It's the time of the year when thoughts turn to winter sports and holidays. With that in mind, I thought I'd make a few suggestions...
XC SKI MARATHONS
Why anyone does a running marathon when you could do a ski marathon I don't know. These great races take you through some amazing scenery where you will work just as hard (if not harder) than in a running marathon. Because the impact on your joints is so low, chances are you'll be out skiing next day.
Also, because every year some people take part with virtually no preparation, chances are you'll overtake a few racers (even if they are in the 90+ age group!). These races are great fun and a great experience.
Each year over 100 Brits take part in the Engadin Ski Marathon in
To find a ski marathon, visit our ski marathon calendar - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/nf003.html. This is the 2007 calendar, but we'll update it for 2008 when a few more dates are firmed up.
XC SKI HOLIDAYS
There's a huge range of cross-country ski holiday companies now operating, offering more choice than ever. Whether you're a complete beginners looking to get moving on snow, or a hardened veteran in search of a new challenge, there are holidays to suit everyone.
Among the trips our rollerskiers have recommended most highly, are the Exodus (formerly Waymark) trips to Kvitavatn and to Versiaco, both of which offer a bit of instruction, and will push you to make the most of your time on snow.
We have more information on our website at http://www.rollerski.co.uk/cross.html and if you book an Exodus holiday and mention 'Rollerski' as the referring source when you book, you will get £25 off rollerski instruction or equipment.
Independent trips are now more possible than ever, especially for anyone who has their own skis and knows how to use them. Cheap flights, and faster rail connections this winter (Eurostar from St Pancras), give you plenty of choice.
For a more serious ski challenge, how about a race to the North Pole? The Polar Challenge ( http://www.polar-challenge.com/ ) sees teams race for 350 miles in temperatures as low as -50C, towing supplies in 120lb pulks, and skiing for a good part of the journey.
The most competitive teams do a lot of training on rollerskis, and last year the fastest womens' team ever, the Arctic Virgins, spent months training on rollerskis with the Manchester Cross-Country Ski Club. A couple of weeks ago we helped one of the 2008 teams, the Lost Penguins ( http://www.lostpenguins.com/ ), get started on rollerskis and wish them the best of luck in their training!
OK, this isn't a winter sport as such, but like rollerskiing generally, it's a good stepping stone towards your ultimate winter challenge - especially if you're preparing for a race.
Coming up in late October are the 4-hr Rollerski Race, run by the London Nordic Ski Club, (see http://www.londonnordic.org.uk ) and the Wessex Sprints, which is a chance to test yourself against the best of the army's racers at Castle Combe race track in Wiltshire (see http://www.wessexbiathlon.org ).
These are both well recommended, with an emphasis on friendly competition.
The courses we have coming up will help your preparation this season, and we'd encourage you to book up. We had a terrific turnout for our September courses, and it's great to see such improvements -
Castle Combe - Sunday 28th October - 1 day course - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/events4.html
4-wk skating course - starts Saturday 13th October, Hyde Park - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/events2.html
4-wk classic course - starts Sunday 22nd October, Hyde Park - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/events1.html
I've added a few new comments to the comments page - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/nr026.html
I'm afraid we've had to increase the cost of the Dorney course slightly more than we'd have liked to - mostly because of additional charges from the Dorney Lake Trust to use the facility.
But these courses are still good value at £55, and include a day's coaching, all the best equipment and lunch! (Also, the
DULWICH THE 'COOL' VENUE!
It's been suggested that I plug Dulwich as a good venue, by the gang I've been teaching there. At the moment we're doing a weekday lesson there each week (Tuesday morning), and I hope to add more sessions. It's a really good fun group, and a lovely venue, 5 mins by bike from Herne Hill Station, Thameslink.
For details of class sessions at Dulwich, Dorney Lake, Hyde Park and Richmond Park, see http://www.rollerski.co.uk/class.html
ROWING WORLD CHAMPS SUCCESS FOR BRITISH XC SKIER
REPORT ON BRITISH ROLLERSKI CHAMPS 2007, HUNTLY
ROLLERSKI CLUB AUTUMN PROGRAMME
All proficient rollerskiers are invited to join - http://www.rollerski.co.uk/clubprog.html
We're more geared up for skating rollerskiing, but classicists are welcome!
RETURN OF ALAN EASON
Alan Eason is on his way back from
We look forward to Alan's return, and he'll be coaching some club sessions and advanced courses.
Good luck planning your season and see you soon,