Unless you’re from an extremely flat location, you’ll encounter hills of different shapes and sizes as you skate, at least some of the time. And hills can be terrifying if you’re new to rollerblading. So, is there a safe way to inline skate downhill for beginners?
Related: How to skate uphill on rollerblades
If you’ve never skated downhill before, this post is for you. Peter and Bujie, a pair of enthusiastic skaters who are also members of the Skating Magic team, will today show you how to rollerblade down hills without killing yourself.
A Video Tutorial on How to Rollerblade Downhill
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The five tips and downhill skating strategies will make you a more confident skater while helping you to actually roll your way down the slope to the bottom of the descent.
We’re not here to show you how to get there in record time. We’re here to reveal practical tips that promote personal safety while helping improve your skating.
The number one thing to do when it comes to rollerblading downhill is to wear decent-quality protection. Wear a properly certified helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.
Why? Because some of the worst mishaps that happen in blading take place when people are bombing hills.
In case you’re wondering, the helmet I’m wearing is meant for biking, but you sure can use it for blading. It’s certified to the CPSC 1203 bike safety standards.
If you look at this helmet closely, you’d notice that it doesn’t go as low on the back of the head as skate-specific helmets do.
But it’s certified and I believe it would protect me. I hope I will not find out if it actually is as good as the certification suggests today. A dual-certified skate helmet comes highly recommended, too, as is one built to the ASTM F1492 skate safety standard.
Skates, especially those with bigger wheels such as 100mm or 110mm wheels pick speed pretty fast on all kinds of terrain, but when rolling downhill, the speed can build up extremely fast.
You suddenly lose control and start freaking out, and that’s when the worst happens. I crashed about 2 months ago descending this hill, and it wasn’t pretty. I dived and held onto a shrub and that saved the day. Once you get used to going down a small hill, you can find a slightly steeper one and repeat the process.
As you continue practicing, your fear of fast speeds and steep slopes will lessen substantially. I have mad respect for people like Bujie. I’ve seen him bombing really steep hills and I’m like, ain’t he afraid of death?
Anything can happen when you’re flying down a steep hill. If you’re riding with a skater or two, you know you have someone to look out for you and take care of you should things go south for you.
I prefer skating with people who are way better than me, and Bujue here has been a great help for me. To help me build some confidence around downhill rollerblading, Bujie tells me to stretch my arms out forward and keep the fingers spread out.
If I begin to feel like I’m losing control, the dude is always in front of me skating backwards and ready to stop me with his arms.
This is unconventional, but it works for us. Note: the person doing it should be an expert, and they should be strong enough. Plus it’s not a permanent solution for going downhill as a new skater.
If you’re a beginner or intermediate level skater, chances are you haven’t mastered stopping at high speeds, especially when going downhill. You probably have gotten down the easy-to-do plow stop and can stop with the heel brake.
Unfortunately, neither of these two methods is great for controlling fast speeds. You need to learn better stopping techniques, specifically the T-stop, the powerstop, the soul slide, and the powerslide stop. But these aren’t easy for beginners, and it may take quite a while before you master them. Here’s a video we did recently on 5 ways to stop on inline skates.
Related: How to stop on inline skates
Here’s how I control speed when going downhill. I started skating a few months ago if that helps put things into perspective. I use swizzles or snake my way down the slope, and when things start getting out of hand, I do a quick turn and end up facing uphill.
The trouble with swizzles is that if you put too much energy when the skate is rolling outward, you’ll build up speed pretty quickly. If the speed becomes too much to handle, do a quick safe turn with the foot you’re more comfortable with and you’ll be fine.
When snaking down this hill, I try to make large S-shaped trajectories as I roll down while also doing little slides. Doing this helps slow me down substantially.
The techniques I use going downhill may not be what everyone uses, but they work for me. Look, this is the bottom of the hill. I’m more concerned about my safety than conquering the hill haha. That said, I’ll finetune my stopping technique until I no longer have to use these little tricks to get to the bottom of the descent.
No one becomes excellent at anything without putting in a decent amount of effort. So keep rolling down hills and sooner than later, you’ll get there.
9 Mistakes to Avoid When Inline Skating Downhill
1.Skating downhill when you’ve not learned how to stop without using the brake.
2. Trying to compete with veterans; learn at your own pace and enjoy the thrill.
3. Skating without protective gear. Downhill crashes occur, and they’re the kind likely to cause severe head injuries.
4. Skating alone.
5. Going too fast.
6. Skating steep hills.
7 Not tightening wheel axle nuts before skating.
8. Avoid jumps
9. Don’t skate backwards.
Skating downhill is a dangerous activity and it’s easy to lose control and crash. Be sure to put on protective gear before you start the descent. And try not to skate solo or take on the biggest hills around.
Also, find practical ways to slow down speed such as swizzles and making S-shaped curves as you go down the slope. And if you can get an experienced skater to show you the ropes while providing you with any support you may need, that’d be even better.