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fall management

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Could you give advice to a beginner on how to avoid nasty falls? Falls are inevitable for beginners no matter how much you try to follow your instructor.
I ve learn a few basic tricks that work but i am looking for new opinions on this matter.
i am reffering to actual falls, not ways of redressing which depend of the innitial mistake on the snow.
post #2 of 17
There is a video-someone help me remember how to get it-that shows how to avoid ACL injuries. Worth watching at the beginning of each year.

Otherwise, if you're falliing, don't fight it. Spread the fall over a larger area of the body.
post #3 of 17
This is somewhat of a post-fall advice.
When you get to steeper terrain make sure that you get your skis and feet under you as you slide down the hill ASAP. Then use skis or boots (if skis are gone) to slow you down. This ensures that if you hit something it would not be with your head.

Try to avoid ACL injury inducing rotating falls backwards. Was that in English? That is the most damaging.

Also from motorcycle experience, don't be stiff as you are falling, sliding - you will break more body parts trying to fight the fall.

post #4 of 17
Do a search for Vermont Ski Safety. I forgot the url. I;m teachimg soon, otherwise I'd do it for you.
post #5 of 17
As your instructor I must redirect your attention. Falls are not necessarily a part of learning to ski and you need to smile, breathe, and throw that notion out the door (of your mind). I had a private student yesterday that started on the rope tow, moved to the chair, and skied simple wedge Christies on a two mile blue to green run with NO falls in about an hour. This happens more often then not! Will you take a few sliding laughable falls. I do and you will. Is there a chance that there could be a hard fall? Sure there is always a chance but taking a few lessons and learning about your equipment and keeping the equipment in good working order can reduce this chance.

OK so there is a chance so what do I do if it does happen? There has been an extensive study showing if you will relax and at the earliest possible moment and put you skis UPHILL of from you there is less than a 2% chance of suffering any severe injury to your lower extremity. In fact there is a very good risk management film on the subject showing actual skiers falling and the resultant consequences. Time on the slopes will teach to know where your skis are at all times even if you would fall. If it does happen you will then have the senses to relax in the fall and get your skis uphill, so they and your legs are not a lever, and ride it out.

It works and I proved it at Alta several years ago when I took a life threatening fall in a chute. While a little worse for wear and a broken brake retainer on my binding I ever so carefully skied the rest of the chute as my body literally had a problem differentiating right from left. My body shook when I first stood after the fall but all I had was a few hyperextended ribs on one side.

post #6 of 17
I've got the video! What a great video!

This video is a must have for all skiers. http://www.vermontskisafety.com/vsr_direct.html

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 31, 2001 01:09 PM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #7 of 17
Thanks, SCSA! Here's the url for the rest of the site: http://www.vermontskisafety.com/faq_...iers_tips.html
post #8 of 17
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Thanks, SCSA! Here's the url for the rest of the site: http://www.vermontskisafety.com/faq_...iers_tips.html<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

What can I say "These Guys and Girls Are GOOD"

post #9 of 17
I took up boarding at the end of last year.

I can't remember the las ttime I fell while skiing, even when trying new stuff. Maybe it is my balance....and fear of looking bad and having to buy the beer!

To overcome this, everytime I fell on the board(many times), I would laugh really loud. And keep laughing until I got up. Yeah, it's a game, but know I accept it if I do fall, and am more relaxed through the fall.
post #10 of 17
Glad you liked that, Floyd! [img]smile.gif[/img] One thing I learned last year from a ski instructor who practiced Akido, was if the fall is inevitable, let you body turn to water. In other words, don't fight with it, relax in to it. This particular instructor was also big on the idea of not trying to get up when your hips are way back on your heels. Get your weight foward, first. She was so into making sure we understood this, that if we saw someone fall on the mountain, she'd ski us over and tell us to talk them through how to get up from a fall.
post #11 of 17
EUG: Trying to get your feet downhill from you while you're sliding is the best way to assure a foot/leg injury. The ONLY time you'd want to slide feet-first is if you're sliding among trees or rocks that could hurt your head. If you are sliding feet-first on an open slope, try to keep your feet/skis OUT of the snow. Sudden engagement of edges or boots in the snow can tear up your knees or ankles very rapidly.
post #12 of 17
Super condensed version of the video:

Situations which lead to ACL injury
1) Attempting to get up while still moving after a fall.
2) Attempting a recovery from an off balance position.
3) Attempting to sit down after losing control.

Profile of the phantom foot ACL
1) Uphill arm back.
2) Off balance to the rear.
3) Hips below knees.
4) Uphill ski unweighted.
5) Weight on the inside edge of the downhill ski tail.
6) Upper body generally facing downhill ski.

Recognize dangerous situations
1) Uphill arm back.
2) Off balance to the rear.
3) Hips below knees.
4) Uphill ski unweighted.
5) Weight on the inside edge of the downhill ski tail.
6) Upper body generally facing downhill ski.

Correct poor techinque
1) Maintain balance and control.
2) Keep hips above knees.
3) Keep arms forward.

Avoid high risk behavior
1) Don't fully straighten your legs when you fall. Keep your knees flexed.
2) Don't try to get up until you've stopped sliding. When you're down, stay down.
3) Don't land on your hand. Keep your arms up and forward.
4) Don't jump unless you know where and how to land. Land on both skis and keep your knees flexed.

When falling, respond quickly
1) Arms together!
2) Feet together!
3) Hands over skis!

Buy the video! It's the best money you'll ever spend.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 31, 2001 04:57 PM: Message edited 1 time, by SCSA ]</font>
post #13 of 17
Something else: keep your mouth shut.
It may sound like a joke but it is not. You can hurt your tonge AND your teeth.
post #14 of 17
I guess I was referring to the steeper terrain and my comment was based on this ski net article. I would think it would apply even on moderately steep slope. When snow is pretty packed and your skis are off it you would be picking up speed and if trail happened to change direction you could be heading for the trees.

could you elaborate how exactly you used the "head first" tecnique in the chute?

Happy New Year all,
post #15 of 17
A different set of tips on how to avoid nasty falls:

don't ski slopes/conditions that you know are beyond you

as you improve, try new things out or going faster on nice wide pistes with flat sections after each steep part, not on long, narrow steep runs. Be more careful if there is a steep drop or hard rails/posts on either side of the piste.

be very, very careful if there are loose stones or rocks showing through the snow. A nasty way to fall is to catch a ski on a rock, as then you tend to fall head first.

the best way not to fall is not to panic, but that's easier said than done. As I improve, I notice that I don't fall at times I would have done last year. I've just found new ways to fall!

The reason I think for a lot of beginner/intermediate falls (and I'm not an instructor so this may be rubbish) is from losing control, going faster than you want & panicking (leaning back). If you are always in perfect control this won't happen, but I don't think you can improve unless you test the boundaries of what you can do.

I've fallen over a fair amount & never hurt myself (yet - touch wood) because there's usually some soft snow to catch me not a tree or an avalanche barrier.
post #16 of 17
Thanks for the explanation. I will definitely look up the material you referred to.
I probably have not been on the slopes steep enough to experience the cartwheel effect. Hence I have been successful so far with get your feet down technique and have been able a few times to push myself off the snow back on skis.

This would be neither first nor last counterintuitive thing that I have learned.
post #17 of 17
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by eug:
I guess I was referring to the steeper terrain ... When snow is pretty packed and your skis are off it you would be picking up speed and if trail happened to change direction you could be heading for the trees....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Truly steep terrain and a fast slide is the very last situation in which you would want to have your skis or boots below you and suddenly grab the snow. Sliding in this orientation often causes people to cartwheel and sustain *very* serious injuries.

This problem is well known to climbers using crampons. In that case, after a fall, the climber is supposed to slide on his belly, bend his knees to keep his feet off of the snow, and lay across his ice ax, thereby putting the point of highest friction with the surface (ie, the tip of the ice ax) above his center of mass. This minimizes the possibility of him either cartwheeling or spinning while flat on the snow (ie, head-first, then feet-first, then head-first, etc.)

In the case of a skier, the previous advice in this thread was correct: Try to get your feet uphill, and then lower your skis so that they drag on the snow and slow you down. If the skis come off (or are already off), dig in with your (uphill) boot toes as hard as you can. This way they will never suddenly catch, and you will come to a nice gradual stop.

Now, some caveats. If you are on a truly steep slope (say, over 40 deg) and you fall into the hill, before you pick up any speed, it is possible for experienced skiers to jump/push themselves back up onto their feet. However, if more than a fraction of a second has elapsed, and the snow is fast, you will have already built up too much speed for this maneuver, so go back to the feet-uphill approach.

Second, if you are skiing on very steep terrain, a fast surface, and with nearby danger of sliding off a cliff or into rocks (at high speed), you may want to consider a ski mountaineering course which covers self-arrest techniques and perhaps the use of ski poles which have built in mini ice axes in their handles.

Tom / PM

PS - After writing the above material, I looked at the SkiMag article, and I have to disagree strongly with its recommendations. About the only time I would ever try to use their feet-downhill technique is in soft snow (where you have reached terminal velocity, and it is low because of the friction from the soft snow), and on slopes where you know there is absolutely no danger of your skis hitting a submerged rock and twisting your ankles and/or precipitating a cartwheel.

To counter their recommendation, see any book on mountaineering that covers crampon management in falls. I think its discussed in the bible, "Mountaineering - Freedom of the Hills", but I don't have my copy in front of me as I write this.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 02, 2002 12:49 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
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