Thursday, 20 June 2013

Rollerskiing

First I have to apologise for writing 2 blogs in one week... now that's just not on and certainly not something to be expected from me. But what I have seen this spring and summer I feel needs to be written about.
I have seen a lot of things on social media, pictures, videos etc, showing people rollerskiing without helmets. Not only at home in the UK but top flight world cup skiers as well. I can see it from both sides... Swix put out a photo of kawalyzck using their poles... good sponsorship... but she is rollerskiing without a helmet... bad image.
Having been a younger skier myself I know that the younger skiers of todays generation are looking at these pictures, looking at these skiers they regard as role models and heroes. On a slightly smaller scale young british skiers look at the best british skiers. They have been away on training camps abroad and competed around Europe. When they come home and train in the UK, the younger skiers copy them. In almost everything. I know, I did it and i've seen younger skiers copying better skiers many times.
This copying even happens with the use of helmets. I skied with 2 (now british xc team members) skiers one summer who had been away on a training camp in Austria. They saw that few people there were wearing helmets and so decided not to use them. One of them fell on their first session back and helmets were promptly being used again.

Lets talk about rollerskiing. When rollerskiing we put ourselves in a similar risk situation to cycling, at least in my opinion.  It is fairly dangerous and we have to be sensible. If we rollerski on the road there are risks from traffic and if on a traffic free area the main risks are from ourselves and other users. If you have ever fallen rollerskiing you will know it hurts. Luckily it is not typical to fall hitting your head rollerskiing, but it does happen. If you have ever been hit by car, you will know it hurts. Every year cyclists are killed on British roads. Fortunately I do not know of an incident of a British roller skier being killed. But last Autumn a young boy out rollerskiing with his dad on the west coast of Norway was hit by a hit and driver. He died. Norwegian national team members have been hit by cars. Johaug's drinks bottle smashed and saved her from serious damage a few years back and just this spring Steira was hit and forced to take time off training due to broken ribs.
So rollerskiing is dangerous. Not doubt about it. We probably can't make it much safer. We can use reflective vests and we can teach and learn appropriate ways of avoiding traffic and behaving in traffic. The last thing we can do is protect our selves agains what could happen. Wear a helmet.

I would never (and i believe most people would never) advise or even let a 10 or 11 year old out rollerskiing without a helmet. So why do we take share pictures of people out rollerskiing without helmets? Why do we go out rollerskiing without them ourselves? 10 year olds or even younger skiers will definitely copy. They will copy what they see.

I dont really care what people do in there own time, how other people train. But what I do care about is the future of british skiing, and the development of the sport. If you are going to be uploading pictures and videos of your training or of others training I urge you to have a helmet on these images. Not just for your own safety, but for the safety of other younger skiers who will, in all likelihood, copy you.


Sorry for nagging you all...
I promise my next blog will be more interesting. 

2 comments:

  1. You'll be pleased to know all the skiers on the 'rollerski van' have helmets on! See - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/nr116.html Iain

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