Keep Your Ski Game Strong This Off-season

Robin Terry in Annecy, France
Robin Terry in Annecy, France

When the snow melts and the asphalt appears, more and more skiers are reaching for K2 inline skates to keep their legs fit and technique on lock.  K2 Skates pro Juan Mosqueda fills you in on technique to get you started, and we’ve complied the best K2 skates to keep your ski game strong and mental game sharp.

Pro Tips from K2 Ambassador Juan Mosqueda

Juan Ripping Fakie
Juan Ripping Fakie

First you must realize you have to really learn to skate in order to really take advantage of the fitness aspect of skating.  Like skiers who work countless hours on ski technique, you need to learn all the basics so you can really focus on your form, and get what you need out of your skates.  And you’re not feeling like your skates are taking you for a ride.

Take your time learning how to skate.  I was about ten years old when I started skating.  Back then it was all about having fun.  We skated so much; playing tag, racing, bombing hills. We skated so much that our skates became extensions of our minds through our feet.

As adults its super easy to rush things, get frustrated and quit to revert to our old ways because its easier, but deep down its not what we want.

Marathon skates are great when you want to train for long distance activities like ski touring.
Marathon skates are great when you want to train for long distance activities like ski touring.
#1 Take your time and have fun with it.

This is a zero pressure activity 😉 .  Give yourself a break and realize its totally cool to take YOUR time learning.  I promise you if you do this, you won’t fail and will be so stoked as to how good you will get at skating. Just put it the time and learn at your pace.

Cross-Training Skates offer a great balance for ripping trails and keeping your core and legs strong.
Cross-Training Skates offer a great balance for ripping trails and keeping your core and legs strong.
#2 Get properly fitted for your skates.

This is probably the most important factor for the long term. When you begin to skate you might get cramps, pressure points, and over all soreness. You are working muscles in a whole new way and this is totally normal and will go away as your skates break in and you get used to them.

However just like ski boots, if they do not fit properly, these ailments might never go away. Take your time trying them on, wear them in the shop or indoors for as long as you can. Take out the insoles and SEE how they fit your feet. Most shoes I wear a 10 size shoe. K2’s have such a precise fit and design my skates are 9.5. Smaller skates means less weight. and I love that.

The K2 Sodo is an excellent skate for freeride skiers; it's big wheels and rockered frame creates the perfect balance of stability and agility.
The K2 Sodo is an excellent skate for freeride skiers; it’s big wheels and rockered frame creates the perfect balance of stability and agility.
#3 Lessons and watch videos

Ask your skate shop, check Craigslist, and YouTube.

Get some insight, some direction.  No need to do it alone.  Skating is so much more fun with other skaters.  I have yet to meet a skater who has not been more than happy to help out a new skater.  Look into it.

K2 Pro Richard Williams is an awesome role model and has helped countless skaters get into the sport.
K2 Ambassador Richard Williams is an awesome role model and has helped countless skaters get into the sport.
#4 Schedule that skate time, and stick to the plan.

Only time will get you to where you want to be.  Find a chill spot to learn, take some music, a friend, and have fun! Set some goals and shred it!
K2 ripper Erik Bill knows a thing or two about finding sick spots, having a good time with friends and enjoying skating to the fullest!

Now that K2 pro Juan Mosqueda has schooled you on the best approach, follow this link to look at our Buyer’s Guide.  It will let you know everything you need to get in the game. Also, don’t miss our tips to Get Ready for Summer Skating and Guide to Staying Safe.  Both will make skating the best part of your summer.

K2 101: Inline Skate Buying Guide

Inline Skate Buying Guide

Skating is so much fun; and we’re sure that K2 has the perfect skate for you. But which skate should you choose? To help get you rolling, our team of experts put together a comprehensive skate buying guide that should answer all of your questions.

How should my skate fit?

Inline skates should fit like a comfortable pair of running shoes. Properly fitted skates shouldn’t be overly tight, but should limit the amount of foot movement inside the boot to reduce the chance of getting “hotspots” or blisters.

Visit a K2 Skates authorized dealer or any reliable shoestore to measure your foot using a Brannock Device and get a good idea of what size skate is best for you.

Why does wheel size matter?

Simply put, bigger wheels roll faster and are more challenging to control.  Wheels are measured by their diameter in millimeters, and most skaters begin skating on smaller wheels (<84mm).  Every K2 Skates frame lists the largest wheel size that will work with that skate, so when you’re ready to try a larger wheel size you will know the max size your skate can accommodate.

What’s up with rockered frames?

Rockered frames allow you to set the individual wheels of the skate at different heights, adding a customizable feel. Typically, beginner skaters don’t utilize this feature at first, but every skater should play with their setup to find what works best for them.

This comprehensive article from our friends over at Inline Planet goes in-depth about the pros and cons of common rockered setups.

What about bearings?

Generally speaking, bearings with a lower number are manufactured at a lower tolerance and are a bit less smooth (read: slower) than their higher-rated counterparts. However, all K2 Skates are designed with bearings that can be upgraded or replaced.

Now, which skate should I choose?

Inline Skate Buying Guide: Fitness Category
Fitness Category

Fitness Skates are our most popular category, and if you’re just getting into inline skating, this is a great place to start. Fitness Skates are well ventilated, feature 80mm and 84mm wheels, and are best for casual cruising on paths with friends or short-to-medium distance training sessions.

Check out models: Alexis | F.I.T.

Inline Skate Buying Guide: Aggressive Category
Aggressive Category

Aggressive Skates are freestyle focused, feature smaller wheels for maximum maneuverability and agility, and frames that are built for sliding and grinding. If your goals include skating ramps, rollers, jumps, rails, or ledges, these are the skates for you.

Check out models: Front Street  | Unnatural

Inline Skate Buying Guide: Lifestyle Category
Lifestyle Category

Lifestyle Skates emphasize street style and durability, feature 80mm wheels (besides the SODO, which features 100mm wheels), and are perfect for skaters of all abilities who prefer a more urban look and feel. Picture hanging out with friends, drinking milkshakes, and cruising the city streets.

Check out models: Midtown | Broadway | Uptown | Sodo

Inline Skate Buying Guide: X-Training Category
X-Training Category

X-Training Skates feature 90mm and 100mm wheels, increased ventilation, and are designed for skaters who focus on higher speeds, miles logged, and calories burned. Beginners typically don’t learn on X-Training Skates, as the larger wheels are more difficult to maneuver. As a beginner, we recommend upgrading to this type of skate once you’re comfortable on skates from the Fitness or Lifestyle lines.

Check out models: VO2

Inline Skate Buying Guide: Marathon Category
Marathon Category

The ultimate for distance and speed, Marathon Skates are generally best for advanced skaters who hammer out long training sessions and love high speeds on open trails. These skates feature 110mm or 120/125mm wheels, high-end bearings, and premium uppers (boots) to create the ultimate distance tool.

Check out models: MOD 110 | MOD 125

What should I do if I still have questions about which skate is right for me?

With years of knowledge and experience, your neighborhood K2 Skates authorized dealer is the best bet when it comes to selecting the right inline skates for your needs. Plus, they live and breath skating and would love for you to stop in and chat with them.

Not close to any shops? Shoot us your question over on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll see what we can do to get you rolling.

Happy skating!


P.S. Want the latest updates on products, contests, and events? Sign up to receive emails from K2 Skates and always be the first to know.

Welcome to the Team!

Erik Bill | Nicholas Lee Swan Photo
Erik Bill | Nicholas Lee Swan Photo

Next up, please welcome Erik Bill to #teamk2skates. From Boise, Idaho, Erik is passionate about skating and sharing it with as many people as he possibly can, for both fun and well-being. Watch Erik’s unique Welcome edit below | Nicholas Lee Swan photo/video

 

We’re happy to be welcoming French skater Thomas Lieurey to #TeamK2skates! Thomas skates in the K2 Unnatural and K2 Midtown skates 💪

Thomas Lieurey | Laurent Dezeque Photo
Thomas Lieurey | Laurent Dezeque Photo

Check out Thomas’ Welcome to the Team Edit and stay tuned for more! 🙌

Camera: Sylvestre Simo and Yoann Alissoutin

Edit: Arsène Jurman

Music: Doctor Flake – Amélie

Get Ready for Summer Skating!

Get the best advice from our ambassadors to keep your skates looking good and rolling fast!

Preston Villanueva

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.02.27 PM

  1. Make sure all my wheels are rolling smooth. Clean, smooth rolling bearings. I always check to make sure my wheels don’t need to be rotated.
  2. I like to have all straps for my K2s, so I usually replace the buckle with a new velcro strap.
  3. I change out the footbed to Superfeet. Although, the K2 footbed is really nice as well.

Manuel Rodriguez

Manuel’s Top 5 Must Haves.

K2 Ambassador Manuel Rodriguez “Top 5 Must Haves” from Manuel Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Juan Mosqueda

Juan’s Skate Care Tips

First off, I maintain my skates and keep them at “new status” as best as I can. Meaning I take of my wheels and bearings, keep them clean. That doesn’t mean I don’t go through dirt, sand, grass what have you. I do whatever I have to do when I’m skating. I don’t thrash my skates, but I don’t baby them either and when I get home I clean them up.

Most of the time they just need a wipe down. As dirt and stuff builds, it works it’s way into the bearings and boots. So it’s important to get at that stuff right away. If you have access to air compressor, or canned air for cleaning electronics is great for keeping your skates clean. 

tony2 k2 bob-2

Once I spray the skates down, I’ll take out the wheels out one at a time and with a mild spray de-greaser and a rag, will wipe out all of the frame and hubs of the wheels, getting the outsides of the bearings. At this point I inspect the bearings to see if anything got in. Blasting the air normally gets it and drop in a few drops of bearing lube, call it good to go. I do this every 2-3 skate sessions, but do variations of it pending each session. 

If I know the night before I’m going for skate the next day, I’ll do a quick inspection. Make sure bolts are tight, wheels are rolling fast and freely. if they need a rotation, ill bust it out real quick. 

Next is packing up my backpack. I always bring a pair of shorts, at least one pair of clean socks and a some sort of sweatshirt and t-shirt. So many skate sessions turn into a hang after, it’s nice to get out of sweaty socks and what not. Fresh shorts after a skate is never a bad idea. Morning of I grab snacks, fill up my water bottle with ice water and have a good stretch.

juan 1 k2 bob-2

I also always carry spare wheels, bearings, hardware, wax and swag. In my heyday i would carry full sets of brand new wheels and what not. I was always getting free stuff, and whatever I didn’t need I would pass on to those who did. And I still do what i can to this day!

Enter below to win a pair of the all-new K2 Unnatural Skates! Full contest rules right here.

Mod 110 Giveaway

We’re giving away a pair of MOD 110 Skates! Enter below for your chance to win.

MOD110 Giveaway

mod-110-2017_white-red *Contest entry is only open to those who are residents of US or Canada* Full contest rules here.

Marathon Tips

longmount1

Eddy Matzger is a marathon skating legend and currently runs SkateFarm Thailand; one of the most unique and beautiful skate getaway destinations. After over 30 years and countless wins, Eddy has compiled his top 10 marathon skate tips!

Words by Eddy Matzger: I hate to admit it, but after almost 30 years of professional racing I’ve made so many pre-competition mistakes that you’d think I was still a rookie. Perhaps by telling you about some of my most memorable bloopers, you can avoid telling a similar tale and instead have the greatest marathon storybook finish ever.

1. Tighten your axles (and frame mounts)

Even if you carry a skate tool while racing, you’ll probably lose time and be out of luck if an axle comes loose, unless you’re an expert mechanic on the fly. My front axle jiggled loose one year at the Big Sur Marathon in California. Despite repeated efforts to hand tighten it and even attempts at taking stickers off my helmet and covering the axle holes, the bolt came out and my front wheel bounded away over the cliff. Thanks to my coach Dianne Holum ruthlessly pounding the concept of the heel push into my body and brain, I was able to limp to the finish and even sprint for the win. That wouldn’t be possible anymore these days though.

2. Don’t forget your helmet.

In the fog and daze of jet lag one year I forgot to put my helmet in the trunk of the car. When I arrived in Two Harbors there was no time to go back and get it. It seemed like I was doomed to be DQ’d. But Glen Koshi of Paradise saved the day by commandeering the helmet from one of the motorcycle race officials for me! This was in spite of the fact that he had racers who were direct competitors of mine!

3. Don’t forget your socks.

It’s not the end of the world, but forgetting your socks on race day can turn your heels into ground round if you’re not used to skating barefoot! I’ve made this very slip-up before. Now I always remember to pack my lucky socks, a pair of Asphalt Beach cycling socks. They are a little thinner than the socks I normally wear, which allows me to tighten my skates a little bit more than normal without totally cutting off circulation. I’ve got my purple pair in the bag already!

4. Set your watch (or your alarm) to the correct time so you don’t miss the start.

One year I drove all night to get to a race in Las Vegas and fell asleep in the car waiting for the start! The start gun woke me up and it took 9 out of 10K to work my way through 1000 skaters to get to the front!  Many of us are flying in from afar, and some from totally different time zones, so get in the right zone. You don’t want to wake up and think you have all the time in the world because your watch is set to Pacific or Mountain Standard Time!

5. Test your laces the day before.

Imagine my horror one year about one minute before the start when I decided to cinch my skates up another notch and broke my laces at the top eyelet! These were the days before ratchet buckles as well. All I could do was quickly pull them out of two holes on one side and tie them up the best I could, minus a bunch of ankle support!

6. Wear appropriate clothing.

Back in 1988 I actually won the first race I ever entered, a 50K in Malibu, California, wearing 5-wheel inline “skeelers”, Mexican shorts, and a tank top. Many skaters, like the Muse brothers, were still in quads but sporting their team USA skinsuits.  I got disqualified because of the fine print in the waiver which said that tank tops were not allowed!  To race director Jonathan Seutter’s credit however, he was just trying to make the top echelons of skate racing look more professional. Luckily the Northshore marathon encourages costumed skaters and even rewards them!  Long live tank tops and That said, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a pair of arm warmers and tights in case the mercury decides to dip to 37 degrees Fahrenheit like it did one year!

7. Pack your skates!

One time I inadvertently left my skates in Boston and had a 10K race in New York’s Central Park. When I realized my error, it was already too late to retrieve them, so I had to skate the race in my short wheelbase recreational skates. My competitors were licking their chops at the start line thinking they were going to have some easy pickings, but New York’s strongest at the time, Remy Chait, only managed a not so close second place. There’s no way I could get away with shenanigans like that any more these days!

8. Don’t get lost in selfie mode

Back before selfies were fashionable, I used to carry a video camera at all times and film before, during and after races. Looking through the lens I rarely took the time to look down and notice the pavement or other obstacles. At the start of the Northshore one year I tripped over electrical cords taped to the pavement and hit the pavement so hard it burst the bursa of my left elbow and drew blood too. If only I had been more aware of my surroundings, I wouldn’t have had to be in pain before the race even started!

9. Think Safety (pins)!

I used to wait until the last minute to put on my race number, until I forgot to bring my safety pins one year and had to tuck my number in my shorts and pull it out as I went over the finish. Now I affix my numbers to my uniform the night before, as well as attach my timing chip to my skate securely.

10. Leave your worries behind. 

When I didn’t have hundreds of races under my belt yet, I would be a bundle of nerves and pull up to the start line feeling like I had forgotten everything my coach had ever taught me. As soon as the race started I was in the moment and forgot about all the fretting, but I had wasted a lot of nervous energy and had less to give during the race. Now I spend the time before a race thinking about all the good moments I had training and all the times I felt strong. I channel all that good energy and visualize a great race where I stay with every surge and have legs that never tire. May we all have a race like that this coming Saturday!

Safety First! Why it matters.

We always hear it from friends, family, and well, everyone. Wear a helmet! While this may get old, they’re definitely right. Keeping your brain and the rest of your body healthy and happy is way cooler than not being able to live your life to the fullest because of an injury. Here’s a few examples from some of our athletes where they were glad to be wearing safety gear!

1: Joey McGarry

2: Rich Parker

3: Jimmy Spetz

4: Rich Parker (again)

So check out our helmets and pads, we’ve got different styles for all whether you’re an aggressive inline ripper or a trail-loving speedster.