Roller Ski Maintenance


Rinsing your roller skis after workouts significantly increases their life and your safety. Photo: Per Arne Baltzersen


Or how about half price roller skis? With proper maintenance, your roller skis last much longer.


Most people know they should glide wax their skis after each workout in the winter. But what about your roller skis? After a long workout, it’s so easy to just dump the roller skis in the garage or the storage shed and forget about them until next time.


“Roller skiing is great practice for skiing, both specific technique and specific strength, but the key to getting the most out of the training time invested, you need to stay upright and injury free,” says Per Arne Baltzersen, head coach of the Norwegian roller ski group Hafrsfjord.


“Taking care of your gear and making sure it’s in working order is a good insurance for equipment mishaps leading to injury, and roller skis are no exception,” Baltzersen points out.


But what do you do to them?
Living in a climate where roller ski season lasts up to 12 months a year, Baltzersen knows what he’s talking about.


While roller ski maintenance is super easy, Baltzersen notices that a lot of skiers have no idea what to do with their roller skis. The result is that they do nothing.


“Do I need to fish out a wrench and an oil can? And how often? And so many people just say: I don’t know what to do, so I don’t dare to touch them,” he says, noting that basic care is a lot simpler than waxing.


“A clean machinery works so much better than a gunky one, and clean skis last a lot longer as the sand and grime wears down moving parts. The most important maintenance is simply clean water,” Baltzersen says.


However, don’t give in to the urge of the power washer. The pressure can damage bearings and seals.


“Just rinse the skis and wheels all over with a water hose or an outdoor tap. It doesn’t take long, but it’s probably the most important step to take in order to care for your roller skis,” he says.


After rinsing, let the skis dry completely, preferably in room temperature or on a heated floor. This helps prevent any rust. Also, try storing the skis at room temperature. Bearings and moving parts just run smoother when stored in a warmer environment than in a cool garage or shed.


When to call the shop
But what about the wrench and the oil can?


“Have a roller ski tech handle the wrench and the oil unless you really know what you’re doing. With tools involved you risk damaging your skis if you’re not careful,” Balzersen warns.


The good thing is that with regular cleaning, your skis will go a long time before they need a tuneup.


“You don’t have to get a tuneup until you feel your roller skis not performing right. For classic skis, the tell tale sign is when the ratchet doesn’t lock, and for any kind of ski when the wheels don’t seem like they spin freely despite cleaning, or make unusual noises,” Baltzersen says.


Finally, try rotating your skis between your left and your right foot. Rotating the skis gives you more even wear on the wheels, and a more stable ski throughout the wheels’ lifetime.


The bottom line:
1. Rinse well
2. Dry completely
3. Store at room temperature
4. Enjoy the dryland season! (Don’t forget helmet and sunscreen)

Bonus: It’s so much more pleasant to grab a set of clean skis when you head out for a workout.