Brett Rutledge stopped by in late 2014 to get some new wheels for his composite XL98’s. His visit is the reason for this story. Damage to roller skis is usually a result of newbie’s and their poor technique. On skate skis we have seen people edge so much that the pavement hitting the forks ground them to where they disintegrated. We hardly ever see abnormal wear on skis used by good skiers. Bill Knight weighs about 220 pounds and is over the weight limit for our roller skis, but he skis smoothly and has never broken or damaged a V2 roller ski. We have lots of examples of how good technique can make a difference, but think the best example is Brett Rutledge and I am positive he does not mind me telling this story.
In 1993 Brett visited our facility, which at that time was located on Northern Boulevard in Amherst NH. Brett is very fit and an extremely good bicycle racer. He wanted to enter free style XC races and decided to buy a pair of V2-850’s. A week later Brett stopped by because he needed new wheels. In just 12 hours he had destroyed his wheels. I had never seen anything like it. Also noticed that the wheel forks were damaged. The street we were on is a dead-end street and a one-mile section includes a 150meter gradual hill. After replacing his wheels we went down to the hill because I wanted to watch Brett ski up the hill. He was all legs with no arm power and he looked like a beginner herring boning up a hill. Instead of the wheels being somewhat perpendicular to the pavement, they were closer to parallel. Suggested that he get technique lessons from Steve Poulin, who at that time worked in Waterville Valley.
That was 1993. When Brett stopped by two weeks ago he told me that he had now qualified for the A group for the 2015 Birkie. When I looked at his skis they looked brand new. Not a scrape mark anywhere and I asked him when he bought them. He thought it was 2010 and Robin looked on the computer and confirmed that’s when he bought the skis. I showed everybody at our facility Brett’s skis and said. “This is what skis look like when you have proper technique.” Brett trains a lot and most of his training is in steep terrain, but now he only has to replace the wheels once a year.