Latest Blog Posts

Heel drop – what it is, why it matters and what we do about it!

Some of you may not of heard of “heel drop” but it is inherent in roller skis since the binding is not on the balance point of the ski making the heel heavier than the toe.  The photo shows clearly what happens in the worst case – the rear of the ski is much lower than the front – something that never happens with a snow ski.  The consequence is that the skier lifts the entire ski higher when moving it – much as one would do in deep, loose snow.  Lots of extra work that is not typical efficient technique!  There is a solution which Woodski uses when we install bindings.  With the SNS Pilot we stiffen the Pilot hook spring and with NNN bindings we use the very stiff red flexor.  Both of these significantly reduce heel drop keeping the ski tighter to the boot as you would have on a snow ski.  Roller skiing can be a great way to train but only the best equipment mimics  snow technique well.

Our furniture – check out the new page!

We get asked about our furniture regularly so we thought we’d add a page for you who are interested.  We have been making custom furniture including built-ins for over two decades and are happy to consider new work.  Please contact us if you have something special you would like made.

Furniture Album

March Madness Sale!

Start and finish – the end of a great winter and the start of dry land training.  Woodski is celebrating by throwing a huge sale!  20% off everything we make or carry until the last day of March!  Type in “marchmadness” in the code to get the discount.  Spread the word so your friends can share the joy.  While supplies last…!

Reese Hanneman checks in from the EuropaCup!

Reese is heading back to the US after months in Europe – he sent us this post recently musing about his success and inspiration.  Thanks for sharing Reese!

Being a Pressure Fighter

 

What is it about athletics, and skiing, that produces such an extreme spectrum of emotions as to take the human mind on an incredible roller coaster ride? I find it fascinating (unless I’m in the bottom of a slump, when I am nowhere near being able to admit something like this might be “fascinating”) that both the highest level of elation, pure ecstasy, and also the lowest level of disappointment, devastation, can be procured from the same activity. After all, we are all just sliding across the snow on some skinny carbon fiber sticks, at varying rates of speed. What turns this into such a powerful, churning emotion generator?

 

I don’t know, but I do know that racing in Europe only serves to amplify the roller coaster. In reality, it often feel like this “amplification” is really just an deepening of the lows; the competition can be so fast and so deep that you can go weeks, months, or even a whole season without any positive reinforcement. These are the times where it takes ultimate mental perseverance just to keep going…

 

People often are surprised to hear how much I can still struggle mentally. I remember as a young junior skier, back when I was just fighting to qualify for the Alaskan Junior National team, I would have a bad race and start to think “theres no way I can do this. I’m just not good enough. I should quit…” And here I am, ten years later, even after winning a US National Championship, the SuperTour overall, racing almost 20 World Cups… any time I have a bad race, or even just a sub-par performance, those same thoughts come rushing right back, trying to convince me that I should give up. The voices say things like “youre just not talented enough” or “if you were really a good skier, you would’ve just won that race” or “maybe you should just go work in an office”.

 

I believe that is the real value of ski racing. You cannot possibly learn how to push through all of that mental resistance unless you have really, truly, felt it. There’s a term that they use in mixed martial arts, called a “pressure fighter”; it is said about the very few who are able to apply pressure to their opponent while simultaneously under pressure. This concept is something I’ve kept in the back of my mind, and I think this season has slowly unlocked some of the mysteries of how to truly do it. It means attacking when you think you aren’t the strongest. It means leading the race from the back of the pack.

 

It’s easy to push yourself to the limit when you are breaking away to win. It’s much, much harder to push yourself to the limit when you’re just trying to survive in the back of the pack. It’s a lesson that can be applied to every aspect of life, but can only be learned by being a small fish in a big pond. Going for 30th like youre going for the win.

 

That’s why I am over here, along with my American team-mates, racing the highest level of competition I can. For the first half of my season, that meant the World Cup, and for this second half, the Europa Cup. Both trips are only made possible by my amazing personal sponsors, and by the National Nordic Foundation, because they all believe in the same mission; advancing American skiing by getting us developing athletes over here to go head to head against the best.

 

 

New World Wax Table

Winter holiday sale!

Who needs a partridge in a pear tree anyways????  We know what you want to give that nordic skier you love!  Here are 5 suggestions, but everything – EVERYTHING! – is on sale right now.  10% off everything and anything we make!

1. Looking for a stocking stuffer?  How about some cute road ferrules (that they hopefully won’t need for many more snowy months!)

2. Want something to  impress them? Combine the ferrules with a diamond file to show them how much you care about their training technique!

3. OK, you are really serious.  You know they are serious too.  Get them the planet’s best roller skis!  Skate or classic – you know what they love!

4. Well, you know they love waxing, and they do lots of it.  Make them super efficient with the amazing Foot clamp.  Once they step on it, they will never, ever go back!

5. So, the ultimate gift for the season?  Without a doubt,  the New World Wax table.  Set it up as they want to use it.  Custom height?  We do that all the time!  Accessories for every style and occasion!  It hasn’t been dubbed the best in the world without good cause.  It won’t fit down the chimney, but they wouldn’t like the soot anyway…

Enter “winterholiday2014” at the checkout to get a 10% savings on anything!

Happy Holidays from us at Woodski!  

Reese Hanneman on classic roller skiing!

Woodski athlete Reese Hanneman has been doing lots of roller skiing this summer and fall getting ready for the World Cup races this winter.  Here he gives some very good advice about classic roller skiing.  It isn’t the same as snow skiing…!

Rollerski Striding like You’re on Snow

As we all know, pavement and snow are not exactly the same thing. As someone who has crashed hard on both, I can assure you that I prefer one over the other; I’m sure your own experience would parallel mine. So just like we approach skiing on pavement a little differently than we do skiing on snow (helmets, gloves, a newfound sense of caution while bombing down a big hill for the first time because it probably ends in a stop sign), we need to approach our classic technique with a bit of focus too in order to make it relevant.

The ratchet is an amazing invention. There’s a reason we use the term “ratchet kick” when describing the feeling of skiing on Swix Extra Blue; because it’s as close to perfect as snow will allow. However, we aren’t always so lucky. Often, conditions are funky and variable, and you can’t just walk on your heels up the hills; one of the subtleties of classic skiing is knowing how to get that kick wax to stick just when you want it to.

When we classic rollerski, it’s really important to keep that snow feel in mind. Because the one-way ratchets are almost infallible and slip-proof, often skiers become complacent, just pulling backwards on the ski and stroking it across the pavement to pull themselves along. This is perhaps efficient in this circumstance, but almost entirely useless once on snow. Here is one tip that I use to help my classic rollerskiing better imitate my real, on-snow skiing:

Apply a sharp burst of downward force onto the ski in the middle of your kick. The best way to do this is not by pushing down harder with your leg, but to let gravity do it for you. As you begin a stride by moving your hand and pole downwards towards the ground from their highest point in front of you, let your torso and hips fall towards the ground. As your foot moves through the kick, suddenly catch this falling weight with your bent leg; this will apply an intense burst of downward force, which on snow will instantly flatten your skis camber and press all of the kick wax into the snow. This will give you good purchase, and the resulting force vector (both down and backwards) will shoot you forward. Of course on rollerskis we are just trying to imitate this feeling.

You should feel your rollerski flex right as you apply the most power through the ball of your foot. Striding should have the feeling of being light and snappy, not long and lethargic, because that is what translates best to snow skiing.

Report from Lake Placid training camp!

Woodski athlete Ben Lustgarten checks in:

I got to use my Woodski rollerskis for the National Training Group camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center the past two weeks! The camp was very challenging with 2 workouts just about every day and at least 3 intensity sessions a week. It was an incredible learning experience to try and stick with Simi Hamilton and Andy Newell of the US Ski Team during speed workouts and longer rollerski threshold intervals. My Woodskis held up well! I use a slightly slower wheel combination on my Woodskis out of personal preference than the standard Marwe rollerskis, resulting in some frustrating workouts where I got dropped by the other skiers at the camp. However, that could be changed with having two of the medium speed wheels instead of a medium-slow wheel combination. The skate skis feel great during long over-distance workouts and also speed and more threshold sessions. The medium-slow speed combination, in my opinion, feels most like training on snow without super high fluro race wax, more of a standard ski day. They also feel a bit nicer on the downhills. The classic skis worked well for the long double pole over-distance sessions. I absolutely love the tracking alignment part on the classic skis where you can change the direction of the front wheel to compensate for wear and just making sure the skis go straight. Not much worse than rollerskis that turn on you!

New shafts for Woodski!

We have big news!  In our constant search for the best shaft material we have found what is arguably the very best shaft ever!  Moving away from the solid hickory shaft which we have done for a decade, we have found a laminated wood shaft that is amazing!  It is incredibly tough, perfectly consistent and allows us to expand the line to give skiers shafts that match them.  We are now producing three skate shafts based on skier weight.  Just as with a snow ski, our roller skis will suit the skier.  Erik Bjornsen and Reese Hanneman among others have been on this new shaft all summer, and here is what Reese has to say about them:

“The new shafts from Woodski have been really impressive this summer. I have skied on them for a couple of months now, and when I say “skied on them”, I don’t just mean piddling around a frontage road. I’ve taken them up and down multi-thousand foot climbs, up to 55mph and stomped on the most aggressive jump skate I could find up the steepest of grades. I also threw in a couple big curb jumps just to seal the deal. If there’s any other way they could possibly be brutalized, I’m not sure what it is. Unless you think there’s a chance your rollerskis might somehow fall into a running table saw… Maybe that would do it?”

Woodski athlete Ben Lustgarten at Lake Placid

Ben Lustgarten is training on Woodski skate and classic roller skis this season and here is what he has to say about them:

This summer of training is wrapping up with the US Ski Team camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. It is a privilege to train with Simi, Andy, Ben Saxton, and Patty Caldwell, in addition to all of the talented girls at the camp. We started off the camp with some 4-minute uphill level 4 skate intervals. My new Woodski skate rollerskis held strong during the intervals and felt nice and smooth. They also were about the same speed as Simi and Andy’s Marwe rollerskis. I was able to stick with them on their first interval but they dropped me soon after. On Friday the team did sets of skate sprint starts on nice new blacktop near the OTC. Once again I used the Woodski skate rollerskis and they proved to be nice and fast. I have a lot of work to do to get faster and try and stick with these impressive athletes. Woodski rollerskis can definitely bring me to that level with a few more months of rollerskiing left to do this fall.