How to Rollerskate Downhill safely? Guide for Newbie to Pro

Ask regular skaters what they fear most about skating downhill. That is difficult to stop downhill, because many of the same stopping techniques that you use on flat roads may not work. This is what makes it even more frightening for some of the skaters.

However, it’s not scary to stop on your roller skates going downhill. It’s actually more fun than you could imagine. To stop roller skates from going downhill, use both your toes. This may seem a bit confusing, but I’ll explain it in detail in this article. 

Before I show you how to stop your roller skates from going down the hill you will need to know how to go downhill. This is your chance to master this skill if you have been wanting to. So, let’s get started.

What is Downhill Skating?

I’ll try to explain what is downhill skating for beginners.

Downhill skating, is an advanced skill in roller skating, involves rolling down long slopes like hills and downhill roads. While rolling, the skater maintains a high speed. They must also be able stop or slow down quickly.

Your Wheels Will Roll by Themselves – This Is the Thrill Of Downhill Skiing.

What Skills are Required to Skate Downhill?

Downhill skating requires advanced skills. 

This means you will need to have some additional skills and tricks before you can even consider rolling down a slope. 

You can skip this section if you are familiar with these techniques.

However, this is a comprehensive tutorial so I’ll be explaining the details.

It takes practice to become proficient at these skills. Practice, practice, and practice until you feel comfortable with the techniques.

These are the essential skills to have before you attempt to skate on a slanted surface.

Good Balance Skating Forwards

Good balance is essential when skating forwards. Balance is all about the weight distribution and posture. Once you have this down, your balance will improve quickly.

Here are some tips to get a great forwards balance.

  • Staggering your feet – This means that one leg is in front of the others. This will increase your base and evenly distribute your weight in all directions. This reduces the chance of you falling over due to excess weight in one direction only.

  • Lunging and bending the knees – This is important if you’re not skate in a straight line. This helps you stay balanced, which is particularly important for downhill skating.

  • Keep your weight forwards – If you are moving forwards, then your momentum is going backwards. You can counter this by keeping your weight slightly ahead.

  • Keep your heels pressed – Outdoor skating is a lot of bumps and pebbles. You don’t want your feet to slip while you are skating downhill.

When you start skating, balance is the most important thing you will need to master. Don’t try to skate downhill if you don’t know how to move forwards. It can be super dangerous.

Good Balance Skating Backwards

Rolling forward and backward is the exact same thing. There are some subtle differences in the technique.

The steps are almost identical to forwards skating. There are only a few minor differences.

  • Staggering your feet – Place one foot in front and the other in a scissor position.

  • Bend your knees and lunge. – bend a little bit of your knees and put most of your weight on the front foot.

  • Keep your weight forwards. You need to keep your weight forwards and roll backwards. You’re likely to experience a serious fall if your weight falls backwards.

  • Press the toes – Now press your toes but not so hard that you slip headfirst.

  • Look backwards – When you are skating outside or downhill, it is important to look at where you are going. It’s not a good idea to bump into someone or a vehicle.

Pushing

Pushing is a way to push your feet forwards, or paddling. This is the foundation of roller skating. It’s a crucial skill for downhill skaters.

Here are the steps.

  • Lift one leg and place your weight on the opposite leg.

  • Push the leg outwards into the ground.

  • Now, place the pushing leg on the ground and continue the process with the other leg.

It takes practice and patience. Because It will takes a few weeks to get used to it.

Toe Stop

When it comes to downhill, toe stops and turn-around toe stop are all lifesavers. 

Before you can hit the hills, it is important to master all aspects of stopping.

The toe stop is the first. Here’s how to do it.

  • Bend your knees.

  • Increase your balance on one foot

  • Transfer your weight to one leg.

  • Lift the other foot behind you.

  • Point your roller skates’ heels inwards.

  • Drag the toe stop with the ground.

  • Do not drag too much, otherwise you will fall.

  • Do not drag too soft, as it will be difficult to stop.

A perfect toestop requires the perfect angle of tilt, perfect balance on the one leg, and perfect pressure against the draggingfoot.

This is the hardest braking technique for beginners. It takes some practice to get used to. Once you get the hang it, it is quite simple.

Turn-Around Toe Stop

Downhill roller skating requires the use of the turn-around heel stop. It is safe to say that 50 percent of downhill skating takes place in this area.

The turn around toe-stop is a variation to the toe-stop, but in which you are going backwards.

  • While skating backwards, bend your legs and lunge.

  • Stagger your feet and keep one leg in front of the other.

  • Lift your heels and drag your toe stop on the back of the roller skate.

This will reduce your speed and prevent your skates rolling further.

That’s it. This one is a little easier than the usual toe stop. It’s also very useful for speed skating, outdoor, and downhill skating.

Other Stops

When you’re out on the streets, other roller skating stops are also very helpful. Your speed will be very high when you are roller skating downhill. 

You should have a variety of techniques in your arsenal to help you stop quickly if you need to.

Other useful stops include:

  • T stops

  • Plow stops

You should know how you can stop before you get on the slopes.

Speed Control

You don’t necessarily want to stop while you coast downhill.

Most times, you just want to maintain your speed at a set of level. You should apply the brakes every 5-10 meters, or more often if necessary. 

You can also apply your brakes continuously but only at half-pressure. This should not be a problem if you have practiced your brakes. You’ll feel more in control if you keep your speed within your comfort zone.

Video Showing How to Roller Skate Downhill

How to Safely Roller Skate Downhill?

This is the part that we all have been waiting for. Here’s how to skate downhill.

Controlling your speed is the real challenge in downhill roller skating

You need to be able control your speed when you are skating downhill. There are two methods to achieve this.

Backwards Downhill Skating

Believe it or not, rolling downhill backwards is easier and safer than skating forward. Some people might feel the opposite.

Anyways, to roller skate backward.

  • Stand straight, and place one foot in front the other.

  • Keep your weight on your front foot

  • Look backwards.

You won’t have to push or propel yourself, you’ll gain speed naturally.

Controlling The Speed- Turn Around Toe Stop

The turn-around toe stop is useful for backwards downhill. You can lift your back foot and drag the toe stop when you go backwards.

  • The more you put pressure on your feet, the slower you will go.

  • You should apply a lot of pressure to the toe stop if you want to stop completely.

  • If you wish to roll again, you can release the pressure by lunging forward.

  • The more you reduce the angle of inclines, then the greater friction and the greater your stopping power.

  • The turn-around-toe stop is the best way to control speed while downhill skiing.

Forwards Downhill Skating

To skate downhill forwards,

  • Keep your feet staggered.

  • Don’t forget to keep your weight front.

  • Keep your body at a low level.

  • Keep your heels pressed.

You must also be able control your speed. 

Carving is a great way to achieve this.

Carving Speed Control

What is carving, you ask? 

It’s to reduce friction and skate in a snake-like fashion, carving is what you do.

This is how to carve like a pro.

  • Make a serpent-like motion by turning one direction, then the other.

  • Your left foot will be in front if you turn left.

  • When you turn right, your right foot will be in front your left.

  • Continue to move your feet, in the direction of turning left to right and left.

  • The front legs indicate the direction to turn.

  • The friction between the back legs and the ground creates the necessary friction for slowing down and eventually stopping.

  • Push out with your back leg to create friction

Congratulations! You’re a decent downhill skater if you have done all of the above.

What Equipment do I Need to Roller Skate Downhill?

Indoor wheels are not allowed for skating downhill. It’s a death wish. Toe stops are important when you’re skating down a hill.

The equipment you require is:

  • Outdoor wheels

  • New or large toe stops – Toe stops should be fastened tightly to your roller skates.

That’s it.

Safety Precautions

We have to admit it. It’s dangerous, even though downhill roller skate is fun and exciting. You must take every safety precaution to minimize your risk.

Wear Your Helmet

Head injuries can cause serious injury. You should always wear a helmet while roller skating downhill.

Here are some reason to wear your helmet while skating downhill:

  • Pebbles, cracks and rocks can appear anywhere surprising you.

  • Sometimes the roads can be very bumpy.

  • Speed can be very high.

  • There may be people and cars on the roads.

  • There is a great risk of losing your control, falling backwards and hitting the head.

Wear Your Knee Pads

The other most important piece of safety gear for roller skating is the knee pads. They prevent the most serious injuries from occurring. 

Your knees will take the most damage if you fall at an annormal angle.

The Knee Slide is a Great Option for Emergency Stopping

Suppose you’re rolling downhill. 

After a while, your speed increases to the point that your skates are unable to handle. To stop using T-stop, toe stop, and so on would take a long time. 

You want to stop immediately. 

But what should you do?

If thats the case, You can use the knee slide mathod. 

This is a kind of emergency stop. Roller derby players usually use knee slide mathod to stop.

To perform the knee slide, you will need to have your knee pads on. 

This is how to do it.

  • Bring your knees forward and prepare to slide down into the knees.

  • Get down on your knees and press them against the ground.

  • You should be slightly heavier than you are now.

  • Don’t bump your knees into the ground directly from the top. You want the slide to be as smooth and easy as possible.

It’s the knee slides.

Your Mindset

Even if you’ve got great equipment and scouted the hill, it won’t make a difference if you go out and skate like a reckless maniac. 

Keep your eyes and ears wide open if you see occasional car traffic. 

When a car passes you, you should get close to the curb so they know that you are there.

Be aware of intersections, stop lights, and pedestrian crossings.

It’s a good idea to have other skaters looking out for traffic upstream and downstream. While I don’t advocate having hordes or skaters on a hill is a bad thing, it’s important to watch out for your fellow skaters if you are going to be downhill skating together.

How to Choose a Suitable Location

It is necessary to have a spot for downhill roller skating. Here’s how downhill skating generally works.

  • Less traffic means safer.

  • The wider the slope, the more safer.

  • Smoother slopes are safer

  • It will be easier for you to control your movement if the slope is shallow.

It would be hard to maintain your speed on steep slopes. This would make it more dangerous.

For beginners, choose a slope or road.

  • Empty (no traffic, no people).

  • Wide

  • Smooth

  • Free of rocks and pebbles

  • Shallow (less steep).

Remember to Warm Up Before You Skates Downhill

Warming up prior to skating will increase your strength, speed and agility. 

It increases blood flow, makes muscles flexible, and decreases the chance of them becoming torn or strained. It reduces the chance of injuries. 

However, if you don’t warm-up, you can cause strain to your muscles. 

So, you might be asking yourself: What are the exercises that can help to tone your core, thighs, build strength, balance, and improve your flexibility?

Although skating is an exercise in itself, warm-ups are necessary to prepare your body for it.

Slide Lunges

Side lunges can be used to warm up your thighs. This is also a great exercise for warming up after a long day of skating. Step to the side and then squat down. Move from one side to the other by extending your shoulders.

Glute Stretch

This is a must-do before you start skating. You can tone your hips and buttocks with a glute stretch. 

Concentrate your weight on one leg and bend your knees, Cross your other leg over the one with the concentrated weight. Then bend to stretch. Repeat the process with the other leg.

Balance on One Foot

This will improve your skating balance. 

Lean forward, bend your left or right knee and raise the other leg. This is where you want to remain balanced on one leg for as long as possible. 

You can repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Skating requires that you stretch your hamstring. 

Stand on both feet, bend, and leap forward at the waist while keeping your legs straight. Reach out to your toes, until you feel your hamstrings stretched.

Skate Position

This exercise is about taking up the skating position. Simple right? 

It’s not simple if you’ve never done it before. This exercise is great for your glutes and hamstrings, shoulders and lower back. This exercise requires you to stand straight on your feet with your feet apart.

Next, bend your knees at approximately 45 degrees. Then, lift one leg to the side.

Keep your knees bent throughout. 

To avoid falling, slowly bring the extended leg back. Then switch to the opposite leg. 

This exercise can be done with your skates on.

Single-Leg Squats

It is similar to balancing on just one foot. This exercise will tone your quadriceps, cores and muscles in your calves, and hamstrings. 

Standing straight on one leg, keep your hands on your hips. Slowly extend the other leg by slowly bending your knee on the other leg.

Then, lower your body to 45 degrees. Push yourself up while you are in this position. Repeat the process on the opposite leg.

Lower-Back Booster

Roller skating can cause a lot of strain on your back. 

The booster workout will strengthen the hip muscles, hamstrings, and keep your lower back strong. 

Keep your hands on your hips, and bend your knees to 45 degrees. 

Keep your torso in this position for a few seconds, then return back to its normal position.

Now, Relax!

When you feel confident, you can relax while you are downhill. Relaxing is more than a Zen practice or a fashion statement. Unexpected bumps and debris can cause you to trip or even wipe out.

It is important to keep your mind relaxed. Relaxation can improve your body’s ability to respond to unexpected bumps and debris.

Conclusion

It’s fun to skate down the hill. You don’t have to be scared of going down the hill, or even of stopping. I have shared my downhill techniques, and I am confident that they will work for you, if you follow the instructions.

Never stop learning and never stop skating. You will learn many techniques and skills along the way, and you might even be able to use one in your own adventure.

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