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Skiing Falls

What Skiers Need to Know About Falling

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Skiing Falls Copyright Steve Mason / Getty Images

I have been asked by several people "How should I fall when skiing?" First, let me say that it is my sincere hope that all skiers reach the degree of perfection that falling is never an issue. That said, my bottom still aches from a recent close encounter with some "loud powder" or ice, as it is known in the Northeast.

So, as much as I hate to talk about it, here's what every skier needs to know about falling:

Falls are Quick. Since gravity pulls at 32 feet per second squared you're going down fast. There is not much time to enjoy the ride!

Forget about Fashion Falls. Nobody looks good with arms, legs poles, and skis flailing about.

Check Your Bindings. Have your bindings professionally adjusted at the beginning of every season. With proper binding adjustment, you probably won't break a leg. Leg bone fractures have decreased dramatically over the last 20 years with better releasing bindings, which should be set by a pro ski tech. All bets are off if you borrow Auntie’s old skis from the basement.

Sliding down the Mountain. Nine times out of ten you won’t slide too far. However, sliding feet first don't try to use the skis to brake your slide - or maybe we will have to respell "brake."

Self Arresting. If I have to explain self-arresting techniques to stop a slide-for-life, you shouldn't be skiing where you might need to self arrest. I need to keep all the readers I have.

Ski Your Level. Ski trails are marked for skill levels. This is the ability to arrive at the bottom in one piece. Enjoy skiing on trails that match your ability and don’t be talked into going over your head – pun intended.

Don't Drink and Ski. The only good thing there is about drinking is that you might not remember the fall. However, the ski patroller putting you in the ambulance will be able to tell you all the gory details.

Finally, Everybody Falls. Watch Bode Miller ski sometime. Ski safely and enjoy the snow - most of the time it's soft!

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