Learning how to stop properly on skis is one of the most important skills for every skier or snowboarder to master. Being able to control your speed and come to a complete stop safely is crucial for avoiding collisions, falls and injuries on the slopes. This comprehensive guide provides expert instruction, tips and techniques for mastering various ski stopping methods.
The ability to stop swiftly and effectively gives you much-needed control over your downhill momentum. Stopping requires coordination between your upper and lower body along with proper weight transfer. Mastering stops takes practice but is essential for safety. Unexpected obstacles, varying terrain and other skiers crossing your path make it necessary to know how to scrub speed and stop on demand.
Knowing when and how to use certain types of ski stops allows you to smoothly adapt to different conditions and situations. Learning proper stopping skills early on also builds confidence for learning more advanced skiing maneuvers down the line.
There are several main types of ski stops, ranging from basic to advanced. Mastering at least one or two can make you a well-rounded, adaptable skier.
The snowplow or wedge stop is the most fundamental stopping technique. It's usually the first method taught to beginners.
To execute a snowplow stop:
The wedge shape creates drag that slows you down. This is an effective way to control speed as a beginner.
The hockey stop allows experienced skiers to come to an abrupt, quick stop.
To hockey stop:
This aggressive braking method requires expertise. Use caution to avoid catching an edge.
The sideslip is somewhere between a wedge and hockey stop. It involves sliding the skis sideways across the hill to shave off speed.
Use sideslipping to scrub speed on steeper pitches. This versatile stop is great for tackling different inclines and conditions.
Learning to stop on skis has a learning curve. Be patient and watch out for these frequent beginner mistakes:
Concentrating on proper form will help you override these tendencies and stop more efficiently.
It is similar to a standard snowplow but with tails closer together than tips to provide more friction and braking power. Sit back and engage your edges to execute. This technique is useful for slowing down quickly on steeper slopes when you need more braking power than a regular wedge stop. Keep your weight centered between the skis as you bring the tails together.
It is an old-school technique that involves stemming one ski out perpendicular to the other with knees angled outward to quickly slow down. It's fun to try but requires expertise. The Stem Christie is an advanced move requiring good coordination and edge control to execute the stemming motion. Use it sparingly for style points rather than as your go-to stopping method.
From a parallel skiing stance, gently skid the edges of both skis at the same pace to distribute pressure and stabilize your stop. This is a great way to scrub speed smoothly while maintaining stability on steeper slopes. Make subtle edge angle adjustments to control braking power and avoid catching an edge.
The type of stop you use should take into account variables like snow conditions, pitch, traffic and your skill level. Here are some general guidelines on which techniques work best for different situations:
Practice judging when to apply the ideal stop for maximum control and safety.
Learning proper stopping techniques is only part of the battle. You also need to ski in control and be prepared to stop at all times. Here are some key tips:
Stay focused, calm, and centrally balanced over your feet and edges. Have a plan and the ability to execute emergency stops if necessary.
In addition to edge control, effective ski stopping requires proper coordination between your upper and lower body. Keep these technique tips in mind:
With an athletic stance and centered balance, you can apply leverage and torque for a smooth, stable stop.
It’s common to make some mistakes when you first start learning how to stop on skis. Being aware of these errors can help you correct any bad habits early on:
Knowing when to use a certain stopping technique is key for safety and control. Consider these factors when deciding which method to use:
Get in the habit of assessing conditions and choosing your stop accordingly. Having multiple reliable techniques in your repertoire makes it easier to adapt.
Scanning ahead is one of the most important elements of ski stopping. You should always be looking at least 3-5 seconds down the slope to identify:
Focus about 10-15 feet ahead while also using peripheral vision to monitor edges and surroundings. Time your stops proactively, not reactively.
For most beginners, the snowplow stop is the easiest technique to start with. It allows you to control speed gently while feeling out your edges. Once comfortable, you can progress to the more abrupt pizza wedge stop.
Stay centered over your base of support, flex your ankles and knees to absorb force, and press straight down through your shins to engage your edges cleanly without catching.
In the same way you progress from a wedge to parallel turns, you will make this turn by using the hill to help you stop. When you are ready to come to a stop, bring your skis across the hill. Using the terrain to naturally stop.