How To Hockey Stop On Skis Like A Pro

How To Hockey Stop On Skis Like A Pro

Learning how to stop whilst skiing is likely not going to be the first that comes to mind, particularly for beginners who are just starting out with the sport.

Stopping is an incredibly important aspect of skiing though and is just as important as other aspects of the sport such as learning how to keep your balance, increase your speed, or stay upright.

Being able to stop safely is of the utmost importance as otherwise, you are at risk of injuring yourself.

Injuries gained from not learning the proper stopping techniques can range from mild to severe, possibly even resulting in the loss of life if you are moving particularly fast and become unable to control your movements.

Don’t let this worry you though, as there are plenty of techniques- including the hockey stop- that you can learn and utilize that will have you stooping on your skis like a pro in no time.

Let’s take a look at exactly how to stop on skis and the different techniques you can use to do so, whether you are a beginner skier or a more experienced one.

The Basics

Before we get into any specific techniques, it would be wise to start by getting familiar with some basic principles when it comes to stopping when skiing.

The first thing to keep in mind when trying to stop on skis is that you need to be sure that your feet are solidly planted on the ground before trying to stop.

If they aren’t, you run the risk of stumbling, tripping over them, and hurting yourself.

Next, you need to bend your knees slightly, but don’t go so far that they’re completely straight.

If your knees are straight, you are likely to lose your balance and could fall backward.

Finally, try to keep your arms near your body and avoid swinging them around.

This can be tricky, as swinging your arms is going to be an automatic response if you find yourself slipping or falling. Do your best to avoid it as much as you can!

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best techniques to help you stop whilst skiing.

The Hockey Stop

The hockey stop- or parallel skiing- technique is one that can be used when skiing uphill.

To perform this technique, just step sideways and then move in the direction you want to go. This action should cause your skis to move outwards and away from you.

If you want to keep skiing, you can either let go of your skis completely or hold onto them by putting your hand under them.

Whatever choice you make, you should now be ready to coast smoothly down the rest of the slope without fear of losing your speed control!

The Benefits Of The Hockey Stop Technique

One of the biggest benefits of using the hockey stop technique is that it allows you to slow down quickly without injuring yourself.

It can be used to change direction easily, as well as turn back towards where you started. It’s also very simple to learn, making it perfect for beginners.

Now let’s take a look at some other methods of stopping whilst skiing.

Other Methods Of Stopping

How to Hockey Stop on Skis like a Pro (2)


Technique 1: The Squat Stance

The squat stance is an easy way to stop on skis. It is also particularly useful for beginners, so it makes sense to begin with this technique!

To perform this technique you need to stand straight and put both your hands on top of one another.

When you’ve done this, bend down so that your thighs are parallel to your feet. You should now be standing in what is called the squat position.

Once you’ve reached this point, you can start applying pressure to the snow using the soles of your feet.

By pressing down on the snow with your foot, you’re essentially creating friction between your feet and the surface of the snow.

The resulting friction will start to gradually slow you down until you stop completely.

Technique 2: The Snowplow/ The Pizza Stop

This is another common stopping technique that tends to be used by skiers when they are skiing downhill.

It is known as both the pizza stop (known as such for the wedge shape that you place your skis in that is reminiscent of a slice of pizza!) and the snowplow stop.

To perform this technique, you simply take two steps forward and then two steps backward while keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees.

This will help you create more friction between your skis and the snow.

Furthermore, you should always aim to keep your elbows tucked in close to your body.

If you don’t then there is a chance that you could hit something with your arms and hurt yourself even further.

Keep those elbows in to make for safe skiing!

Technique 3: The Wedged Turn Stop

Another useful stopping technique for when you’re skiing on steep terrain is the wedged turn stop.

To perform this technique, simply lean forward and place your knee against the inside of your ski.

Doing this will force you to slow down and come to a gradual stop. If you want to accelerate again, just remove your knee from the side of your ski and start skiing again.

Technique 4: The Sliding Foot Stance

This technique is another way to stop on skis that can be incredibly useful. It involves sliding your foot across the snow.

To do this, just slide your foot forward in the snow until you feel some resistance.

Once you reach this point, just let your back leg push off and allow your front leg to follow suit.

This action allows you quickly and safely to stop without having to jump up and down.

Technique 5: Landing On Both Sides Of Your Ski

One final technique to stop on skis is to land on both sides of your ski.

To do this, place your right foot on the outside of your left ski and then repeat the process on the opposite side.

Once you’ve landed on both sides, just jump back to the middle of your ski if you want to go back to skiing.

This is a particularly good technique for beginners because it requires very little effort, and it gives a good workout at the end.

That being said, it is also a technique utilized by the advanced skier as well as the professional skier.

How Not To Stop On Skis

There you have some particularly handy techniques that are useful to know when learning how to stop when skiing.

Whilst these are certainly important to know, another important element to consider is how not to stop.

Trying to stop inappropriately can lead to as much damage to yourself and others as not stopping at all can.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some ways that you should definitely NOT utilize when trying to stop on skis!

Jumping Up And Down

Do not attempt to stop by jumping up and down on your skis as this is likely to only result in you falling over and hurting yourself or others as you fall.

Instead, focus on maintaining control of your balance throughout as you ski and utilize some of the above techniques if you need to stop.

Lifting One Ski Off The Ground

If you lift one of your skis off the ground, you’ll lose contact with the snow, which could lead to a loss of traction.

Another issue with this method is potential damage to your skis.

If you lift your ski off the ground, there is a chance that you could damage the binding systems.

Therefore, you shouldn’t lift one ski off the snow unless absolutely necessary.

Sticking Out Your Arms

You should also avoid sticking out an arm when trying to stop on skis as you not only risk hurting yourself- or even breaking your arm if you’re going fast enough-, but you could also risk hurting other people in the process.

As we said, it can be very hard not to automatically want to bring your arms out to catch yourself if you find yourself falling or going too fast as you ski.

The more experience you get, the more you will be able to control that impulse, so just keep practicing!

Using A Pole Or Stick

When skiing, you should avoid using a pole or a stick to stop.

Although these items can sometimes be used for balance purposes- and can be helpful in this manner-, they are not designed to be used to stop yourself whilst you are moving.

Certain poles often have grips attached to them which can prevent you from being able to use them in this kind of way.

Trying to use an external item is likely to be more detrimental when it comes to stopping whilst skiing.

Purposely Falling Over

You definitely should not attempt to stop on skis by falling over on purpose!

If you do this, you could easily do yourself a major injury or come crashing down on top of other people.

Much like sticking out your arms, it can be hard not to want to just throw yourself on the floor when moving really fast, particularly if you find yourself panicking!

Avoid it if you can, as you could end up severely hurting yourself or others.

Safety Whilst Stopping On Skis

To ensure that you don’t fall when you’re coming to a stop, you should always make certain that you have a good grip on your skis before attempting to stop.

Also, you should make sure that you don’t put too much weight on either ski until you’ve stopped. Doing this will help keep your balance and prevent accidents.

Try not to stop at sharp inclines or drop-offs, and don’t go downhill at high speeds either to avoid any accidents.

Always remember to take care, and you should be fine!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many ways to stop on skis safely. You don’t even need to use any specific techniques.

To get better at skiing and stopping whilst you ski, just focus on maintaining control of the balance while keeping your feet solidly planted on the surface of your snow and your body upright.

Safe skiing habits are important for people of all ages and skill levels, whether they’re beginners or advanced skiers.

It’s essential to keep in mind that even if you’ve had a lot of experience, you can still injure yourself if you’re not careful.

Skiing is a sport that requires careful attention and good safety habits, so make sure to abide by them and you’ll be stopping like a skiing pro in no time.

About the author

Jesse Blaine

Jesse is the owner of, contributes to a lot of the material, and directs day-to-day operations. He lives in Colorado with his wife and kids and loves the outdoors. He’s an avid skier, hiker, kiteboarder, and adventure sports explorer. Jesse has also traveled the world and lived in five different countries. He speaks several languages and loves communicating with people

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