I know what it's like to crash at 70 mph. I also know what it's like to tip over when I'm practically standing still. In both cases, I've found it's best to stand up grinning and unhurt.
In a downhill race you can find yourself tumbling before you know what happened. But in free skiing you often feel the fall coming. In either situation, fighting the fall is more hazardous-especially to your knees-than surrendering to gravity.
No matter what your level of expertise, learning to fall is an important skill. But for those skiers who enjoy tackling new terrain and pushing their limits, falling is an essential move to master. Follow these tips to safe tumbling.
Stay loose, so you can slide on rather than smack the snow.
Glide on the largest surfaces of your body-preferably your back and butt.
Keep your head, hands and arms elevated so that you don't get a finger, elbow or shoulder wrenched out of place.Don't
Stop short (unless you're going to hit another skier or a large inanimate object).
Fall downhill across your skis.
Catch a whirling ski tip or tail in the snow.A former U.S. Ski Team member and Olympian, Doug won a bronze medal in the 1985 World Championships downhill. He is currently the ambassador of skiing at Sugarbush, Vt.