Getting Up From Falls
One of the most common questions asked in beginner ski lessons is "how do I get up from a fall?". Almost always this question is asked by a skier that has already tried XC skiing on their own and discovered the unfortunate consequences of skiing without prior instruction.
Getting up from falls is a very simple process on well-groomed trails and only slightly more difficult on ungroomed surfaces depending on snow depth and terrain.
Here we focus on the basics with an eye toward groomed trails.
Step One: Get Organized After Going Down
First you have the basic fall. We haven't over-dramatized this shot, but it is possible to end up on the snow in a much less flattering position. In soft snow you'll also often end up with quite a bit of snow on you. Biggest key once you are down in the snow is to calmly get yourself together and -- one way or another -- get onto your backside. If you are on any type of slope (most likely time for a fall), you absolutely must get your skis parallel to each other, downhill of your body, and across the fall line of the slope. The easiest way to get your skis in the right position is to lie back and kick them into the air. You may not like the idea of lying on your back to start the getting up process, but on steep slopes or really soft snow, this is often the only way many beginners can safely get organized after a good egg-beater fall.
Many beginners will prefer to take off their poles in the organization step just to have two less things getting in the way. This is entirely up to you, but if it helps, make sure to keep the poles close by.
Kids can have a ball rolling around in the snow but most adults do not enjoy this process at all. The key is to accept that, yes, you have fallen. Wasn't the end of the world. Happens to everyone all the time. The best thing you can do now is organize yourself so you can get up as quickly as possible...but also in an efficient and safe manner.
Step Two: Get The Body Over Your Skis
This step is shown in the two adjacent images.
After you get your skis together and across the fall line, you then want to get your body over your skis to start the "up" process. Many beginner skiers try and shortcut things by doing a pull-up with their poles from a sitting position. This is bad on two counts. One is that you can really strain your arms trying such a maneuver. Two is that while you are pulling up with the poles, you also almost always are leaning backwards. This then shoots your skis forward which can easily put you right back on your bottom.
The better way to do things is to crawl or slide your body around such that you end up on your hands and knees directly over your skis. If you have your skis parallel and downhill, you should be able to make this slide/crawl happen without too much work. Remember that your heels are free on the skis and that you are free to slide your skis as necessary to get into the right position. Now you are almost there!
Step Three: Kneel
This step is the easiest. You simply slide one foot forward and get yourself in a kneeling position. Call it a marriage proposal or "meeting the king" position.
If you took off your poles when you were getting organized or getting over your skis, now is a good time to put them back on just in case you want to use your poles for stability immediately after standing up.
Step Three: Stand Up
Yep, that's all there is to it! Once you successfully get to the kneeling position, all you need to do is stand. The big thing to note is that the poles are never used in this entire process. You could use the poles to stabilize yourself as you stand up -- but it is better to avoid doing so in order to avoid the temptation to go back to the pull up maneuver.
The final thing you need to do is make sure to do a once-over and brush off any snow that you have on your body and head. This isn't really a vanity exercise, snow on your clothing will melt as you ski (especially if you are really getting after things) and this will then obviously make your clothing wet causing discomfort, especially if you stop for any length of time. A quick brush off or shake will usually get the snow off and you'll be on your way for more ski adventures!