Does ice skating help skiing? No doubt, Yes! The two sports are related in many aspects, so if you’re wondering if ice skating can help skiing, I get where you’re coming from. After research and personal experience, I’ve put together this guide to answer the question comprehensively.
Ice skating is a winter sport that uses similar techniques as skiing. If you’re already familiar with ice skating skills like parallel turns, plow stops, power stop, and bending low, you’ll have an edge when learning skiing. Ice skating helps improve heart health and works all body muscles to strengthen the legs for skiing.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In the rest of this post, we look at how ice skating can help with skiing in detail. So, you don’t want to miss out on this. That being said, I urge you to read on, and let’s get to it!
7 Ways Ice Skating Helps Skiing
Below is a comprehensive overview of the ice skating skills and techniques that you can apply to skiing.
1. Ice Skating Vs. Skiing Skills and Technique
Ice Skating Vs. Skiing Posture
Ice skating uses thin blades fitted on the ice skates to cruise through an icy surface. The skates have a shorter blade base, meaning balancing on them can be a hassle. The situation gets worse because of the sleek nature of ice skating rinks.
Nonetheless, the instability and lack of control can be avoided using the correct technique while skating. What is the proper ice skating posture technique, you ask? The recommended ice skating posture is bending low. Your knees should be above your toes and shoulders over your hips.
This technique helps to transfer your weight from your body to your toe balls, thereby preventing forward or backwards falls.
Like ice skating, skiing uses the same recommended posture technique. It would help if you bent properly to distribute your body weight when skiing. This simple technique helps maintain balance, stability and keeps you from forward or backwards falls.
Stopping on Ice Skates vs Skis
Stopping or slowing down when skating fast goes a long way to prevent unnecessary injuries from falling. However good a person is at skating or skiing, falling is inevitable. For that reason, it’s crucial to master a few stopping techniques to help you control speed during emergencies.
Ice skating uses several stopping techniques. However, the ones you can apply in skiing are snowplows and power stops. The snowplow stopping technique involves pushing your legs outwards to make a curve then bringing them back in while the toes face each other.
On the other hand, power stops involve making quick sharp 90 degrees stops. It’s also known as hockey stops because it’s used mainly by hockey skaters. These stopping techniques can be applied to skiing. So, once you’re familiar with them, you can use them when skiing.
Turning on Ice Skates vs Skis
Turning when ice skating is one of the cool skating techniques every skater yearns for. Intermediates and experienced ice skaters who’ve mastered the skill can do 180 degrees turns, 360 degrees turns, and 1080 degrees turns. However, it takes time before one can do the flat spins perfectly.
That being said, you can also use the same turning techniques when skiing. In addition, both ice skating and skiing can use parallel turns to negotiate corners.
2. Muscle Development and Endurance
Ice skating works all body muscles, especially the lower body. The main muscle groups in this area include the core, gluteus, adductors, hamstrings, and quadriceps. When skating, the muscles generate energy through anaerobic respiration.
This isn’t the only benefit of anaerobic respiration because it also helps keep the muscles stronger and leaner to support the body. Through muscle endurance, one can skate for longer hours without fatigue.
The good news is, skiing uses the same muscles. Therefore, cross-training using ice skating can move the needle for you. If you want to keep fit outside skiing, ice skating would be an excellent place to get started.
3. Body Balance and Control
Learning to balance on ice skates is a skill that takes time to learn. After mastering your balance on ice skates, you also need to learn control. This technique is challenging because ice skates have a thin and short blade base, so it’s a hassle maintaining the balance.
In addition, icy surfaces at ice skating rinks can be sleek, which increases the chances of falling. However, you can master the skill to gain complete control on slippery icy surfaces with time and consistency. Skiing also uses sleek icy surfaces, and it can be a hassle to maintain your balance.
Therefore, once you’ve mastered proper body balance and control on ice skates, you can transfer it to skiing effortlessly.
4. Speed Development
On average, ice skating speed is between 20 mph and 30mph, depending on the terrain and skills level. On the other hand, the average speed of skiing is between 10 mph and 20 mph. Ice skating is faster than skiing and can be relied upon to train for speed in skiing.
Skating at high speed, therefore, is a good exercise for developing your skiing speed. If you’re waiting for the winter skiing season, cross-training in ice skates can help get you ready.
5. Cardiovascular Benefits of Ice Skating
Ice skating is a vigorous exercise, so it requires enough energy to push the body. The body produces energy in two ways—aerobic and anaerobic respiration. While aerobic respiration requires oxygenated blood, anaerobic respiration doesn’t.
To that end, the heart is actively engaged to pump oxygenated blood to all body parts for aerobic respiration in the cells. Doing these consistently helps to improve your heart health and lung function, thanks to the cardiovascular benefits.
That being said, you need a healthy heart and lungs when skiing. So, ice skating occasionally will help improve your heart and lung function. It’ll also get you fit for skiing.
6. Aerobic Benefits of Ice Skating
Some of the aerobic benefits of ice skating include a low risk of heart disease, controlled cholesterol in the blood, controlled sugar level, and improved lung function. Ice skating is a low-impact aerobic exercise since it’s gentle on joints but rough on calories.
Besides strengthening your joints, especially the knees, it’ll also improve your body fitness. The same benefits can be applied to skiing. You only need to cross-train with ice skating to reap more aerobic benefits of skating.
7. Improves Self-Esteem and Confidence
Ice skating and skiing can be termed adrenaline sports because they can be frightening. Balancing on the thin blade in an ice skating rink can be hard to cope with initially. However, once you get the hang of it, it ceases to be a problem.
This happens because you can improve your self-esteem and confidence by ice skating more often. The best part is that skiing will also benefit from your good self-esteem and confidence, boosting skiing performance.
More Tips for Getting Better at Skiing
Getting better at skiing takes a lot of time and skills. However, with more quality practice, you should achieve this in record time. Apart from cross-training with ice skating, below are the other things you can do.
- Using proper fitting skis for comfort.
- Wear the right clothing to protect yourself from the cold. The articles of clothing need not be too thick nor too thin.
- Wax your skis regularly.
- Ski more often and never give up.
- Collaborate with like-minded skiers to learn from more experienced skiers.
Does Ice Skating Help Skiing? Wrapping Up
Does ice skating help skiing? Ice skating helps skiing by sharing similar parallel turns, plow stops, power stops and bending low. These quickly give you an edge when learning skiing for the first time. Also, ice skating helps improve heart health and works all body muscles to strengthen the legs for skiing.
If you’re looking to try out skiing, having ice skating knowledge goes a long way!