No one plans on falling, but it happens to everyone no matter how good they are.
The good news is that you can minimalize the damage a fall does to your body by falling with proper technique. It may sound funny to think about technique when falling, but the team at ASO Mammoth knows that these tips can be the difference between walking a fall off and having to call your day early. Skiing and snowboarding are inherently dangerous sports so there’s never a guarantee of any fall being a safe one, but by learning good techniques you can significantly cut down the risk!
Protect Your Wrists
Wrists injuries are some of the most common on the mountain due to the common reaction of using your hands to break your fall, especially among beginners.
If you’re falling or feel like you’re going to fall, fight the temptation to put your hands out. Using your hands and arms as shock absorbers is a quick way to sprain, dislocate, or even break your wrists and other parts of your body, so if possible use your hips or shoulders to absorb and disperse the blow of a fall. If you are falling on your arms, try to disperse the shock by locking your fists, bringing your arms in towards your body, and falling on your forearms.
Don’t Panic When Sliding
For many beginner skiers and snowboarders, falling often means sliding afterwards as beginners are typically not comfortable enough with their board or skis to right themselves after they fall.
If you fall and find yourself sliding down the hill with no way to regain control, don’t panic and dig in with the edge of your ski or snowboard to stop yourself. If you do, you may cause a sudden jolt than can damage ligaments or your legs may get twisted in an unnatural way as your lower body suddenly stops and your top continues moving. As long as you’re not sliding towards dangerous terrain, lift your board or skis up to avoid catching an edge and wait until you naturally stop to try and right yourself.
Keep Your Body Relaxed
It probably seems crazy to say relax when there’s a possibility that you’re going to get hurt from a fall, but relaxing your muscles is a great way to minimalize the damage. You won’t always have time to control your reactions, but if you feel yourself losing control or have already fallen and are sliding then avoid tensing your body up. Your body can absorb shocks better when relaxed, so try to stay loose until you have a chance to regain control.
Protect Your Head
You may not always have the opportunity to do so, but protecting your head and neck should be your number one priority when skiing or snowboarding.
While you can try and cover your head with your arms when falling or sliding, if you’re on a snowboard and you fall backwards there is a chance that your head hits the ground or your neck is injured from your head whipping from the impact. To prevent head and neck injuries, you’ll want to spread the impact of your fall out. That means if you’re falling backwards you’ll want to fall onto your butt and then let your back hit the snow to keep the impact from going up your back and causing your head to whip.
Don’t be afraid to practice falling when you’re first starting out, it could make a huge difference as your skills progress! For more ski and snowboard tips, gear, and Mammoth Mountain information, stop by ASO Mammoth on your way up or give is a call any time!