Can You Automatically Ice Skate If You Can Rollerblade?

Rollerblading and Ice-skating look visually similar if nothing else. It is very natural to wonder if you are proficient in one of them if you could do the other one too. A lot of people switch from one to the other or prefer to do both depending on the season. I am here to answer definitively, can you automatically ice skate if you can rollerblade?

Some of your skills in rollerblading will translate to ice skating. They have similarities but aren’t one to one. You will have an easier time ice skating if you have skills in rollerblading, but the bad habits might translate too.

In this article, I will explain both the similarities and differences between ice skating and rollerblading. I will also try to explain what issues rollerbladers face when ice skating and what to be aware of. I urge that you read the entire article thoroughly to make your transition easier.

Do Rollerblading Skills Translate to Ice Skating?

In theory, they both are the same. They look very similar visually too. You use the forward motion of your steps to go forward while balancing on either a line of wheels or a metallic blade. But they are very different when put to the real-world test. Asphalt does not behave like ice. And wheels do not behave like metal blades.

From movement to balance, turning, and even stopping, there are many differences between the two. On the flip side, there are similarities too. The skills do not translate exactly but they will give you a significant boost and you will have a much easier time learning.

A huge portion of your skills in rollerblading will translate to ice skating. You might not be automatically an expert at ice skating but you will be able to get a head start and learn much faster as a lot of the basics of skating itself will come to you much naturally.

A lot of the techniques for balancing yourself and controlling your motion you are accustomed to in rollerskating you will also find in ice skating. But the harmful part is a lot of the mistakes you often make might transfer too. A lot of self-taught rollerblade skaters have a bit of trouble catching up with some of the basics of ice skating.

You should not be hesitating too much as your skills in rollerblading will not hinder your progress in ice skating. Even despite the differences, you will have a much easier time learning and getting started than someone without any skating skills whatsoever.

Do Roller Blades Help with Ice Skating?

Which One Is Harder?

It’s not exactly a question that can be answered directly. A lot depends on personal preference and skill sets. Someone with skills in one might find the other one very difficult when starting. It is less of a question of difficulty and more of a question of difference. They are in some criteria very different from each other.

But if I do have to decide on which one is harder, it has to be ice skating. We are naturally conditioned to wheels. We all subconsciously know how wheels are supposed to behave going forward. But blades on ice are foreign territory for most people starting to ice skate. The unknown nature of ice skating blades and ice itself makes ice skating a bit harder.

Keep in mind that the unknown nature is where the difficulty comes from. Once you get to know how the blades are supposed to behave you might even find ice skating much easier than rollerblading. A lot of people do. Even the difficulty curve comes from the differences in these two form factors.

In reality, a lot of things are easier in ice skating. Ice skaters find stopping and turning in rollerblading quite hard. It is easier to make tight turns and quick stops in ice skating. Once you do get familiar you do not have to worry so much.

What Are the Similarities?

As I have mentioned before, in principle, inline skating and ice skating are the same. But in practicality, they are not one to one. However, they have a lot of similarities that help a lot of skaters to transition from one to another.

The way you are supposed to keep balance is very similar. Even the falling and learning process is similar too. If you know the basic postures and motions of inline skating you will already know how to keep yourself steady on ice.

The hardest part of skating is learning to keep your balance and posture. If you know how to rollerblade you already have that part of ice skating done. The basics of movement and balance are the same in both of these forms.

What Are the Differences?

The biggest difference is in the motion itself. Most inline skaters move forward step by step similar to how they would in jogging or running. This does not work so well on ice. On the ice, you are supposed to balance on one skate while pushing forward with the other.

Another key difference is turning. Turning on ice is much easier. On rollerblades, your turns are very wide and you cannot make tight turns. In ice skating, turning becomes a lot narrow and tighter. Making tight and quick turns on ice are much easier.

Inline skates usually have breaks where ice skates do not. On ice skating curves or t-stops work well. You can’t do t-stops on rollerblades. This stopping with sideways motion is unique to ice skating.

And the most obvious general difference is the form. Wheels and asphalt are without a question very different from blades and ice. The blade of an ice skate slides and swerves a lot more, leaning on your sides have a lot of impacts when it comes to ice skating. Whereas swerving in rollerblading does not matter as much.

Also read Roller Skating vs. Skateboarding: What’s the difference?

Mistakes Rollerbladers Make When Ice Skating

Most inline skaters make mistakes in the places where it’s different. As I have mentioned earlier, the stopping, turning, and forward motion is quite different. These are the places where the most common mistakes are.

On rollerblades, most people do not learn to skate how they would on ice, although it can be done. The stopping becomes very hard as they have no brakes at all. One thing to keep in mind is that any bad habits you might have in rollerblading might translate over to ice skating as well.

So, if someone has been rollerblading with bad posture or balance and somehow getting away with it, they might suffer a lot when they are on ice. The metal blade is a lot different than a wheel and some of your bad habits might cost you a lot.

Rollerblade skaters also often tend to not take into account how different blades on ice perform compared to what they are used to. You need to keep in mind that you are now not on wheels but blades sliding along a surface.


To wrap it all up, today I discussed that although rollerblading and ice skating are very similar the skills are not a hundred percent transferable. You do get a huge head start in ice skating if you have skills in rollerblading as a lot of the core principles are the same. But be aware as some of your bad habits can transfer and make you suffer as well.

Thank you for reading till the end. I hope I helped answer your question, “Can you automatically ice skate if you can rollerblade?” and any other question that may have come up along with it. Whatever medium of skating you might choose, I wish that you have a good time and best of luck.

Is Roller Skating and Ice Skating the Same?
How to Practice and Get Better at Rollerblading?


Hi there, my name is Tom and I have been roller & inline skating since I was a little kid. Learning the sport at such an early age allowed to me gain a lot of experience and try different types of skates. It took me a lot of trial and error to learn some of the roller skating tricks so I decided to share my journey with you guys!

Recent Posts