Skating for speed: Incredible Nordic Blades
When you’re skating long distance outdoors you start to realize that hockey skates just don’t cut it anymore. Hockey skates are made for quick stop and gos within a confined space. When you’re outdoors on a 400m skating oval, a large lake or canal, or even deep within a multi-event winter race, speed is the name of the game. Here is where Nordic Skatescome in.
Nordic skates are very long and narrow skating blades that attach to a X-Country ski boot. It’s essentially a beast that sorta in between a hockey skate and a speed skating skate. The longer and narrower blade means that you’ll go faster than hockey skates, all while maintaining the flexibility and form of Skate X-Country Skiing. A big plus for me was during thePentathlon des Neiges (5 event continuous winter pentathlon) as not only did it allow me to go faster but also go directly from skiing to skating simply by uncoupling my skis and slapping on the blades for a quick transition. The top photo is actually from the 2011 Pentathlon and was taking after 12km of biking in snow, a 6km run, a 9km ski and now I’m on my 9km skate (plus 6km of snowshoe running afterwards). Needless to say, I’m already in pretty rough shape!
Now, back to the skates, as you can see from the pictures below, they are quite long. Mine are 45 cm but they can go from a range of 40-55 cm. Longer is obviously faster but also less maneuverable. The blades are also half the width of hockey skates.
As for the attachment to the X-country skiing boots, the blades themselves can be attached to pretty much any standard skate X-country skiing binding. I use Salomon Pilot SNS’ for mine. As such, they attach to the corresponding boot system just like your skis would. As you can see, like X-country skis, they are NOT attached at the back, enabling you to flex your forefoot during each stride, thereby lifting your heel, and gaining more power.
The skates (minus binding and boots) are about $100 from Nordicskater.com. They have some higher end ones that are made of “harder” steel and therefore stay sharp longer but they cost a bit more.
So, if you’re interesting in going fast, like to X-Country ski and are skating in wide open spaces, you should check out Nordic Skates.
** On a side note: Thanks to Peter for contributing his photography posts to the blog. They are very informative, fun and practical. I look forward to seeing more from him soon. Also, if you want to pick up a patch just donate $5 to the cause using the donate button on the right hand side. You can use your Paypal account or if you don’t have Paypal simply your credit card via Paypal’s service. It’s 100% secure so you don’t have to worry. Be sure to write your address in the “notes” and I’ll ship you one right away!