How to Stop on Skis [The Beginner Guide You Need and Want]

When skiing, you need to know how to stop. Period. It’s a basic skill but there are actually more techniques to learn from just a basic stop. While there are a few different ways to stop on skis, the most common is a pizza stop. We’ll look at how to stop on skis and how you can improve your ability to stop on skis. Let’s dive into it.

Beginning Pizza Skier
Beginning skier using the pizza stop. Photo Credit clappstar (Flickr CC)

Stopping on Skis: Why It Is the First Skill You Need

If you want to learn to ski, the first skill you need is stopping. Stopping on skis is essential for learning how to ski correctly, and it’s one of the first skills you need to master. I often tell people they can learn to stop on skis in a matter of hours. That’s right, it doesn’t take long to learn to stop on skis.

Generally, all ski schools are going to teach beginners the same method to stop on skis. Let’s look at the progression of stopping on skis.

Learning How to Stop on Skis: 2 Methods

There are a few different methods that you can use to stop while skiing.

1. The first method is the pizza stop. This involves making a “V” shape with your skis like a slice of pizza. It’s really good for new skiers and young skiers.

2. The parallel stop is the alternative stopping method. Instead of bringing your skis in a “V”, you bring them side by side. This is a more technical stopping technique and is also known as the hockey stop. This is the best way to stop fast on skis.

The Pizza Method of Stopping on Skis: How to

Practicing pizza stop at Whistler Mountain
Practicing pizza stopping. Photo Credit Ruth Hartnup (Flickr CC)

Crossing skis can be dangerous, and if you’re a beginner, it can be really hard to know how to stop on skis. The pizza method is the easiest way to stop on skis and it’s perfect for beginners.

All you need to do is put your ski tips together like a pizza in the shape of a “V” and then hold until you come to a stop. This works best on green slopes and when you are just learning. It really isn’t applied at high-level skiing.

Tips With the Pizza Ski Stop

When skiing, try to be aware of what your skis are doing without looking down at them. This means that you must take care not to cross your skis when trying the pizza stop.

The best way to do this is to try and keep your form and look up as you ski. Apply the pizza stop slowly! Easing into it will help you avoid the rookie mistake of crossing tips.

Things to Avoid When Stopping on Skis

When skiing, it is important to be aware of some things to avoid when stopping on skis. There are two major things and we have mentioned one of them.

  • Crowded areas are dangerous when stopping if you don’t have control. Being aware of your surroundings is so important when skiing. Cutting someone off or stopping in front of them is asking for an accident.
  • Crossing tips can also be dangerous. We mentioned this and how to avoid it above but we can’t stress it enough. Take it slow and don’t get stuck staring down at your ski tips.

Keep Practicing Your Stopping Technique

Hockey stop at the Rocky Mountains
Hockey stop on the ski slope. Photo Credit Doug Zwick (Flickr CC)

If you want to improve your stopping technique, think about taking lessons. You’ll be able to get coaching to go from a pizza stop to a parallel stop. A faster stop leads to less distance traveled and ultimately a quicker response time when stopping in a dangerous situation. You’ll want to learn the parallel stop as soon as you can.

Additionally, work on your stopping at less distance! This means that you need to be able to stop as close to the object or person as possible without actually touching them. I always recommend beginners do some drills on this until they are comfortable.

Finally, practice stopping quickly. Not only will this help you avoid accidents, but it also gives you an advantage over other skiers who don’t have good stopping techniques. If other skiers can’t stop in time, you better make sure you can!

Leveling Up Stopping on Skis

Moving to the hockey stop is one way to improve your skiing form. As we mentioned, this is just another term for the parallel stop. Skiers who can stop quicker will be less likely to fall and will have a better overall skiing experience. This all comes with practice and more time on the slopes.

Don’t be discouraged on your first couple of trips to the slopes.

How to Stop on Skis: Takeaways

The easiest way to learn how to stop on skis is to start with a pizza stop. Work on your beginner skills until you master a hockey stop. Remember to practice, practice, and practice some more! Take some video of your technique, show it to a friend and I’m sure you will improve.

Alec Wilson writes for Proper Peaks and lives near Claremont, VT. He hardly misses a weekend on the ski slopes in the winter. If there is snow, Alec’s skis are on for a go. Look out for his stickered-up helmet and you might just meet him on the trails.

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