Cross-Country Ski news - 12/8/9
Concept 2 Ski Erg - new XC Ski machine

Concept 2, the inventors of the hugely successful rowing ergometers, has just launched a new cross-country ski machine.

This is the company's first departure from rowing, but not a move into the unknown. The family who set up the business are keen Nordic skiers, and Ethan Dreissigacker, the son of one of the founders, is a member of the US Biathlon Team. They started work on a design for a cross-country ski poling machine back in the 1980s, and the machines have been developed with help from some of the US's best skiers and biathletes.

For this reason, the SkiErg claims the same level of design integrity that has made the rowing ergometer such an essential part of every rower's training. The company has lent machines to the British Biathlon Development Squad in Scotland and is showing the equipment at the Ski & Snowboard show this autumn. It's possible to rig two or more machines together to have double poling races, and there is a 'biathlon' type training game.

This is an exciting development for cross-country skiing as a sport in the UK, as there is the potential to see 'cross-country skiing' in every gym in the country.

Would we buy one? Probably not, if we were spending our own money. One big disadvantage is that you can only do 'double poling' with both arms together, and not 'single poling' with alternate arms. Perhaps future models will have two mini-fans rather than one large one, to allow for this. It is also extremely expensive - £1,105. We'd probably save ourselves £1,085 and buy a set of resistance bands from Argos, which give a similar workout. For the skier who has everything, though, it's a solidly made gadget which offers a decent workout when it's too much hastle to go rollerskiing.

We'd definitely use it occasionally and we'd strongly lobby our local gym to get several. As much to see some comical double pole techniques as anything else...


Concept II SkiErg page

Video of the machine in action