Finding the Fall Line

Problems making turns? Riding switch? Looking to get air for the first time (on purpose)? Ask these and other questions here. If there's a more specific forum, please ask there.

Finding the Fall Line

Postby Rob » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:12 pm

Under some lighting conditions and on some terrains I find it hard to see the snow much less see the fall line. The reason I want to know where the fall line is is that once I'm on it, I can finish my turn, but yesterday I judged that point incorrectly a couple times and initiated my toeside traverse too soon, caught the toe edge and tumbled.

So I know I should shift my weight forward to make the transition from the heelside traverse to traveling down the fall line, but I'm having trouble sensing when I should move out over the toe edge to make the transition to the toeside traverse.

So my question is: How do you sense when you are on the fall line in poor lighting conditions or in wide open terrain that's not so steep that the fall line is obvious?
Posts: 76
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:41 pm
Location: Bay Area, California

Postby canoer » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:47 am

I don't. I just crash. When the light is that flat or bad I just head for the lodge these days. (Today was finally bluebird - yah!).

I have a few runs that I could just about ride blindfolded, but that knowledge doesn't help me much in bad light or in a cloud. I still wind up getting vertigo and catching my edge.

You'd think someone would invent a halogen fog light built into the front binding for those kind of days.

Trying to follow others on the slope or looking for bits of debris blown onto the trail can help.
Last edited by canoer on Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 196
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:11 am
Location: Ontonagon MI

Postby wrathfuldeity » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:27 am

Rob, maybe its not the fall line but the relationship of your COG, the edge and the slope...its easy when traversing...cog over the uphill edge...but when pointing then its about having your cog over the edge that you are transitioning to and the slope is not factored in...such as in riding up a wall (I'm not articulating my thoughts very well, not even sure what I trying to say).

On the other hand, Baker is noted for its flat light, pea soup fog and whiteouts and we just get used to riding learn to trust your cat like reactions...mainly the ability to absorb the terrain with your legs (ride too straight legged and you get thrown) and to trust your board. In poor vis, by the time you see it, its usually too late to it more like trying to float on top of the chop and suck up your knees to transition/initiate a turn and extend near the apex of the turn. idk
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:52 am
Location: Bellingham, WA

Postby bernwern » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:06 am

Well, I guess I haven't had this problem for many years, so I can't recall how I got passed it. What I can do is offer two suggestions:

1) Learn to train your body/mind to "feel" when you hit the fall line and need to switch edges. Eventually it won't matter if your on the fall line, unless you are doing long, laid-out carves. If you can concentrate on the overall expirience when you can see what you are doing, you can do it without sight later.

2) Get a new goggle lens. For flat light and night riding I use Oakley's HI Yellow; this lens is like putting high-beams on, as everything looks brighter, but you also get a boost in definition. There are still times when it doesn't help, but it is better than nothing!

Hope that helps some and good luck!

Posts: 269
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 2:43 pm
Location: Oakdale, MN

Fall line(s)

Postby Rob2 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:28 am

True or false? You are ALWAYS on a fall-line.

The mountain has an infinite number of fall lines. You may be traversing across the fall lines crossing one after another in quick succession or you may be pointing straight down the hill and following just one fall line.


Maybe this is obvious, but at least one beginner (me) has long been confused by the often-heard phrase, "THE fall line..." which seems to imply just one. Perhaps when an instructor uses this phrase he or she is referring to the one fall line that currently passes through the center of your board. :?:
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:32 am

Re: Fall line(s)

Postby SteveH » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:08 pm

The fall line is the direction a ball would roll if released at that point on the slope. The confusion comes because the run often doesn't follow the fall line directly.

This is often referred to a dual fall line: the run is taking you from a higher to a lower point, but there may be sections that also slope to the rider's left or right. Even the "dual" fall line sections could be resolved into a single line, except for the fact that this line would take you into the trees. You therefore need to take a line that slopes down ahead of you and also to one side.

This used to drive me nuts because it can be very challenging to get on edge when turning to the side that falls away. When you tip the board as much as you normally do,its stil flat on the snow because the hill is sloped to that side. This can precipitate an edge catch because you think you should have enough edge angle to start the turn when the board is really flat.

The solution is to get the board way up on edge when turning into the falling away side--drive the knees to the snow or drop your butt really low.
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:08 pm
Location: Denver, CO

Re: Finding the Fall Line

Postby heelturn » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:38 am

if lighting is bad or when in doubt bend knees more ride edges more severe and learn to not be afraid of jumping on your snow board . jumping has got me out of a lot of jams
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:19 am
Location: Guelph

Re: Finding the Fall Line

Postby John2 » Fri Jan 09, 2015 2:32 pm

That's interesting. How has jumping helped?
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 7:11 am

Return to Techniques and Learning to Ride

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest