Downhill inline skating is one of many gravity sports, and it is a variation of the inline roller sports that is similar to the Alpine downhill ski racing. The biggest difference is that these racers cover a downhill distance on paved mountain roads using inline skates instead of skis on a snow covered mountain. These skaters reach speeds as fast as 60 miles per hour.
Technical downhill skating requires inline skating down steep city streets. This downhill discipline is done with or without using ski poles and demands perfect turns on each curve of the road to prevent skidding.
Downhill Inline Racing
In downhill inline racing, four to six racers start each race at the same time, so drafting and passing strategies are a very important part of each race. Any athlete who chooses a downhill inline skating discipline should understand that advanced skating skills are required, including turning, braking and balancing at speeds that can easily reach 35mph and in some cases have gone over 75mph.
Downhill Inline Skates
The downhill inline skate comes with a longer frame and large, softer urethane wheels. Downhill skaters ride on these five or six wheeled speed skates, and they also usually wear specially designed protective speed suits with aerodynamic helmets. This equipment helps the racers maintain as much speed as possible and allows them to effectively maneuver on curves. Downhill speed skates do not have brakes, so a variety of stopping and slowing techniques - including slaloming and v-plowing – are used to control speeds.
This discipline of inline skating is not suitable for beginners or recreational skaters. It is important to master high speed balance skills, drafting and excellent stopping skills in order to participate in downhill inline racing activities. Serious speed skating enthusiasts, thrill seekers like Jean-Yves Blondeau and experienced athletes looking for cross training activities for skiing are good candidates for downhill inline skating activities.
Downhill Governing Bodies and Organizations
There are several downhill sports governing bodies and organizations. The International Gravity Sports Association (IGSA) is the world sanctioning body for extreme gravity sports racing, including street luge, downhill skateboarding, classic luge, inline skating and gravity bike events. The International Inline Downhill Association (IIDA) is the organization that was established as the world sanctioning body of inline downhill skating roller sports. The International Downhill Federation (IDF) is a democratic, non-profit organization that regulates and promotes the downhill skateboard racing sports. The International Downhill Racing Association (IDRA) is a grassroots nonprofit organization for downhill street luge and long skateboard enthusiasts.
- Recreational inline skating includes a variety of activities that are suitable for skaters of all ages and many skating levels.
- Inline fitness skating is more goal-oriented skating to achieve medical, mental or physical benefits.
- Street and road skating are organized group events on public thoroughfares and smooth paved roads.
- Speed skating and inline racing are recognized as competitive disciplines around the world.
- Marathon skating events are taking place on every continent.
- Freestyle slalom skating lets you dance and spin around cones.
- Dryland skating or inline figure skating is very similar to ice figure skating.
- Inline hockey skating is a popular year-round sport at amateur, scholastic, and professional levels.
- Inline roller soccer is a unique version of regular soccer.
- Roller cricket athletes play all batting, bowling and fielding positions on roller skates.
- Roll ball is becoming a popular school sport.
- Inline basketball is an easy roller sport to develop.
- Aggressive and stunt skating includes jumps, grinds, slides and flips.
- Urban inline skating is a great activity for young or young-at-heart thrill-seekers.
- Skate cross is an aggressive ramp and obstacle course race on inline or quad skates.
- Off road and all terrain skating combines mountain biking and skiing with inline skating.
- Nordic inline skating is also called cross-skating or Nordic blading.
- Kite skating is an extreme inline-based roller sport.
- Wind skating or skate sailing is a wind powered inline sport.
- Downhill racing is similar to the Alpine downhill ski racing.
You can also get a quick overview of many inline skating sports. If you are not sure that your interests will be dedicated to any one of these specific skating styles, start by building a good foundation in recreational or fitness activities and training. Good basic skills will take you in any direction that you want to roll. If you do not find an inline roller sport that is just right for you, then take a look at the quad skating sports opportunities.