Well it’s now late February and the opinion from most old timers here is that the powder snow is now behind us for this season and we are probably in for an early spring.
That means some fast icy hard conditions for Niseko which also increases the chance of an injury.
Yes you need to practise falling in Niseko
What seems to be particularly vulnerable is injuries to the wrist and upper arm in snowboarding injuries.
A recent study in the literature found that nn a study evaluating 7,430 upper-extremity injuries just under half of all snowboarding-related injuries involved the upper extremities, with male riders accounting for 74% of all injuries ( 1).
Fractures and injuries to wrist make up 21% of all snowboarding injuries ( 2) and often top the list as the most common snowboard fracture. So it pays to protect the wrist. Wrist guards can certainly play a role but the best thing snowboard instructors can do is teach there clients how to fall.
I honestly think it’s worth snowboarding schools spend a bit more time actually teaching and practising falling to their clients so that tucking the arms in and curling forward becomes a insticitive motor pattern.
If you are new to snowboarding don’t be afraid to ask your instructors to really help you fall with confidence and style !
So how do you fall correctly ?
The points to keep in mind is that you need to protect the weak vulnerable joints and try and transfer the force of the fall to the largest surface area you can.
Perhaps counterintuitively you are much better fall flat on your back with your neck curled forward to protect the head than you are trying to put your arms out in any way. Keeping yourself as low as possible will also make a difference in how much force occurs.
A good way to try and practise this is remember to cross your arms in front of you as fall backward. This will help you avoid the temptation to sacrifice small bones about the size of almonds in our wrist to the force of a fall.
An what about falling forward ?
Falling forward on your toe side is a little trickier. Here not using the arms is going to end badly as you will get a face full of snow and quite possible injure your head and neck.
To fall forward safely try to get as low as you can by quickly bending the knees, try to fall on your knees first then absorb the force on your forearms rather than your wrists. It’s good to try and turn your head sideways if you can too. Again this must be practised until it becomes automatic.
Above all try and avoid outstretched arms. Collar bones like fraturing just about as much as wrist bones do !
Some good points are found in the video below
If you did manage to injury yourself and would like to see an english speaking Chiropractor. Niseko Chiropractic can be booked year round here
- Idzikowski JR, Janes PC, Abbott PJ. Upper extremity snowboarding injuries. Ten-year results from the Colorado snowboard injury survey. Am J Sports Med. 2000;28(6):825–832.