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Learn About Nordic Inline Skating

Nordic Skating is Cross-Country Skiing Without Snow


Nordic inline skating is also called cross-skating or Nordic blading. One of many unusual inline skating styles, this is a unique off-road skating activity that combines snow skiing and inline skating. As the name suggests, Nordic inline skating activities were developed in Finland. In Germany and Northern Europe Nordic inline skating popularity is growing because of the range of fitness benefits. This inline skating discipline usually requires sport specific skates and special poles that the skater pumps like ski poles to make the skates go faster. Nordic skaters use a technique very similar to the technique that cross-country skiers use, and Nordic inline skating is the cross-country skiing of roller sports.

Nordic Skate Equipment

Cross-skates or other Nordic skating equipment are usually built on a long rail or frame and are designed to provide much more stability than traditional inline skates. Nordic skates have all-terrain wheels - sometimes pneumatic - which are attached to the frames. These skates are often a lot heavier in weight and more awkward looking than traditional inline skates. The frame design often accommodates a firm ski-type boot that clips or binds onto them. Nordic skates permit a skater to skate around wide curves like an inline skater or skier.

Nordic Skating Poles

Skaters glide on their special cross-skates while pumping their arms with Nordic poles as if they are skiing. This pole pumping is a similar style to what is used for cross-country walking, builds upper body strength, increases the number of calories burned, adds speed to the Nordic skating, and even offers extra support in skating and stopping maneuvers for skaters who want to use the poles to assist with balance.

Nordic Benefits

If you have the necessary equipment, you are ready to try dry-land cross-country skiing at any time of year. Whether you are a new skater seeking an aerobic fitness activity or a seasoned freestyle skier looking for off-season or cross training opportunities, Nordic skating provides a good workout for the majority of the major muscle groups.

  • Nordic skating can be done on almost any surface, on-road or off-road.

  • There are special inline skates for serious Nordic skaters that are like a skate-ski.

  • Most other fitness or off-road skates will also work, depending on the skating surface.

Cross-Skating in Competitions

No standard distances have been established for cross-skating competitive events. So, the distances for competitions are the classical marathon distance of 42.2 kilometers and the half marathon distance. These distances work well on paved surfaces and streets or on off-road areas with terrain that is not very challenging.

The following competition categories are possible:

  • Single competition with mass start or single start
  • Multiple types of relays
  • Skill competitions
  • Biathlon competitions with simplified rules

At this time, Nordic skating is not a big competitive activity. But, many fitness enthusiasts will enjoy the all-around exercise benefits that this discipline has to offer. Inline skating is no longer just for groomed trails and smooth pavement. A cross-skater can cruise along with ease on fairly rough terrain, including wooded areas and over rocky surfaces, using the Nordic poles and specially designed skates. Cross-skating did not begin earning recognition until 2005, although there were pieces of sports equipment that provided the possibility for cross-skating across semi-rugged terrain as early as the 1990s.

Cross-skating provides a way to enjoy the outdoors even during the warmer months for athletes who like cross-country skiing. While providing a great outdoor adventure, cross-skating also provides a wonderful exercise regimen. Any inline skater or cross-training skier who tries it will get quite a full-body workout.

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