Wild Rumpus Sports

Braking on Rollerskis: 3 Quick Fixes

Plow Braking on Rollerskis: 3 Easy Quick Fixes!

A ‘How To’ article by Sindre Wiig Nordby

When you plow brake on rollerskis / how do you get the maximum possible braking power? How do you stop or decrease your speed as fast as possible?

I’m going to help you there. You only have to remember three easy quick fixes.

Yes, they really are easy! When I teach this, we only use about 10 minutes before it is understood and mastered.

All you have to do is read the following three things. Remember that the first one is the most important one to do. It alone stands for about 80 percent of the braking force. So do not move on to the second and third instruction if you haven’t mastered numero uno!

Number 1: Width!!

Look at the picture below to the left and then the one to the right and you’ll get what I mean when I say “width”. Maybe you also recognize yourself in the left picture as well. The muscles on the insides of your thighs should get a real good stretch when you plow brake. Overdo it. As wide as you can! (Unless you happen to be a super duper stretchy acrobat) Practically no one is plow breaking with wide enough legs when they try to brake wide for the first time. And since I won’t be there when you try this, I won’t be able to shout “wider, wider, wider!”, like I always do when I have rollerski courses. Overdo it!

Note: Do not try to angle the skis inward on classic rollerskis. The back wheel will slip out by itself. When you brake on skate rollerskis, you can angle the skis a little bit inward.

Number 2: Stiff ankles!

For goodness sake. Unfortunately many teach that you should have inward bent ankles and level rollerskis. That should be criminalized. The picture of Therese Johaug below is one example of what you should be doing. The picture of Håvard Skorstad is a horrifying example! It is the No. 1 way of increasing the chances of twisting your ankle. Imagine your boot makes contact with the pavement. The boot stops in a fraction of a second and you dive beautifully forward … into the pavement. Not. Good. At. All. It doesn’t even produce as great braking force as you do when you have stiff ankles.

Therese = do. Håvard = don’t!

Number 3: Bend your knees.

This is mostly for safety, like “stiff ankles”. Straight knees is especially dangerous if you hit a small pebble during plow braking. You can get knocked right off balance. Picture a car without shock absorbers. Every single pebble or hole in the pavement will feel 10 times stronger.


In this excellent, to-the-point, 18-second video, you can see Number 2 and 3 shown very well, but the width, which is 80 percent of the braking force, is not good enough. Here I would have shouted, “Wider, wider, wider!”