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Essential Guide To Falling On Skis and What To Do To Get Back Up

Despite these tips falls do happen but this doesn’t mean an injury is inevitable. The most important rule is… 

If you’re going to fall or crash, let it happen.

1:  If you’re way back on the tail of your skis and loosing control, don’t fight it.  It is likely to be safer to just flop to the side and skid to a halt.  When you try to recover from having your weight at the back of your ski you end up leaning back further meaning even less control with your knee in a vulnerable position.  Any unexpected twist or catching an edge could result in the most common ACL knee ligament injury.

2:  When you feel yourself falling, never put your hand out to break your fall.  It is so counterintuitive to do this but by stretching your arm out, the only thing this will result in is a broken thumb.  Just let yourself fall to the side, and let your bottom bear the brunt of the impact.  That way, the worst injury you’ll suffer will be a juicy bruise!

3:  Watching the World Cup racers can teach all skiers how to fall.  They will always manoeuvre themselves so they slide feet first (not head first).  By doing this they can avoid any obstacles.  If you fall at high speed try to get your bearings quickly so you can avoid any solid obstacles.

4:  When World Cup racers fall and their skis stay attached,  they will slide onto their backs with their feet in the air.  This stops the skis catching on anything and twisting joints.  If their skis aren’t on they will manoeuvre themselves so that they slide feet first enabling them to dig their boots into the snow to break and slow themselves down.

If you do fall getting back up quickly and smoothly is important.  Although skiers above you coming down the slopes should give way, you can’t guarantee that they have the skill level to execute quick turns to avoid you.

How to stand back up after a fall if your skis are still attached to your boots;

  1. Find a way to get your skis so that they are parallel to each other across the slope.  Avoiding pointing them down the slope as your skis will set off without you!   You may need to roll onto your back to free your legs.  It is worth noting that if this is not possible then press down on the back of the binding to release the ski and reset your self with your skis off.
  2. With your skis across the slope dig your uphill edge on both skis into the snow so you create a shelf to push up from
  3. Position your poles so your downhill hand is at the top of the pole and the uphill hand at the base of the pole.
  4. Use your legs to push up whilst you push down with your poles to get back up.

How to stand back up if only one ski is still attached to your boots;

If you’ve found yourself with only one ski still attached,  spin yourself around so that the attached ski is on the downhill foot across the slope beneath you.  When you stand up you will be putting your uphill ski on which is always easier.  Make sure that the skis are across the hill and make a ledge by digging the uphill edge of the ski into the snow so that the ski doesn’t slide when you try to put it on.

How to stand back up if both skis have detached from your boots

If both skis are no longer attached put the uphill ski on first then spin 180 degrees around so that when you put the second ski on it’s the uphill ski again.

Falling in deep powder

If you’re unlucky enough to have fallen in deep powder,  you may find that your poles sink deep into the snow whenever you try to push yourself up on them. The solution is to place your poles flat on the snow,  in a crossed “X” shape.  You should then be able to lean on the intersection of the two poles without sinking in, as the pressure will be more widely distributed.

A common problem when putting your skis back on is removing snow from the soles of your boots. This is necessary, otherwise your safety bindings may not function correctly. Many people like to knock the snow off with a ski pole, but the most efficient way is to scrape the sole of your boot along the toe piece of your binding.

In deep snow, you might find it easier to stick the tails of both skis in the snow, at an angle, before putting them on. If you push them into the snow so that the heel pieces of the bindings are just above the surface of the snow, it’ll be easy to click into the bindings without them becoming filled with snow.

So there you have it, Sarah’s top guide on how to get back up after you have fallen when skiing. Now go have some snow fun!