When you "bail" on a snowboard a multitude of nasty things can happen due to the facts that you are strapped to the board and that the board is great at catching snow with its edges. So you may end up tumbling, twisting your joints and spraining muscles in the process.

The question is: once you realised you are destined to fall what is the effective way of minimising the risk of serious injury (or simply minimising the risk of tumbling and/or stopping in an awkward position with a twisted knee)?

One things I saw and tried is to rotate onto your back as soon as possible and slide on your back while lifting the feet with the board up to avoid catching the snow and causing a tumble. Is this safe? How could you get into such position quickly? Is there a better approach?

And please, don't tell me not to fall - I already try not to :)

Bonus: Is there a good technique to quickly recover from a fall? I.e. use the residual momentum of to get up and get going again quickly (if you aren't hurt of course)

3 Answers 3


If you feel that you are falling I believe the best you can do is to tuck to avoid injuring your wrists/elbows and avoid hitting the slope with your head. In certain situations falling can be avoided, but I don't know any techniques for that - it comes naturally with your experience, I believe. After the fall I do try to turn to my back - but I don't lift the board - quite the contrary, I try to come to full stop as quickly as possible.

When you fall it's sometimes possible to quickly get back to your feet if you haven't lost momentum - but I'm pretty sure it's best to take your time and listen to your sensations to avoid worsing your injuries - I once broke a wrist and it took me good 10 minutes to realise something was wrong with it. And btw, getting twisted ankle on snowdoard is kind of tricky unless one of your feet gets unstrapped.

  • 3
    +1 for the last paragraph. Sometimes if something is wrong it might not be apparent right away (and sometimes it will be VERY apparent lol).
    – Shane
    Feb 9, 2012 at 15:47
  • One thing about using the board to stop yourself when sliding — only do it if the board is uphill from you! I was sliding down a slope on my front feet first once (having just slipped out on a hard patch), I dug the board in and it bit instantly! Net result: I flipped backwards, hitting the back of my head pretty damned hard.
    – Matt Lacey
    May 31, 2012 at 23:57

One thing I would mention is to try to minimize the risk to your environment and yourself. Use whatever control you have to avoid colliding with other people as well as trees, rocks, etc. Try and warn someone if it looks like you may collide. Usually this won't leave enough time to actually react but it may work.

I also try to slow myself as much as possible. If you can reasonably get an edge in you may be able to slow yourself completely and almost lay down instead of straight up falling. It's been my experience that falling at high speeds often results in tumbling and multiple impacts which has resulted in some of my worst injuries.


There is an old debate I've seen on snowboarding forums about whether it's best to tense your muscles or relax your muscles in a fall. I've concluded that tense muscles tend to protect bones and resist twisted joints, but it would be interesting to hear what more experienced riders say. (this will be my ninth season)

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