How to fall well this ski & snowboard season.

Ski & Snowboard Injury Prevention: How to Fall.

For those of you who attended our ski & snowboard workshop in October, thank you! We are so glad we get to share our knowledge with our community. For those of you who missed it, here is an article from snowboarder Nate Vigil, PT, DPT about how to fall well. Also see the MovNat video online about practicing and building up your rolling and falling skill.

We spent an hour and a half a few weeks ago talking about common ski and snowboard injuries and the most important things to do to prevent injury at our October free community workshop.


Falling is something that comes with the territory of learning to snowboard. The first few times I went snowboarding, I spent more time on my butt after falling than upright going down the mountain. It was also in my first handful of times on the mountain that I injured myself going down a bunny hill. As I’ve become more experienced, one of the things I have gotten much better at is falling and getting back up. Most of us don’t think of falling as a skill, but it is a movement technique that can be practiced and mastered.


The main goal of learning how to fall properly is to avoid injury. The most common injuries in snowboarding are wrist and head injuries. While falling, it is natural instinct to reach out and catch ourselves with our hands, and this impact leads to wrist and shoulder sprains and fractures. Falling backward is the most common mechanism of injury for mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions) in snowboarding. If we can learn to fall well, we can hopefully avoid these injuries. This is especially important for beginners, as they get injured at a much higher rate than more advanced snowboarders.

A good technique to use while falling backward, rather than catching yourself with your hands, is to try to use a rocking movement. Try to lower your hips and roll onto a rounded spine while keeping your chin tucked to your chest. Your arms should reach outward with palms down. This will allow the force of the fall to transfer to the rolling movement rather than taking that force through your wrist or shoulder joints.


Falling forward is a little bit trickier. The ideal technique is to roll forward over a shoulder and use the momentum of the fall to get back onto your feet. Below is a video with a good progression to work toward mastering a forward roll. This is an advanced movement so be sure to get some help from your favorite movement expert.


About the Author:
Nate Vigil, PT, DPT


Dr. Nate Vigil received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of New Mexico in June of 2016. He is a certified athletic trainer and has experience working with collegiate, high school and recreational athletes and also played football in junior college at the New Mexico Military Institute. You’ll see Nate up on the slopes this winter, falling well as usual.

What if you’re already hurt, or can’t do these movements well or without pain?

Let us know. We would be happy to help you, through individualized physical therapy or athletic training assessment and guidance, or through MovNat classes or private sessions. Contact us today to get started! Remember, you might not need a referral to see a physical therapist, so call our office today and see how you can get started. Have a wonderful ski season!

Now what?  Keep up to date and catch the details you missed with our blog.

In case you were overwhelmed by the amount of information that was presented, follow our blog online or find us on Apple News for regular updates. Our next article will have some exericises you should include in your training program to reduce your risk of injury.

Thank you again, and please be sure to swing back in, either to see a PT for an injury, work with Julie for an injury risk screening, or to try a MovNat class or run on the AlterG.