and doing it right (lunging onto the pole), that even really strong poles break. Pine might not be up to the task. It’s knotty and inconsistent when flexed. I have a bit on road skate pole size, material, durability, tips, etc. at CrossBlading.com. That you took inspiration from the Natural and made your own poles is a quality that should serve you well for all of your days.
      I’m out of the sport for now with an unrelated knee injury, but I do everything I can in the hope of getting back on skates. It really is a sport for life.
      Thanks again for reaching out,
      Ken

      • Quick Question Ken,

        How often do you go through a pair of rollerblades? Or have to change wheels. I find that mine wear pretty quick, as right now I have a pair of bladerunners that I really like, but they are getting a little wobbly. And my poles are way to short I found out, no wonder why my back is killing me haha! Especially on the climbs where I use the v1 technique. Have you been able to do the v2 technique instead of the v2 alternate? I’m trying to get down the v2 put its tough with balance, but I have the alternate down.

        Thanks Ken,
        and any ideas where I can get some durable poles? My wood one’s aren’t tall enough.

        • Hey Brian, Good questions.
          Basic skates last a long time. Occasionally I break something, so I keep a spare pair (which usually come cheap on eBay, at a garage sale or Thrift shop) for parts.

          There is a good bit on wheels on my CrossBlading.com site. I kill wheels! On one single long hilly hot summer rough road skate I could smoke a $et of wheels. Most of it is having fun on the downhills, so I dial the alpine turns way back and can get about four long skates out of a set. This is extreme though. If it’s not hot, and the roads are smooth, and with frequent (every skate or two) rotation, a good set of wheels (some are crap) will go a few hundred miles. I run them down to the hub, but skating a worn out wheel offers less traction and stability. It is also slower and turns quicker, so a scary steep skate might go better with a slower wheel. There are some hills I avoid on new wheels because they are just too fast. Wheels are expensive and I usually lurk on eBay for deals. There is some cheap crap that is not round or tough. A piece of gravel can easily blow a chunk out of these. Bigger wheels are generally faster. I love the speed of a 5 wheel 100+mm race type skate, but NOT for CrossBlading. I use a 80mm because it offers a good balance of speed, agility, traction, wear and price. Smaller than 80mm doesn’t roll over rough pavement well. Bigger than 80mm too fast and hard to turn for me. I’ve tried super expensive wheels and bearings, but am quite happy with good basic stuff.

          I usually run bearings until they are trashed. A worn bearing is slower (again good for some terrain) and squirrelly (nervous) at speed. Bearings last me several hundred miles, but a racer would toss ’em a lot sooner.

          Pole length is critical for propulsion, efficiency and balance (safety). Pole tips are equally critical. Grips / straps must hold onto you and not chew flesh off of your hands. Gloves, bike style or full finger help prevent blisters AND road rash if you fall. I use Mechanix gloves. They are hot, but save my fingers from the pole strap blisters. Poles can often be found at thrift stores for cheap. Aluminum poles are ok, but flexy and easy to break, Carbon Fiber tough, stiff and light, but expensive. Poles with a little carbon fiber, but mostly fiberglass are a good value. Skate poles are sized similarly to XC skate ski poles (longer than classic XC ski poles) and should come up to your chin or nose when standing in your skates. Remember, skates a a few inches taller than skis, so skate ski pole length will not work for inline skates. If you are over 6′ that means a skate pole of proper length will be hard to find. The longer the pole, the more important the construction… Aluminum poles are ok if you are 5″ 10′ or less, but long Al poles suck. As you get more comfortable committing to the lunge, a longer pole (nose high) will probably serve you better. More on this at CrossBlading.com too.

          V1, V2 and V2Alt all work fine on blades, but not without proper poles. In fact I find more “gears” or variations on the “V” with road skating than will work on XC skis. But beware, it’s easy to plant your pole just in front of your skate and toss yourself on the ground. V2 balance comes with time. I use a few drills that focus on gliding extra long on one skate or turning on the outside edges (this one is tricky). BTW, you can V2 up steeper longer on blades than skis, which makes you look tough to XC skiers.

          There is a collection of videos on my site that covers V1/2, Alpine, dry land, etc.

          Some people just know they are cut out for big challenges and accomplishments. It seems you are one of them. Lucky you.
          Hope that helps. I’m cheerin’ ya’ on.
          Ken

  7. I grew up skating for hours everyday outdoors on public rinks and skied since I was 6 through HS and late 20’s. Family then kept me busy travelling/driving all over the mid-west and east coast for hockey but now I’m free. I initially took up rollerblading about 10 years ago and at that time was in pretty good shape and loved it. Attacked by a dog one day while training, I had a nasty spill which has left me tentative, but not afraid of dogs:) I think I’m strong and in decent shape for a 55 yr. old woman. I play lots of tennis and train regularly so my legs are still strong. My concern is falling again. Will poles give me more stability? I also have a hard time finding smooth roads…any tips and/or suggestions? I really miss it…

    • Hi Gerry, Tentative is wise! Skating is a blast, BUT not being careful will lead to no skating in a hurry. I feel poles really help prevent falls, but they have their own ways of trying to make you fall, especially when you are new to them. Poles are for propulsion, but you have to commit to leaning (eventually lunging) forward on them in a way that is a bit intimidating at first. Once you get used to how a pole will hold you or slip, you are on your way. If you are using your poles to prevent falling, you probably need to look at your skating technique. It sounds like your skating tennis background will serve you well if you take up CrossBlading. You might appreciate the Technique and Safety pages here.
      As far as age… You don’t see much of it in the States, but in Europe it’s not uncommon to see Nordic road skaters in their 70s doing serious miles. However, at 52 I can attest that the ground is harder than it was 30 years ago!
      Picking where you skate should be done carefully and preferably in advance. I’m lucky to be able to skate from my door, but I’ll go where I need to be safe. I have a network of roads, paths, etc. to skate that avoid as many hazards as possible. Smaller 72mm wheels do not roll over rough roads like an 80mm and though 100mm wheels really smooth things out, I find they are just too fast for me. Initially, get the right safety gear and poles (see Gear), pick a small safe area and skate around until you are ready for more challenge. Your first experience might leave you feeling inept, but it takes a few tries to get the feel of the poles. Once you do, there will be no turning back. You’ll wonder how you skated without poles. CrossBlading isn’t a sport you kinda like, you either love it or not. You’ll know pretty quick if it’s for you.
      Thank you for asking. I hope that helps.
      Ken

  8. Hello from Seattle…..at last I have found a kindred spirit. I have been doing this since 1986 when I first saw rollerblades. Thirty years of people stopping and asking me about it and I have never seen another soul doing it. I have introduced approx 3 people to the sport who have actually tried it. I am in Montreal right now and have seen a lot of interest…..the mind set here might help it catch on..Doug

    • Hi Doug, yep, kindred indeed. Lots of funny looks over the years, but not too many of us.
      The biggest hurdle is getting people to try something that’s not easy. Some people just get blades, but I sure didn’t. I was a pretty good athlete, but nordic skating made me look silly for a while. I introduced one guy and he made it look easy. My ego was very annoyed.
      Enjoy, Ken

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