When we think of skiing we imagine ourselves gliding down snow-covered mountains effortlessly. What we don’t think about is reaching the bottom of a slope and needing to stop or having to deal with unexpected situations that may arise.
To help you become the skier you hope to be there is one main skill you need and that is to master the ability to stop when on skis. While accidents can happen, by having the ability to stop when on skis you can help protect both yourself and others around you.
Below we talk about the three best methods that you need to know to ensure you know how to stop on skis safely. We also talk about posture, why stopping is important, what not to do and how to safely fall when skiing.
While this article will outline the best methods for how to stop on skis this is not a replacement for a lesson with a professional, more an introduction to what you should know and learn to do.
The Basics Of Posture For Skiing
While it is important to know how to stop on your skis it is also important to know how to hold your body to try and avoid serious injury should you have an accident.
When skiing it is important to ensure your body is positioned in the following way:
- Hips, knees, and ankles should be bent equally to avoid strain on certain joints
- Skis should be parallel and hip-width apart
- Your arms should be by your side and not extended forwards to help keep your balance
The body should not be held stiff but in a taut position so that you can react quickly to unexpected situations
- Do not lean too far in either direction, try to hold your body around your center of balance so you do not fall forwards or back when on skis
Now that you know the basics of how to hold your body when you are skiing, let’s move on to the most important aspect of skiing – how to stop.
The Importance Of Knowing How To Stop Safely When Skiing
For both beginners and professionals skiing can be dangerous if you do not respect the sport and learn the basics before setting out on the slopes. It’s like riding a bike, you learn how to use a brake to avoid any accidents.
With skiing, there is no brake, per se, but there are a number of methods that can be used to ensure you can stop safely at the end of each slope as well as on the slope to avoid any unexpected situations that may arise.
By fully understanding how you can safely stop you are not only protecting yourself but others who are skiing around you as you can prevent bumping into other skiers.
When learning maneuvers that will help you to stop it can be expected that you may have a few falls but it won’t be long until you master these important skills on your skis.
The Best 3 Methods You Need To Know
The Snow Plough
The snow plough, which is also known as the pizza slice, is one of the most commonly used methods to safely stop when skiing by skiers of all levels. Mastering this maneuver should be the first thing you learn when skiing.
The snow plough is a great way of stopping quickly on slopes that aren’t too steep and it is recommended that you learn this technique on baby slopes before moving to a higher graded slope.
To complete a snow plough, the basic movement is:
- Keeping your upper body relaxed, begin to push the back of your skis out, this will cause the fronts to come closer together forming a triangle shape or a pizza slice as it is referred to with junior beginners
- Continue to push out the back of the skis to create a larger triangle shape until you come to a complete stop
- To stop quicker, push into the inner edge of both skis to increase the friction, leading to a quicker stop
If you are going faster than you would like to be, by gently going into a snow plough you can decrease speed without coming to a complete stop.
The Wedged Turn Stop
Once you are able to complete the movement of a snow plough you will already have the ability to perform the basics of a wedged turn stop.
The wedged turn stop is also known as the snow plough turn. This maneuver will be easier to do on one side than the other, this is because everyone has a dominant side of their body.
To complete a wedged turn stop, the basic movement is:
- Begin to form a snow plough as you travel diagonally across the slope
- Create a large triangle shape and dig in the bottom ski as you turn
- Balance is key to avoid falling over, hold your body taut until you come to a complete stop
Do not use your poles as you complete a wedged turn stop, hold your skis up by your side to avoid making contact with the snow.
The Parallel Stop
This method of stopping is better suited to more experienced skiers. This stop copies the way that hockey players come to a sudden stop of their skates.
This stop is perfect for when you are traveling at a fast speed and need to suddenly come to a complete stop. Practice makes perfect with this skill and it is also essential that you have gained enough speed to complete this maneuver.
To complete a parallel stop, the basic movement is:
- Turn both skis at the same time horizontally on the slope
- Dig both of your skis into the ground to come to a stop as you lean back slightly using your body weight to prevent you from falling over
This maneuver can also be used to change direction or to avoid unanticipated obstacles.
You should never use your ski poles to stop when you are skiing. Your ski poles are there to help support you when you are taking off and also should be used to help balance yourself.
When ski poles are incorrectly used as a means to stop they could break and injure you or those around you. It is essential to stop yourself when on skis by using one of the methods mentioned above for your safety and the safety of others.
You can use the poles after you have come to a complete stop for stability.
What Not To Do When Skiing
Like most outdoor activities there is a list of things to do and try and also a list of things to avoid. Here we look at etiquette on the slopes that should be followed when skiing to prevent accidents or injuries.
- Don’t swing your ski poles in the air to attract someone’s attention when skiing as another skier may be coming behind you and get struck by your poles
- Hold onto your personal items and ski equipment securely while on the ski lifts to avoid anything from dropping onto skiers below
- If you fall, and you are not seriously injured, try to move to the side of the slope to clear the path for other skiers and to prevent causing a pile-up
- If you need to stop on the slope at any time, make your way to the side of the slope so that you are not blocking anyone’s path as they come down the slope
- Don’t go on slopes that are above your ski level as you could end up hurting not only yourself but others around you as well
By following these basic rules of etiquette you can help to keep the ski slopes safer for everyone.
How To Safely Fall When Skiing
Beginners and experts alike will always encounter a tumble or two and so it is important that we learn how to fall and crash, which of course sounds ridiculous but these nuggets of wisdom could protect us in the long run.
If you find yourself falling try to spread out your weight as this will help minimize the impact as you hit the ground.
What this means is to avoid extending body parts to break your fall, for example, if you extended your arm to break your fall, your arm would then take all the impact which would likely result in a broken bone.
By falling on your side or falling on your front the entire body takes the impact which will still be painful but could prevent a broken bone or serious injury.
Now that you have the basics of skiing we recommend moving on to learning how to turn. Turning is another very important skill in skiing as the slopes can often be busy places.
When you piece together your newly learned skills of stopping and turning your confidence will grow and with practice your skiing will continue to go from strength to strength.