# how come skiers don’t break their legs?

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How come skiers are able to do those long jumps where they stay in the air for a few seconds and land unscathed while a normal jump that lasts that long would probably break your leg?

In: Physics
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Because when they land, they don’t really stop. As the saying goes, “it’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end.” Ski jumps are set up so that there doesn’t have to be a sudden stop. The landing slope is sloped downward at an angle almost as steep as the ski jumper is falling, so when they make contact with the ground, they don’t have to absorb *all* their momentum with their legs all at once. If they made the same jump but there was just flat ground waiting for them below, then it would be a lot uglier.

They land on a downward slope so they donâ€™t go from free fall to stopped so suddenly. They keep some of that movement energy as they keep sliding down instead of just absorbing all the energy with their legs.

The landing ramp is so steep it’s nearly vertical at the point of landing. From the jumper’s perspective the ground slowly rises up to meet you, and the jumper lands at a very shallow angle to the ground. Only after the landing does the down ramp level out, also gradually.

[Here’s a full ski jumping hill](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Lysg%C3%A5rd.JPG/800px-Lysg%C3%A5rd.JPG). The jumpers are landing halfway down that ramp, at the steepest part.