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Rollin’ on the Riviera

Rollin’ on the Riviera

A Roller-Skiiing Adventure from Italy to Spain

  • Author: Michael
  • Date Posted: Jun 15, 1981
  • Category:

A true-life adventure on roller-skis across the French Riviera – from Italy to Spain
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It’s summer of 1981. My girlfriend arrives in Barcelona in six weeks, my ski job at the top of Germany’s highest mountain is melting, my sister has a brain tumor, and I’m dying to get back to beach. I hear the South of France is nice – I’d like to see it. All of it.

By train I’ll miss too much and only hit the tourist spots. Cycling, I won’t stop and talk with people along the way. Walking – well that’s just too damn far and boring to walk. The smart thing to do – the adventurous thing – is to put on roller skates with ski poles and ski my way across France. I can make it!

Here’s my plan: I’ll start in Italy so I can see every inch of the French Riviera, and work my way to Barcelona, Spain by the time she arrives. I’ll save money by camping, however they say I’ll get arrested if I sleep on the beach. I’ll find somewhere. I’ll cook something on my micro-stove and live on baguettes, brie and wine. This will be such fun!


Rollin’ on the Riviera is a story of:

  • Roller skating across the French Riviera – from Italy to Spain along the Côte d’Azur
  • Personal achievement despite ping-pong-sized blisters, 40 mph speed wobbles, gay rapists, police arrest, love-lost, embarrassment, and wipeouts
  • Triumphant hill climbs, jubilant downhill runs
  • Côte d’Azur roller skating
  • Making friends and enemies
  • Roller skiing French Riviera
  • Staying alive on the road
  • Cross country Nordic blading
  • Being a human car, skiing the cliff roads of the South of France
  • Long distance roller blading
  • Roller skiing across France
  • Gap year extreme sports
  • Travel narrative
  • Coming of age memoir
  • Living abroad in Europe as American teen in 1980
  • Working on ski lifts in Garmish-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • Living in Schneefernerhaus – a hotel accessible only by cable car and cog-wheel tunnel train – built into the rock on top of Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze
  • Stories of Avalon, Catalina Island, and working as a SCUBA diver in a show below the glass-bottom boat “Phoenix”
  • Nordic cross country ski summer training
  • Street Skiing
  • Roller skating with ski poles and backpack


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