Have you ever been skiing and suddenly found yourself careening down the mountain with no idea how to stop?

Don't worry, I've been there! But fear not - I'm here to help. In this article, I'll cover the basics of stopping on skis and provide some tips for getting it right. So let's get started!

The Basics of Stopping on Skis

Stopping on skis can be intimidating at first, but once you get the basics down it becomes much easier.

The most important thing to remember is that slowing down and turning are two different things. Slowing down is about controlling your speed, whereas turning is about changing your direction.

When trying to stop, it's important to focus on both of these elements to make a safe stop.

The best way to slow down is by putting pressure on your edges (the outside edges of your skis). To do this, simply press your toes towards each other like you’re trying to pinch a penny between them (yes, really!).

This will cause the edges of your skis to catch in the snow and slow you down. Make sure you keep your feet shoulder-width apart for balance as you do this.

To turn while slowing down, you'll need to use an up-unweighting motion. To do this, simply bend your knees into a squatting position and shift all of your weight onto the back foot while pushing off with the front foot (like a frog hopping).

This will cause you to pivot in whichever direction you want and should help increase control over your speed as well. It may take some practice before you fully master this technique, but don't give up!

Once you get it right, stopping on skis becomes much less daunting!

How to Stop on Skis
Photo by Kajetan Sumila / Unsplash


Stopping on skis doesn't have to be scary or intimidating - once you know what techniques work best for controlling speed and direction, it becomes much easier.

Remember that slowing down and turning are two separate actions that require different motions - pressing onto the edges of your skis will help slow you down while using an up-unweighting motion will help turn while still maintaining control over speed.

With some practice and patience, anyone can learn how to stop safely and confidently! Good luck out there!


1. How do I stop on skis if I'm going too fast?
Answer: To slow down or stop on skis when going too fast, gradually turn your skis across the slope, forming a "pizza slice" shape with the front tips close together and the tails apart. Apply gentle pressure to the inside edges of your skis, using them as a brake.

2. Is it better to use the snowplow or a hockey stop to stop on skis?
Answer: The snowplow (pizza slice) is recommended for beginners as it provides a controlled and gradual stop. The hockey stop, where you turn both skis parallel to each other, is more advanced and suitable for higher speeds. Start with the snowplow and progress to the hockey stop as your skills improve.

3. What should I do if I start sliding backward on a slope?
Answer: If you find yourself sliding backward on a slope, turn your skis perpendicular to the fall line, forming a complete snowplow. This will help you come to a stop and regain control.

4. Can I use my ski poles to help stop?
Answer: Ski poles are primarily for balance and propulsion, not for stopping. However, you can use them to assist in maintaining balance while executing a snowplow or a hockey stop.

5. How do I stop without losing my balance?
Answer: Keep your weight centered and slightly forward. Bend your knees and ankles, maintaining a balanced stance. Avoid leaning too far back, as this can make it harder to control your skis and maintain a controlled stop.

6. What's the proper technique for stopping on steeper slopes?
Answer: On steeper slopes, make a wider snowplow and maintain a lower stance to increase stability. Use the edges of your skis to dig into the snow, providing better control as you slow down.

7. How can I stop without creating a lot of snow spray?
Answer: To minimize snow spray, focus on gradually bringing your skis to a stop using a controlled snowplow. Avoid sudden movements or aggressively digging your edges into the snow.

8. Is it necessary to practice stopping on flat terrain before attempting steeper slopes?
Answer: Yes, practicing on flat terrain helps you develop a good understanding of the snowplow technique and build confidence. Mastering the basics on a gentle slope before progressing to steeper terrain is highly recommended.

9. What do I do if I start to feel out of control while skiing downhill?
Answer: If you feel out of control, resist the urge to panic. Focus on forming a snowplow to gradually slow down. Keep your weight forward, stay calm, and maintain a controlled descent until you regain confidence.

10. Are there any specific tips for stopping on icy slopes?
Answer: On icy slopes, it's essential to be more gentle with your movements. Make a gradual snowplow, and avoid sudden turns or aggressive maneuvers that may cause slipping. Use the edges of your skis to create better traction on the ice.

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