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No-Fall Snowboarding

by Danny Martin with Matt Diehl

Reviewed by Jim Owen, June 2006

I had great hope when I ordered this book. No-Fall Snowboarding! Are you kidding me? Even though the wise saying "If it sounds to good to be true, it is," was ringing in the back of my mind, any chance that the promise of not falling while learning to snowboard might be true was worth the price of the book. First, a little about me, Iąm 53 years old and am an accomplished skier. My son (23 years old) talked me into trying snowboarding on a week trip to Colorado over a year ago. I skied the first day and strapped a snowboard on for the other four.

I tried to pick it up on my own after watching my son riding black diamond runs on his second day of boarding. After falling about 30 or 40 times the first morning. I decided to take a lesson that afternoon. Unfortunately, my instructor might have been a good snowboarder, but she was not a teacher and I didnąt learn much. On my fourth day, I could get down a green slope with only three or four falls but I still didnąt look like a snowboarder. I looked like a skier trying to ride a snowboard.

So, before our next snowboarding trip (despite the pain, I hung my skis up for good!) I bought No-Fall Snowboarding, hoping that I could finally learn to snowboard (and with less pain since I wouldnąt be falling). Danny Martinąs premise is that the traditional method of teaching snowboarding involves moving into an unbalanced state when turning. His method calls for staying in a balanced stance and initiating turns by raising one shoulder while simultaneously dropping the other.

I practiced these moves for a month before hitting the slopes. I was a little concerned because when I practiced raising and dropping my shoulders, my weight didnąt seem to shift much at all, but I figured it would be different when I was on the snow.

Well, it wasn't. Occasionally I would turn, but the turns didn't seem to be caused by the shoulder move. And the technique wasnąt reliable. Sometimes I would just go straight down the fall line and sometimes I would turn the opposite way that I was supposed to! I still fell a lot and my son spent all his time waiting for me at the bottom of the mountain.

To be fair, maybe the problem was me and not the instruction, but that doesnąt matter a whole lot when you catch a heel-side edge! So, back to the drawing board. I just ordered the DVD BoardingSkool with Becci Malthouse. I'm going to give it a try this December and will give a report on my progress and the DVD.

Hi Jim,
Ouch! Sounds like you had a tough time! Don't give up. It will never be this hard once you learn to stay on your edges. (Somehow, none of my zillion teachers ever told me that. I guess they thought I should know, but not being a skier, I didn't!)
Sounds like you could use some padding during this painful learning curve.
"You Don't Have to Hurt Yourself to Snowboard" is my article and will be helpful!

These readers found No Fall Snowboarding Very Helpful


I just read the review of "No Fall Snowboarding" and had to put in my two cents worth. I had the opposite experience as the other reviewer with this book. Many years ago, I took a snowboard lesson and fell too many times to count. In 26 years of skiing, this was the only time I ended up in the ski patrol shack, then at the x-ray clinic in town. I swore I would never try snowboarding again.

Then, last year, my husband and daughter learned to snowboard, and I decided to give it another try. I was very scared of falling the way I had before, but when I saw this book, I thought I'd give his method a try. I can honestly say that it worked for me, and that in a dozen or more days boarding, I have only fallen couple of times and have progressed to be able to ride blue runs. I credit this book with my ability to do that, and I would encourage anyone who wants to try a different method to give it a try.

Kasia Wilson
Bend, OR
January 2007

From Reader Andy M., who started riding in his late 40's with his kids:

I recently bought/read "No Fall Snowboarding". Initially I didn't like it because the author was ego-tripping. I think the book could be 1/4 as thick and little would be missed. It gets relevant around page 80.

I free-ride regular. I went out last weekend to play with and test his approach. On the cat walk off the lift I got in his NBP, raised my left shoulder while dipping my
right. I found myself on a nice heel side left turn. I dipped my left shoulder and raised my right and found myself on a nice toe side right turn. Cool. My son said, "Hey, that's like the pointing-trick: you point where you want to go and so you go."

Launching down a blue run I toggled my shoulders and but bent my knees and ankles and found my long/wide board "coming about" in a nice tight left arc. I toggled my shoulders again and made a tight arc to the right. Sweet. I played with his method all day and have to say it worked well. I've been toe-side carving well for two years but often my heel side carves involved more sliding than carving. Using Martin's shoulder thing has cleaned up my heel side carving. At times its startling to realize how fast I can get this long board to "come about".

One other thing about the book. Toward the end he discusses the scientific validity of his method and in particular talks about how fast a right-brained snow boarder has to react to terrain. The example says you have 0.25 seconds to react to something 10 feet away. Do the math: 10 feet/ 0.25 Sec translates to a 27.3mph. At twice that speed you've got half as much time to react.

I like the quickness and stability that Martin's method affords. I'm going to continue to "play" with his method until it becomes my only method. I'm also going to take a copy to the incredible skier that runs the training program at my favorite local resort and tell her to buy a copy for each of her boarding instructors. I think it's a great improvement to boarding instruction and method. The jury is still out but I'm looking forward to a faster and safer season, partly due to Martin's "no fall" shoulder tilt method.

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