I took a class on self-arresting, and for anyone who hikes mountains in the winter, you must learn how to do this!
It is ok to learn skills like this by watching a video, but you have to actually go out and practice! Try sliding down the slope in each of the 4 directions mountaineers like to consider (even though there are infinite ways I could fall!)
1. feet first on your stomach 2. feet first on your back 3. head first on your stomach 4. head first on your back
Not surprisingly, the last way is the hardest way to fall! But after a couple hours of practice I was able to get the technique down, and so can you.
For those of you looking for traditional hiking and backpacking tips, check out HikingLady.com
Self-arrest is a mountaineering related maneuver in which a climber that has fallen and is sliding down a snow or ice slope arrests (stops) the slide by himself without recourse to a rope or other belay system.
Self-arrest can be performed by using an ice axe or by using the climber's hands, feet, knees and elbows. Self-arrest with an ice axe is a difficult maneuver, but without it the probability of effectively arresting a fall is greatly diminished.