How To Fall When Snowboarding – 5 Tips for Falling Safely

by Fraser

There is no escaping a fall – lots of them – when snowboarding. Regardless of your experience level, you’re going to eat snow sooner or later! For this reason, it’s essential to learn to fall safely when snowboarding. This reduces your risk of injuries and fractures.

Here are 5 tips on how to fall when snowboarding:

    1. Bend your elbows when falling forward.
    2. Flex your knees and keep your body low to the ground.
    3. Put your hands behind your head when falling backward.
    4. Flex your knees and extend your butt for backward falls.
    5. Invest in the right protective snowboarding gear!

Keep reading to learn how to implement these moves during your snowboarding sessions. Don’t get distracted… this is important!

1. Bend Your Elbows When Falling Forward.

The most common snowboarding fall is forwards… often quite suddenly. If you’re like most people, you’ll stretch your hands in front of you to protect your body as you hit the ground.

DON’T DO THIS!

While this is mostly a reflex action, it is usually a terrible idea.

A FOOSH (fall on an outstretched hand) is the leading cause of snowboarding injuries – often a wrist fracture. You should never try to stop a fall with the palms of your hand.

As soon as you notice that a forward fall is inevitable, remember to quickly bend your elbows and keep your hands in front of your chest.

Allowing yourself to slide forward in this position will reduce the impact on your hands and upper body. The impact will be spready out over your forearms rather than concentrated on your tiny wrist bones. You can practice this by falling onto your bed.

2. Flex Your Knees and Keep Your Body Low to the Ground.

The next tip works hand-in-hand with the first. You don’t want to fall like a log, even with your arms protecting your chest.

Here’s what to do after bringing both of your hands to your chest. Bend at your knees and keep your body as low to the ground as possible.

Falling in this position means that your knees are most likely to hit the ground first. This way, there is less impact on the rest of your body. Your knees are also only “falling” a few inches, so the impact is far less than if your shoulders hit first.

As you slide forward, remember to lift the snowboard off the ground by bending your knees backward with your feet in the air. This move prevents the board from pulling on the snow. 

Combining the first and second tips, here’s the procedure for falling forward on a snowboard:

    1. Bend your elbows and keep both hands in front of your chest. If you are in a position to do so, protect your face with your hands as best you can. 
    2. Curl your body by bending at the knees to keep your body low to the ground.
    3. Once you hit the ground, allow your body to slide forward while bending your knees backward to lift the snowboard off the snow.

In theory, this sounds pretty easy… 

However, it becomes much harder in the heat of the moment! You need to override basic human instincts. Otherwise, those pesky hands of yours will naturally shoot out in front of you!

To overcome this, practice these moves frequently (even in your head at night). You can also learn how to fall safely when snowboarding by using a large bed or trampoline. 

3. Put Your Hands Behind Your Head When Falling Backward.

A backwards fall is dangerous because of the risk of hitting the back of your head on the ground. In the worst-case scenario, this could result in a head, neck, or spinal cord injury. 

Luckily – you’ll be wearing your trusty helmet. No excuses! 

You can also reduce injuries by learning how to fall backwards safely when snowboarding. Just like falling forwards, resist the urge to stick out your hands in an attempt to break a backward fall. This move runs the risk of causing serious arm dislocations!

Rather than stretching your hand behind your body, quickly put both hands behind your head to protect it as soon as you notice that you’re about to fall backward.

This won’t necessarily lessen the impact overall, but it will prevent nasty arm injuries and gives you a shot at protecting your much-needed brain.

Alternatively, tuck your chin to your chest to prevent your head snapping back. You can then keep your arms out front. 

4. Flex Your Knees and Extend Your Butt.

You were born with a natural cushion (some of us more than others). Use it!

When falling backwards, make sure to push your butt far out behind you.

Your body is low to the ground in this position, and your butt will likely hit the ground first. This lessens the impact that will be taken by your back and limbs. 

If you can, remember to lift the snowboard off the ground once you fall.

This manovre will reduce the impact of the fall and reduce injuries to your shoulder, arms, and head.

5. Invest in the Right Protective Snowboarding Gear!

For too many years I shunned protective gear, feeling that it was too uncool or bulky. Having tried some of the newer products on the market, I’m a convert!

Even when following the above advice, an unexpected snowboarding fall is going to put a lot of force through your joints. This is especially true when moving at speed or jumping at amplitude. 

Protective gear like helmets and impact shorts really does help. It can be the difference between a slightly sore butt and a season-ending tailbone fracture. 

Invest in a good-quality helmet that fits you nicely. Helmets can prevent head, neck, and spinal cord injuries. Good wrist guards can prevent wrist fractures and my impact shorts are my new best friend. 

Which protective gear should you get? Let’s keep it simple – I’m a big fan of Rippl impact gear as they’re the best bang for your buck.

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Let’s Check Out Some Footage…

Jonathan Buckhouse shows us how to fall when snowboarding… in the safest way possible.

Key Takeaways

Falling is inevitable when snowboarding. It happens to the best of us. 

Some of these tips will help you fall safely on a snowboard:

    • Don’t stretch out your hands when you fall – this reduces the risk of wrist fractures.
    • Bend your knees and curl your body. This position keeps you close to the ground and reduces the fall’s impact.
    • Bend your elbows with both hands in front of your chest when falling forward.
    • Put your hands over the back of your head to protect it when falling backward. Alternatively, tuck your chin down and keep your arms in front of your chest. 

Hopefully these tips will help you master the art of falling when snowboarding. Remember, if you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning. Keep it up!

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