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How to Avoid Injury When Falling on a Snowboard

By Marie Mulrooney

Falls may be an inevitable part of learning to snowboard. But proper safety gear and a little forethought reduce your risk of becoming one of the seven snowboarders that incurs an injury per 1,000 visits to a ski area, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Sprains and fractures are the most common injuries you have to watch out for; beginners are particularly prone to wrist injuries, while advanced snowboarders are more likely to incur ankle injuries.

Step 1

Wear appropriate protective gear: Even experienced snowboarders should wear a helmet, goggles and wrist guards. Beginners and those doing tricks may also wear hip pads, which cushion the backside against backward falls, chest or torso pads, and kneepads for protection during small forward falls.

Step 2

Choose a slope and surface that suits your skill level. Beginners should stick to gentle, uncrowded slopes with soft, groomed snow. Snowboarding during good weather improves your visibility of both the slope and the snow itself.

Step 3

Manage forward falls by keeping your forearms up in front of you; collapse to your knees first if possible, then your forearms. Don't fall on your hands; this can cause wrist injury.

Step 4

Fall backward with less risk of injury by tucking your chin against your chest, to keep the back of your head from hitting the snow; do your best to fall butt-first, then roll smoothly onto your back. Keep your arms in front of your chest. As with a forward fall, trying to catch yourself on your hands can cause serious wrist injury.

Step 5

Roll with the fall if necessary until you've spent all your momentum. If you can, keep your arms tucked in to reduce the risk of wrist, arm and shoulder injuries.

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