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Fall Line

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
In several post I have seen the term "fall line " or "fall line Skiing"
:What does this mean ?
post #2 of 7
The "fall line" on a trail is essentially the path a rolling ball would take down the trail. i.e., the most direct route.

"Fall line" skiing means that the path the skier takes is staying pretty close to the fall line. i.e., they don't have to be going literally straight down the fall line, but they aren't making big, wide, sweeping turns either. "Fall line" skiing isn't necessarily fast skiing either; it can be done really, really slowly as well.
post #3 of 7
The steepest direction from any point. The local fall line can be different from the average fall line.
post #4 of 7
Good question, easy rider!

It's the direction that a snowball would start to roll when it is dropped on the trail.

Here's an example: If a ski trail was cut straight down the mountain, like a yardstick with one end higher than the other, the fall-line would always go straight down the yardstick. Any snowball you drop will go straight down that trail all the way no matter where on the trail you dropped it.

This is very often how people talk about making turns -- the skis point across the fall-line between turns, and down the fall-line mid turn.

Actually, that's a bit of a simplification. They'll actually say the skis point down the fallline at the *apex* of the turn.

It gets a bit more complicated when you hear "double fall-line" or "side hill".

If you take that yardstick and lift one end like before, you have what looks like a trail with a single fall line. Let's twist the yardstick, so that one side is also higher than the other. Now any snowball you drop is going to roll downhill but end up in the trees at the lower side of the trail.

Thats, the double part - it does roll straight down the trail, AND it rolls to the side at the same time.

Hope that helps.
post #5 of 7
Hi Easy Rider. Welcome to EpicSki!

"Fall Line" is a common term that goes back a long way in skiing. I don't know who first uttered it, but it stuck, for better or worse. Fear not--it doesn't have anything to do with falling!

"Fall Line" very simply means "straight downhill." Is the direction a ball would start to roll if you placed it on the slope.

It is a significant direction, for many reasons. If you're standing on the slope, and you don't want to move, you must place your skis directly across--at right angles to--the fall line. When you release your edges, your skis will tend to "seek the fall line" as gravity pulls you down the hill.

Good skiers quickly develop a sense of the fall line--the direction gravity tries to pull them at any moment. This sense is critical for choosing line and tactics, controlling speed, and generally feeling at ease on the slopes. Once you understand and can sense the fall line, gravity starts to become your friend!

There is a common misconception about the fall line that you may have heard. The fall line is not "the path a ball will follow as it rolls down the mountain." Think about it--once a ball is moving, it has momentum, and sometimes that momentum will even carry it uphill for a distance--as it rolls up and over bumps and rolls, for example. The fall line is straight downhill from any given point--which is not necessarily the direction the ball will roll as it cruises over that point.

"Fall line skiing" refers to skiing a line more or less directly down the hill, generally involving short, quick turns (or more likely, short, quick braking movements). It is a common expression in mogul skiing, the line that competitive mogul skiers strive to maintain. On the other hand, it is the fastest possible line down any slope, so it is not always the best line. Indeed, I would argue that it is often the worst line you could take--unless you really want to go as fast as you possibly can. Race courses are rarely set "in the fall line," except on very flat sections. And expert skiers--with the possible exception of moguls--tend to make turns that carry them intentionally away from the fall line, in order to control speed without the need to resort to braking and skidding.

Does that answer your questions?

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #6 of 7
The "fall line" on a trail is essentially the path a rolling ball would take down the trail
Oops--hey, Kevin--we need to talk!

As BigE suggests, the fall line and the path the ball would take down the slope would be the same only if the slope did not change direction at any point--like a big, flat parking lot tipped up--AND if the ball started rolling from a stop, or you started it rolling directly downhill. In "real" situations, the ball's momentum combines with gravity to determine its path. The ball does not follow the fall line, even as it constantly "seeks" the fall line.

I haven't heard this term used much recently, but years ago it was not uncommon to hear instructors speak of a "dynamic fall line," which did refer to the path of the ball down the mountain, distinct from the "static fall line," which referred to "straight downhill from a given point"--the true fall line. My, how we can complicate things!

Just remember, the fall line is simply straight downhill from wherever you are at the moment.

Best regards,
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Yes ! very well explained.
Thais was one term the search function just did not help with.

easy rider
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