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Best info source for beginners on learning when and how to fall in control?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
If I remember right, @PeakyB was a bit surprised by what I said on this subject during EOSB18. I was surprised he was surprised, as he's a far more experienced skier than me and is quite often among the posters. I promised to bring it up on SH before the new season, in the general interest, I thought.

I've started on it only now on my way to the PSB 'cos of last minute guilt. That why it's not shorter - no time so apols.

Apols also to those who've posted before on this. I had no idea how similar some posts were to what I wanted to say. I've found posts on this subject weren't so easy to find at short notice, even though I knew what I was looking for and felt they must be there.

I suppose 'ask your instructor' might be the snappy reply, but supposing that fails, where else can beginner skiers get the teaching they need on when and how to fall?

As this topic's occurred in posts on SH before; there's a couple of links at the end.

When I was a beginner I found out it’s not just THAT you fall - falls are inevitable: but what kind of falls are you having? It’s far, far better knowing the WHEN, the HOW, and getting to BEING ABLE TO DO IT SAFER AS A KIND OF REFLEX, just as soon as it’s practicable. Once I’d learnt just a little bit, over time I reckon it actually reduced the number of falls I made, because it made me a more confident learner, a quicker learner, a less tired and injured learner. I expect I better avoided time in the medical centre, and rehab too.

Beginners are at much higher risk than advanced skiers obvs. Some things I sometimes heard as advice when I was a beginner, not so long ago, were: “Learn to ski.” “Get some lessons.” Clear, simple, precise and obvious advice, but pretty useless. I of course was getting frequent lessons, as nearly all beginners do. Also said to me: “Don’t fall over.” But I was trying to learning to ski and not fall over, as best I could, doing my best and following that ‘advice’. All my co-learners were trying to fall over as little as possible too. But should we have been? I subsequently found out that that the particular advice "don't fall over" was counterproductive for me as a learner. Completely by accident, so to speak. Yes, if I learn to ski, I fall in the process, a lot. What would have been helpful to me as a learner on this was more than just saying “you ski, you fall, you hurt yourself; man up and get over it” and the like. Why should I incur unnecessary risks of serious injury whilst learning, let alone afterwards?

I’ve seen and heard it said that instructors won’t get clients to fall deliberately for liability/insurance reasons as they might hurt themselves at the time. Even though the idea is to help them reduce risk and trips to A&E for the rest of their future! If it’s true, what an example of private interest over public good. Couldn't risk be a lot less with a bit more quick and easy instruction on how and when to fall, from those who’re supposed to know best? I’m not a particularly good skier, but at least I now know some of this stuff, but that was purely my good luck. I see people out there who’ve clearly got no idea of it. Seen some who’ve hurt themselves through having no idea before, and had none afterwards either so no better chance next time.

Instructors seem to be really averse to teaching this stuff, despite it leading to better outcomes. In my case it boosted confidence, and killed a lot of concern about hurting myself. One SCGB member I spoke to was quite vehemently opposed to the idea. He said I was irresponsible for even suggesting it. He also said he’d done some ski instruction courses, and would never do it, which kind of made my point for me. I’m expecting to get flamed by instructors here BTW as I’m just a plain punter with an opinion.

Re self-arrest: I’m not perfect. In the real world, it’s still the case that nobody has showed me how to self-arrest. This despite me sliding headfirst down an icy slope out of control, gathering speed, for more than 150m, in great danger of colliding with something very badly or going over a drop. An experienced party of skiers who watched it just collected my gear and asked if I was OK. Thankfully I was, but advice on self-arrest was lacking and much more sorely needed. To my discredit I still haven’t practiced this, even though I found out about it near the end of last season when recounting that fall. Self-arrest is a potential life-saver and no instructor had told me about it. And the first time you do it it, it oughtn’t be ‘in anger’.

Some links for any beginners here, inc. just a couple from what I’m sure must be many previous topics mentioning this on SH with similar tone if I had time to find them:

* Sun 17 Nov, 13 Masque et al ‘Snowboarding protection’ https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=2390940&highlight=snowboarding+protection#2390940)

* Mon 03 Sep, 12 ousekjarr 'Today's tip - Learn to self-arrest' https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=90981

* Vermont ski safety ‘Tips For Knee-Friendly Skiing’ https://vermontskisafety.com/research/tips/ Comment: ACL stuff.

* WCF Insurance
‘Protecting Your Knees While Skiing’

http://youtube.com/v/8x4aXOjrgO4&list=PL1SsX9iG6olKKbcgO-bn37miZFQ-rnKEP&index=5&t=0s

& ‘Ski safety’

http://youtube.com/v/IzkaH2xBF1I&index=1&list=PL1SsX9iG6olKKbcgO-bn37miZFQ-rnKEP
Comment: ACL stuff. A bit turgid and limited but accurate so far as I can tell.

* ‘Fearless falling’
http://fearlessfalling.com/FFLessons2.html
Comment: Non-skiing, but for codgers like me, generally useful on hitting the deck.

* Jan 20, 2017 ‘How to crash on skis’ Stomp it

http://youtube.com/v/wS0HCRMbRRA&index=10&list=PLjwW3oyGKVqpWHSRFPSUd-RqZtdALeEyQ&t=0s
Comment: Despite the alarming video of his crashes on piste, Jens doesn’t really demo with skis/poles. How you deal with those and get into good shape from being in a bad shape isn’t covered. In the on-face fall, Jens doesn’t turn his head to the side to avoid smashing nose/teeth, as recommended in some martial arts training. You’d have thought he would’ve. IMO there’s a lot more to it than knowing how to crash just your body, but that does help.

* Sat 13 Jan 2001 Martin Bell ‘Pick yourself up’:
https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2001/jan/13/wintersportsholidays.wintersports.guardiansaturdaytravelsection
Text quote:
“For all skiers, from beginners to World Cup racers, falling is part of the game. Most falls cause no injuries other than a few bruises, and wipe-outs can often be a source of much amusement to your friends. However, to help tip the odds in your favour, here are a few pointers.
- The most important rule is: if you're going to crash, let it happen. If you're sitting way back on the tails of your skis, don't fight it. It's probably safer just to flop on to your side and skid to a halt. When your knees are bent to the extreme of their range of movement, they are weak and vulnerable. While you're trying to recover from this position, any unexpected twisting movement could easily cause a rupture of your anterior-cruciate ligament - the most common injury in skiing.
- When you feel yourself falling sideways, never put your hand down to break your fall. The only thing you may break will be a thumb, especially on dry ski slopes. Just let yourself fall to the side, and let your rump bear the brunt of the impact. - That way, the worst injury you'll suffer will be a juicy bruise.
- You can learn a lot about "falling technique" from watching World Cup racers on TV. You'll often see that, once they've crashed, they try to end up sliding on their back, with their feet in the air, especially if one or both skis are still attached. This prevents any damage being done by their skis catching in the snow and twisting their legs. And because they keep their legs straight, their knees are stronger and more resistant to twisting forces.
- If you're skidding along the ground at speed, try to think quickly, regain your bearings, and pay particular attention to any solid obstacles (trees, pylons, rocky outcrops) in your path. If so, you must try to manoeuvre yourself around so that you take the impact feet first rather than headfirst - leg injuries are seldom as serious as head injuries. In any case, trying to skid feet first is always a good habit, because it means you can dig the edges of your skis (or ski) into the snow to slow yourself down.
- It may happen that you find yourself hurtling down a steep slope with neither ski attached. In that case, you need to perform the so-called "self-arrest procedure". Try to spin so you're skidding along on your stomach, with your feet facing down the hill. Then, slowly perform a press-up. As your shoulders rise, your toes will dig into the snow and slow you down.
- After the fall, you'll have to get up again, hopefully fairly speedily, so as not to keep your friends waiting. Before trying to stand up, make sure your skis are facing exactly across the slope. Otherwise, they'll start to set off before you're fully upright. Then, you can usually push yourself up using your ski poles, by putting them together in the snow above you. Place your downhill hand on top of the poles, and hold the base of the poles with your uphill hand. You should now be able to pull yourself upright.
- 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.
- Of course, your skis may no longer be attached. If one is still on, spin around on your back until you're lying sideways on the slope, with your ski across the slope below you, attached to your downhill foot. This means that once you've stood up, you'll be putting on your uphill ski, which is always easier. If both your skis have come off, put on the uphill ski first, then spin around through 180 degrees, pivoting on your ski-less boot. Now, when you're putting on the second ski, it will also be the uphill ski.
- A perennial 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.”


There’s loads of others, but IMO I haven’t found anything (yet) on t’internet as comprehensive and good that it’s 100% of what’s needed.

e.g. even this above by Martin Bell although pretty crisp you could still pick a few holes in it IMO - the ‘straight legs’ advice may not be so good for us holidaymakers as all that. I’ve found you need to be very careful about digging your edges in to slow down, particularly if going fast. ’Flop’ is indeed not a bad bet uphill or on flattish slopes, but downhill on anything steep, a rollover has been better in my experience, and I wouldn't 'rag doll' as my best bet either under any circumstances. I wouldn't copy or take too much away from World Cup racers crashing on TV either, as a lot of their crashing is awful IMO and hardly a demo to be followed.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sat 1-12-18 8:50; edited 12 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Anecdote purely as illustration on 'why learn to fall?'.

As it's aimed at beginners who don't know how and when to fall, it's not going to interest the rest of you who already do know so please don’t say so.

By chance, in 2006, four years in from complete novice, in France on snow, I got a piece of practice from a chance substitute instructor which I thought was absolutely great. Maybe it was a coincidence he happened to be Spanish rather than French; maybe not. Maybe I’d have got the same instruction in other countries.

This instruction saved me a lot of pain, injuries + possibly skiing-terminating falls. It made me more confident + a better skier quicker, I’ve no doubt. Not that I’m great now, or a quick or natural learner, but I would have been a lot worse off else.

I had done the dry slopes. All the instruction I had got for my first 6 weeks on snow was all from French instructors in France. In those weeks I had done a lot of dangerous out-of-control falls, and hurt myself a fair bit, including during lessons, as well as on my own/in a group. Although I was pretty fit, it was exhausting, and the assault on confidence plus energy made learning slow and dangerous. How dangerous, I didn’t know at the time.

Let’s leave aside (please) having proper equipment, which I did have, and my beginners’ judgement issues about what runs to ski, and getting lessons. I had already been diligently following the excellent pieces of advice about getting fit to ski, strength/flexibility training, warming up and stretching, balance etc., and I was having lessons. Obviously that had helped a lot in somewhat managing the risk of injury, but the next thing I learned was a major improvement all on its own.

This significant factor was lacking from all previous instruction I had. (And all the subsequent instruction I’ve had or heard about or seen in the next 43 weeks on snow, except for one case, where it was being demonstrated to a group class in a completely inappropriate place IMO, too dangerous for them to practice it . . . . (half a head shake))

My Spanish instructor was aghast when he saw me fall badly, dangerously and out of control on a slope. Even more aghast when he then saw I didn’t pause and check myself, but immediately tried to get up at all on my own, failing dangerously, moving and slipping around, whilst falling back down a few times. Obviously at risk of ACL injury I’d say now.

So I’m sitting there:
“Have you been shown when and how to fall?”
“ No???”
“Have you been shown how to check yourself for injury?”
“No . . . ?”
“Have you been shown how to get up?”
“No. Definitely not.”
“How many lessons have you had?”
“Ooh – fifteen or sixteen?”
(Despairing head shakes)

His immediate objective was to get me to :
* quickly recognise when I’m in danger of getting into a type of fall in which I could injure myself seriously, if I don’t do something fast to get out of it, before an out-of-control dangerous fall becomes inevitable.
* be able to use different falls with improved outcomes, and control of the fall/impact on the body.
* know how to stop sliding in a fall; how to make it a kind of emergency stop if needed when on the deck*.
* know recovery and fall options to put into action depending on the circumstances; recognise when continuing struggling to avoid falling would probably have worse outcomes than deliberately falling; decide which fall to make.
* check myself for injury.
* get up safely.

He found a fairly steep and mogully bit which I’d have struggled to get down. He spoke esp. about ACL-injury-inducing falls, and he demonstrated/I practiced until I got to the bottom of the slope. Slopeside fall and stop, forward-downward roll and stop, repeats at increasing speed, all the way down.

A five minute transformation. When to fall; how to fall; basics. It wasn’t tiring. It felt far less dangerous than previous falls. Only two fall options were covered. He said in effect it’s a good start, there’s more, take it from here. I owe him an awful lot, I’ve used it an awful lot.

*Note: To be fair, this was all only with skis on. He didn’t show me how to self-arrest a la ‘Giles Green’ – as covered above. So not quite everything I needed, as my later experience was to prove. I forgive him.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Fat George, great post, wish I’d seen it 30 years ago when a frequent faller.

Yes I was surprised by your enthusiasm for the ‘how to fall’ theme but entirely convinced by the end of our chat.

I was pleased to execute a well controlled sliding emergency stop to avoid collision one time we were heading down to Orelle.

Less so with the forward splat in heavy slush above Les Menuires.

Hope your falling techniques won’t be called on much on PSB, have a great week.
snowHead
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Quote:

Beginners are at much higher risk than advanced skiers obvs

Don't know about that. There are many threads on SHs where advanced skiers have done themselves frightful injuries. Telling beginners "not to fall" is absurd and I'd be surprised if any instructor did that. Telling beginners to have their bindings properly adjusted to reduce risk of injury when they fall is vital. When I tried snowboarding (in my 50s) I fell constantly and got quite good at it (falling that is, never got good at snowboarding). I fell onto my hip (because falling on my backside was so sodding sore) and kept my wrists up out of the way. Was once walking along a pavement in France, not paying attention, and fell off a slightly uneven bit of kerb, into the (fortunately deserted) road. I was very proud that my snowboarder's reflex kept me safe.

On the whole I think the best advice for real beginners (as opposed to those for whom self-arrest makes sense) is to accept the inevitable, not fight too hard to resist a fall, and go with the flow. It's like teaching beginners to sail a dinghy. They are petrified of capsizing, but once they've done it, under a watchful eye and in safe conditions, that fear tends to disappear. If it doesn't they're probably not cut out for it!
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Well, yes, agreed in part, as not fighting the fall and indeed getting used to it was part of what I was getting at, but rather than getting used to dangerous out-of-control falls, moving to safer controlled falls ASAP. I really don’t get how that can be wrong.

However I do think this should be Day 1 stuff and indeed is for absolute beginners, and moreover everyday life too so you could do quite a lot of it before seeing any snow. For example non-skiing friends of mine who’ve slipped and hurt themselves could have benefitted from learning how to fall, but they never had, and didn’t learn afterwards either.

If you do other sports, then maybe you already have some good reflex actions. Plenty of others have no idea, as evidenced by my own eyes, and already have bad reflex actions ingrained, some over decades. I did myself at age 52 when I learnt this. There’s no reason a person can’t have a life changing fall on Day 1, even in Hour 1, I’d not be willing to bet it’s never happened.

I wasn’t suggesting ski instructors gave idiotic advice.

I was saying in my experience there’s very valuable advice they don’t give, dead certain of it in my case.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sat 1-12-18 11:55; edited 4 times in total
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Quote:

* quickly recognise when I’m in danger of getting into a type of fall in which I could injure myself seriously, if I don’t do something fast to get out of it, before an out-of-control dangerous fall becomes inevitable.


Personally I suspect this might have more to do with you benefiting from the knowledge rather than the "how to fall" bit. You say
Quote:

I had done a lot of dangerous out-of-control falls
and I can't help wondering if this is a major part of the problem, not being in control, rather than not being able to fall properly. Of course it's easy to misread what someone is saying so I might be getting the wrong end of the stick.

Quote:

Jens doesn’t turn his head to the side to avoid smashing nose/teeth, as recommended in some martial arts training.


Is that even good advice when skiing? I can't help feeling it might save your nose and teeth at the expense of breaking your neck. Shocked
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It’s not either-or.

You learn this as well as learning to ski and learning control and being fit and having good equipment and having lessons etc etc.

In fact it is part of control and gets you quicker and safer to the other parts of better control when you ski. Five minutes is all it took for me and despite the hours and hours over weeks and weeks of fifteen or sixteen lessons with instructors had in no way made my falls less dangerous, although my skiing control was improving. A sense of proportion is all I’m asking for. You aren’t going to spend more than a little time learning this and the same amount of time learning to stay on your skis simply can’t compare, in my experience.

How are you safer by not knowing this?
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What sort of terrain would a beginner or someone very new to skiing be on where they needed to know self-arrest technique?
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Yes, learning and being able to minimise the risk from a fall will help reduce the risk of injury when you do fall. I'm not sure you can argue against the logic.

To me though it's just a matter of perspective. It's far better to teach people to ski safely and under control than teach them how not to hurt themselves when they do get out of control and fall. So a focus on the warning signs and ways of avoiding the situation in the first place would be good.

So to me the priority would be:

1. Teach people to ski under control.
2. Teach people the warning signs that they're losing control and ways of getting out of the situation.
3. Teach people ways to protect themselves when they do fall.

The question also has to be asked at which point you should introduce it to people. Maybe there should be a 'look after your body' element to beginners lessons with more appropriate advice for improving skiers who are more likely to be skiing beyond their ability to control it.

PS. I'm pretty sure snowboarders are taught some of this right? i.e. don't fall backwards and break both wrists when you put your arms out. So it's not an entirely new concept.
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I encourage people I'm teaching to "take the fall" rather than fight the inevitable and potentially fall at a higher speed. But how many people consciously take decisions in 'mid-fall'? It happens quickly, and largely by instinct. When I fall I rarely have much choice in the matter, and before I review my options it's usually over. On a couple of occasions when I've fallen and started an uncontrolled slide it's been on terrain way steeper than a near beginner should be anywhere near.
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@olderscot, people are going to fall, far better that they’re comfortable with it. I found the ‘low side’ fall very useful in my initial days on skis.

It’s foolish to think that you can teach everyone to ski safely and in control without them ever falling, so I think it’s a good discussion to have early in someone’s development.
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I think it helps a great deal if you have previously played contact sports such as rugby or football and possibly hockey as well, because you are used to falling and instead of panicking or tensing up, you just do what comes naturally.

Self arrest is different as that is a specific technique, however beginners should not really be on the sort of terrain where it is necessary.
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It’s a good idea to know self arrest. You can always refer to that knowledge later even if you don’t use it on greens and blues.
I didn’t know it at all until last year because it was never taught to me. My life threatening slide happened on piste. Why not. And beginners and other people can go off the side of an easy run and get into a dangerous slider by accident no matter how little or much experience and skill they’ve got. You don’t need to be someone who goes‘on the terrain’, by which I assume is meant off piste or on dangerous steep icy marked runs. Teach it at right at the start. And people read and watch YouTube too you know. Why the hell not. As I said before, it’s not an either-or to learning to ski it’s added on. The sooner the knowledge is assimilated the better.
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You know it makes sense.
Fat George wrote:
My life threatening slide happened on piste.
Just out of interest, what grade piste were you on?

Fat George wrote:
Teach it at right at the start.
You can tell new skiers about the technique, but you can't teach them in any other way as the terrain you are on won't be steep enough for an uncontrolled slide. I don't think that's effective teaching, and not something I consider a priority for early stage skiers in their first two or three weeks of the sport.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
One season I had to arrest two falls. The first was when I was knocked off the piste by another skier who caused me to slide under the barrier. It was a flat track, just near a lift, but over the edge was fairly steep.

I arrested because I had not seen what was below me and had no idea what I was falling into. It turned out to be nothing of interest or harm, so someone unable to arrest would just have slid a little further before coming to a stop in a bush.

The second time was off piste in steeper terrain and deep snow.

I have fallen over a lot. Nobody has really taught me about it, but I’ve learnt not to fight it once I’m past the point of no return, and if I’m somewhere where I don’t need to arrest (because I will come to a natural stop before I hit any obstacles), to tuck my limbs in.
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I don't know if ski / snowboard schools teach this stuff. I'd be surprised if an instructor who saw someone do something inefficient in a fall would not provide advice on how to avoid it. I learnt to snowboard before they'd invented instructors, bit I'm part way through learning surfing, and for that you just need to ask the instructors how to fall - they don't generally volunteer the information.

I don't fall much, and I'm a snowboarder, but now and then something goes wrong and here's what I know:
  • Go in sideways. That Bell bloke's a skier, but he probably meant the same thing by "flop".
    On hard pack, slide in, stop, get going again.
  • If you're on hostile breakable crust, favour the back of the board enough to ensure that if you do fall, the nose doesn't auger in.
  • If you're falling at high speed, engaging an edge risks flipping over it if you can't hold the deceleration.
    Engage gently and decelerate slowly. If you're upside down, push the edge (back or front) into the snow.
  • If the piste is too hard and you can't get an edge in with your feet below you, flip the other way and use the board's edge to slow down. Ungainly but it's a last resort.
  • In powder, only fall on the steep stuff.
  • Statistically beginners break their wrists; I'm sure they tech not try to break your fall with your wrists.
  • Don't fall into a tree well, but if you do, make sure you slide the tail in.
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rob@rar wrote:
But how many people consciously take decisions in 'mid-fall'? It happens quickly, and largely by instinct.
#

Going back to this point. I had a fall on my bike (front wheel washed out so wasn't from a great height) and the only injuries I sustained was a bruise to my chest and some grazing to my forearm. I'm sure that it happened because I landed on my clenched fist because my instinct was to bring my arms in to avoid the dreaded collarbone break. I put that down to years of watching cycling and working through the idea of falling in my head....or that could be complete bull and I actually just clipped the bars as I fell.
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@philwig, I remember watching someone fall on skis on a dryslope who had been surfing earlier in the day, the fall was a mixture of techniques for both.
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Scarlet wrote:
I arrested because I had not seen what was below me and had no idea what I was falling into. It turned out to be nothing of interest or harm, so someone unable to arrest would just have slid a little further before coming to a stop in a bush.
Did you kick your skis off in order to press up on to your toes and fists?
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Probably just used her face as per SOP.....
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@rob@rar, no, I was jackknifed so I dug the ski edges in rather than my toes and stopped pretty quickly, then probably unclipped one ski to get up from such a position rolling eyes

@Dave of the Marmottes, feet first for once Laughing
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I "have a lie down" more often then I strictly need to because sometimes it's better than trying to recover unsuccessly and risking chewing some ligaments.
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Scarlet wrote:
@rob@rar, no, I was jackknifed so I dug the ski edges in rather than my toes and stopped pretty quickly,
OK, I think part of my confusion in this thread is that I think of "self arrest" as a specific technique, shown in a couple of videos linked to in the first post, rather than actively stopping yourself by getting your skis in front of you and using their edges to come to a stop. I think of self-arrest as a very specific technique for steep terrain, which is not easy to do but important as an uncontrolled slide in those circumstances could lead to serious injury. Beginners should not be in that terrain, and any instructor taking them there would be negligent in their duty of care.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I "have a lie down" more often then I strictly need to because sometimes it's better than trying to recover unsuccessly and risking chewing some ligaments.
Indeed, take the fall early when you can still do a controlled flop on to your side, rather than gain speed and risk a more serious injury. But it's easier said than done, especially for inexperienced skiers, as it is an instinctive response which mostly happens very quickly.
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On a related topic, one thing which isn't taught nearly enough is how to put your skis on if you have fallen over on anything steep than an easy blue piste and both your skis have come off. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen people struggle to get their skis on by standing between them, rather than standing below them. That's something that all skiers should know how to do.
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@rob@rar, good point. Clearing snow from bindings and the base of boots seems a tricky technique for many too.

I wonder if a high proportion of those have never invested in professional lessons? The self taught or taught by a friend crew?

Icy pistes seem to completely terrify many people. Although I don’t enjoy and try to avoid, I experienced a lot of icy stuff in first few seasons of skiing. Is there a case for deliberately seeking out icy pistes and learning how to cope? Including controlled falling?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

On a related topic, one thing which isn't taught nearly enough is how to put your skis on if you have fallen over on anything steep than an easy blue piste and both your skis have come off.

and also, people don't always realise that they might need to open the bindings on the skis. I've more than once come across someone failing to get the ski back on and had to show them.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Three handy techniques on how to get up after a fall. I’ve not seen number two demo’d before. I should imagine you need a lot of core strength to do it. Neat method though.


http://youtube.com/v/cLgnlY5l6rs
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
How to put your skis back on when you are on a steep slope
Same principle applies to alpine bindings.

1. Put your skis at right angles to the fall line, so they are across the slope.
2. Stand with both feet below both skis.
3. Put the lower ski on first, by crossing your lower leg in front of your upper leg.
4. Put the upper ski on next. Often this is easier if the two skis are not close together.


http://youtube.com/v/OxNqYLN3Ji0
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Awdbugga, @rob@rar,
two good short videos there. snowHead
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Poster: A snowHead
@Fat George, great topic.

I have done a little bit of teaching and have often considered how to ‘teach’ falling. You’d need to think very carefully about exercises that were both safe and instructive. The thought of a dozen pairs of skis flailing about in the air inside a fridge is frightening.

IMV the two main risks of falls are impact to the upper body and twisting of the knees.

To mitigate impact I try to roll so that the outside of one arm makes contact first - they should already be in a hoop shape - and I finish on my back. I can absorb the impact in the muscles of my arms and keep my head clear of the deck. Think of a tennis ball deforming on impact with a racquet. Of course the last thing you should do is stick your arm out straight - just think collar bone!

To protect my knees I will only let my skis twist them a short way. Then I brace them in the knowledge that the bindings will release. I sometimes see folks who have crashed and ended up in all sorts of contortions and think noooooo!

IMV, it’s really difficult to teach those things. In a fall things happen so fast your reactions need to be instinctive and you’re not falling often enough to build the skill through repetition.

Also, if you end up in a pickle with your skis uphill then, often, it can be easier to roll downhill on your back - with your skis passing above you - so that they end up downhill, across the slope. If necessary, you can untangle your skis while they are in the air and, if you roll fast enough, you can stand up in one move.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Yes, rolling skis to downhill is the only way to go! It's all much easier on a snowboard - rolling over and getting up. Falling on a snowboard hurts, but the only time I ever felt in danger of proper injury was dismounting a chairlift with only one foot in the bindings. The board can exert savage torque on the back leg - I flung myself down before it did damage. I also deliberately decked it on the nursery slope for lack of confidence passing a snake of ESF 4 year olds. I did once do a pre-emptive fall off a bike. I am quite wobbly on a bike, very poor, really. I could see a very narrow bit of path coming up, with a nasty drop onto the beach on side and a big wet ditch the other. I just lost my nerve and decided to fall sideways into the beginning of the wet ditch, for fear of going the other way and landing on the beach. I had a badly grazed arm, but no other injury. The following day I was going to a wedding in a summery short-sleeved dress and being one of the oldest guests I quite enjoyed telling people I'd fallen off my mountain bike. Laughing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I can confirm the "Uphill arm back" fault can also be painful if it's as a result of poor pole planting technique. I know that's not exactly what they are referring to in the first video; but I tore my tricep muscle three days running through doing solid/hard pole plants and then turning sharply round them, so my uphill arm was dragging behind, turning my upper body round viciously, causing me to fall over facing uphill. Confused You'd think I'd have learnt my lesson after day one, but oh no, not Awd. Needles to say I did finally get the message and I don't do this anymore. You live and learn (albeit slowly in my case). Very Happy


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@rob@rar, great tip, crossing your legs so the boot aligns better with the binding. Duly committed to memory (until tomorrow).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As a snowboard instructor, I don't go out of my way to "teach people to fall". This has nothing to do with insurance or liability though. rolling eyes

I do give advice as and when required. Usually when people are learning their first turns if they're getting in that stuck on the tail of the board getting faster and faster position. This is usually to get down low and sit down / take the fall. Tuck in a ball if it gets uncontrolled.

From a personal perspective, I'm a firm believer that I'm lucky to have grown up playing rugby so I'm very used to taking a fall. I've got away with some horrific crashes both snowboarding and mountain biking. One of my prouder moments this year was washing out the front wheel on my bike and going over the bars, getting half-way through my usual tuck-and-roll, realising I had €1000 of drone strapped to my back and reversing the manoeuvre to take a "superman" for the team. The drone thanked me for it. My knees and elbows, not so much....
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Anyone changing their mind on anything after seeing this?

http://youtube.com/v/M4GX1tXKXIg
I suppose:
# as he wasn’t going to be ‘on the terrain’ it’s quite justified he never got the instruction as he simply didn’t need to know. I self-arrest my case.
# he was really lucky to get out of that, wasn’t he? My slide was on the piste, not too steep but icy but on a nasty bendy bit with drops and rocks either side, and other people weaving about. I was lucky not to hit anybody and to stop before anything untoward happened, and I feel fair put out some people on here are ignoring the risk I personally experienced and the danger I unnecessarily was to others through my ignorance on self-arrest due to repeated failures by instructors to get this knowledge to me, and evidence you can find on the internet, depite 16 years of skiing holidays..
# it seems reasonable for me to conclude from my own experience of talking to people, lots of people progress from being beginner with lessons, to more advanced, and some to off piste and getting no more lessons, or just a few, and don’t necessarily get caught in any kind of safety net (unlike that bloke..ha) where they get the basics in this. Enough to make the case for everyone being taught how to fall safely and stop safely as early as practicable. I thought it was a no-brainer but oh well. Knowing how pays off in not just in skiing but other areas of life as well, as some others implied. I actually fell outside Carrefour today myself on some snow covered steps, with some shopping. No harm done at all, either to me or the shopping, thanks to the instruction on falling all those years ago.
# it is definitely my personal experience that instructors have seen me doing bad incompetent falliing and not done anything about it. This includes being in various group lessons where there was the same inaction when others fell. Inc. a couple cases in lessons on last years PSB I feel bound to say. And heavens knows how many times I noticed it when I wasn’t in lessons. I’ve tried to tell people about when they seemed receptive to it, but their responses over the years and the attitude of some the responses on this thread have astounded me.

On the subject of instructors, only this October at Hemel I saw a child learner solo with an instructor going down only from the 50m mark. The child took a fall with classic bad reflex actions impacting his head hard on the surface and did not move at all afterwards. He was stretchered off and although conscious he still wasn't moving anything. I assume he went in an ambulance to A&E. Looked like a broken neck to me. I watched the same guy take other classes afterwards and there was no evidence of any concern when other children fell around in the sort of way where a serious injury was on the cards. And as I recall it BTW, anyone can tear their ACL from a stationary position in a chair lift queue by falling incorrectly? Don’t beginners stand in lift queues?


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 2-12-18 22:35; edited 7 times in total
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stevomcd wrote:
As a snowboard instructor, I don't go out of my way to "teach people to fall". This has nothing to do with insurance or liability though. rolling eyes

I do give advice as and when required. Usually when people are learning their first turns if they're getting in that stuck on the tail of the board getting faster and faster position. This is usually to get down low and sit down / take the fall. Tuck in a ball if it gets uncontrolled.
Exactly right. Trying to teach beginners to self arrest is idiotic, IMHO. Getting beginners to practice endless numbers of falls in order to defeat the instinct that kicks in whenever we take a tumble is the quickest way to put somebody off skiing for life. I talk to people about falling safely, and encourage them to fall sooner rather than later if they have lost control but at all times you're still battling instinct.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Fat George wrote:
...it is definitely my personal experience that instructors have seen me doing bad incompetent falliing and not done anything about it.
If a client of mine falls I always discuss it with them, but my priority is to get them to understand why they fell, what went wrong with their skiing and what should be done to avoid falling for that reason. It's a great learning opportunity, especially if you happen to catch a fall on video.
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@rob@rar,
Quote:

It's a great opportunity to learn bad language, especially if you happen to catch a fall on video.

FIFY
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Over 40yrs on skis I have fallen enough. Luckily only ever hurt myself once, despite my gung-ho years. It was at CairnGorm skiing round the back of the M1 Poma. Was over 25trs ago now, and I can’t remember why I crashed, but I do remember stopping dead. No forward motion, shoulder hit the snow, stopped, and cracked.
I don’t think you can teach how to fall. Nearly all of the time you are out of control anyway. And it sounds a bit negative.... you teach how to, not how not to.
Having said that, if I am falling, then priority is to get my skis off the snow until I am in charge of my body, only then stick my skis below me and use them as brakes, side edge. Don’t have the risk of catching an edge mid tumble if you can.
Obvs that goes out the window if you are tomahawking towards a precipice, then you are willing to lose all your nails in a desperate clamour. But as rob says, you won’t be in that position as an early learner


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Sun 2-12-18 23:55; edited 1 time in total
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