Even for experienced Nordic skiers, a controlled fall is a good way to bail out of a dangerous situation if you think you're about to go out of control. And if you're a new skier -- well, then the occasional fall is a fact of life. But not for long.
Of course once you're down you have to get back up again, which isn't all that intuitive when you've got long skis strapped to your feet. With a little practice, however, the process becomes simple -- and a lot more graceful than the initial fall.
Take a deep breath. Every person you see on skis has fallen at some point. Welcome to the club.
Lie back and skootch around to get your skis downhill from you if you're on a slope, even a very mild one. Both skis should be parallel to each other. If you're not on a slope, just get both of your skis pointing in the same direction.
Bend your knees, bringing the skis closer to your body--it should look like you're squatting on the skis, even though you're still laying on the ground. Don't worry, you'll get your dignity back quickly.
Work your body over your skis, hips first, until you're on your hands and knees atop the skis. There's no single best way to do this -- it usually involves a lot of wiggling and scooting -- but it has to be done. Your ski poles won't do you much good right now unless you're in very deep snow, so feel free to drop them.
Stand up one leg at a time. If you don't already have your ski poles in hand, now's the time to grab them. Congratulations, you're upright again. And because your skis are pointing across the slope instead of down it, you won't take off again until you're ready.
Retrieve anything you may have dropped, including your gloves and poles, before heading back on your way again.
- If you do find yourself having to take a deliberate, controlled fall, squat down as low as possible over the skis first -- that way you have a shorter distance to fall.
- If your upper half ends up in snow so soft you can't press yourself upright with your hands, form both ski poles into an "X" shape and lay them on the snow. Plant one hand on the intersection of the "X" and use it to press yourself upright; the poles will distribute your weight over a wider surface area.
- Always check around you for incoming ski traffic before you start getting up. If other skiers are coming your way, wave a pole or make noise so they see you. In a worst case scenario -- if they can't stop or go around you -- scrunch into a ball so you make as small a target as possible, and try to move your skis and poles so they're not blocking the trail.