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Field Reports


Field Reports : Elpex

Name: Jill Troutner
Report Filed: June 1, 2003
Products used: Elpex Off-Road
When: May 2003
Where: Various Locations

Elpex Off-Road Rollerskis can be found at Gear West. It is a classic rollerski designed to handle a non-paved surface. The shaft of the rollerski is similar to the rest of the Elpex, V2 or Pro-Ski shafts; it might be slightly wider but not noticeably so. The big difference is in the wheels. A larger diameter wheel that is wider than a road-ski skating wheel but not as wide as the typical road-ski classic wheel makes this rollerski more suited to classic skiing off-road. The "kick" is in the rear wheel so there is that argument of "too reliable kick" -- but consider the purpose.

For unpaved terrain, a roller ski must have the stability to take a few more terrain risks/challenges without going into a "wheel lock." The width and heaviness of the wheels handles imperfect surfaces with the toughness to go over rocks/sticks/sandy patches without locking up. These rollerskis are ideal on the crushed rock of the Luce Line for a double pole workout. On pavement, they feel like rockets -- too fast and too easy to be a good workout.

If you want to get away from the constraints of asphalt, try snowmobile/logging trails and back-roads that have ruts, sandy wash-outs, and the mostly buried rocks. A downhill is not a problem if you have the alertness to keep you feet moving where it looks tricky. If you are a beginner, a nice hard-pack like the Luce Line is a great place to start off-roading with these skis and get that double-pole training for the next Mora Vassaloppet. On a back road or dirt trail with rough terrain, you need to focus on the "line" you are going to take -- it becomes a mental and physical exercise. The ride is not always smooth, but it's adventurous.

Gear West let me compare the Elpex Off-Road to the V2 Aero Off-Road Ski. The Aero was more suited to rough pavement than gravel roads. If I were rollerskiing on paved and pitted back roads (which we may be seeing more of), I would choose the Aero over a road ski-but not for a non-paved surface. As far as Off-Road Skating goes, I think it is difficult and risky to commit to good skating technique- but somehow 10 miles of classic rollerskiing on gravel roads and logging trails felt like it was closer to the real thing than 10 miles of classic on pavement. You just may start to like classic rollerskiing on these rollerskis.

Jill Troutner is a member of the SkinnySki.com Race Team and coaches with Minnesota Biathlon, as well as working part-time at Acceleration Minnesota.

Thanks to Gear West for supplying the Elpex Off-Roads. More details on this and other Elpex products on the Gear West web site.

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