How to Stop on a Snowboard: 7 Tips for Beginners

Snowboarder shows off his skills on snowboarding

Snowboarding is a popular sport that dominates the slopes. However, if you're new to the sport, it can be difficult to know how to stop on a snowboard. Don't worry; this useful guide will provide all the information you'll need so you'll spend more time enjoying the powder and less time on the ground.

Why Get Tips on How to Stop on a Snowboard?

Girl enjoying snowboarding

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Having a firm grasp and control of your speed is vital for safety. It is also one of the most challenging aspects of the sport for beginners. Controlling speed is vital for learning how to stop on a snowboard. Learning how to effectively stop is serious business. Failure to do so could cause injury to yourself or another skier or snowboarder. 

The General Idea

It's important to remember that stopping is controlled either by the heel-side or the toe-side edge of your board. If your board is vertical to the fall line, then there is no resistance from the blades and you'll speed down the slope. In order to stop, you must create friction between your board and the hill. This friction will help you slow down and eventually stop.

Therefore, to stop, you must gain friction. You do this by moving your board horizontal to the fall-line. By placing pressure on the blade's edge, you can slow down to a complete stop.

The Understanding You Need

To stop, you need to have a basic grasp of the essential techniques of snowboarding. This is one of those cases where a basic lesson from a skilled instructor can make all the difference in your enjoyment of the sport. Remember, to learn how to stop on a snowboard what you need most is to understand how your body moves over the board. This means taking into account your:

  • Basic stance
  • Turn shape
  • Flexion and extension
  • Weight on the board's edge
  • Position of the board
  • Relationship to the fall-line

7 Tips for Beginners to Help You Stop on a Snowboard

Snowboarding under the sun

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The key to knowing how to stop on a snowboard is one part basic lessons, one part physics, and one part understanding how the board moves along the slope. Begin by getting a feel for the slope and the board. If you are a beginner to the sport and you want to know how to stop on a snowboard, it's important to begin by simply standing on the snowboard and feeling it.

Stand on your board with your body facing downhill. Make sure your board is going across the incline. Get into the basic snowboarding stance with your body low and knees bent. Ask yourself:

What does it feel like?

Don't worry about turning or going downhill. Just take a minute to feel the edge of the snowboard sticking into the ground. Press your heels into the board's back. Remember that feeling. This feeling will teach you how you want things to feel when you're stopping on a snowboard.

Use the Correct Basic Stance

You should be sure that your basic stance is correctly aligned with the snowboard. If this alignment is off even by a little, it can make snowboarding extremely difficult. Remember: Keep your knees bent and look downhill. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Place Your Weight Correctly

Be sure to have your weight evenly distributed across the snowboard when you want to come to a complete halt. This is because when stopping a snowboard the edge is the most vital element and often your key to stopping efficiently. You have to master the art of balancing on your snowboard to effectively apply this technique.

Press In With Your Heels

Remember that this isn't about flexing your foot. It's about pressing with your heels. You should let the board do the work. How? It's basic physics 101. When you press your heels into the edge of the snowboard, it digs deeper into the snow. This creates friction. When friction is created, it slows you down.

Correctly Use Your Turn Shape

If you have the correct stance and you have your weight evenly distributed across the snowboard, then one of the vital elements of learning how to stop on a snowboard is to use your turn shape.

Turning can help because you can change your speed by traveling so that you are either going uphill (and therefore, slowing your speed) or going downhill and gaining momentum. Therefore, you can control your speed based upon your turn shape.

The larger the turn, the longer the board spends in the fall-line. As a result, you'll go downhill faster. To slow down, make turns that keep your board out of the fall-line for as long as possible. As you gain confidence on the slopes, you'll learn that controlling the size of your turns makes the biggest difference in controlling your speed.

Try the Uphill Stopping Technique

If you are facing uphill, press the edge of your board on the toe-side into the snow. Then lift your heels. Remember to stay as low and bent as possible. The additional pressure on your toe-side edge brings you to a complete stop.

It may be easier to discover how to stop on a snowboard if you think about this as pushing your toes down instead of imagining standing on the top of your toes. If you take this instruction too literally, you may fall forward.

Remember that you have to have your board horizontal in order to come to a complete stop.

Master the Snow Plow Stop

This is one of the most common methods and important if you need to know how to stop on a snowboard. As you're sliding down the hill, spin the snowboard so you are going sideways down the hill. In this scenario, your toes will be pointing downhill. Then, as you raise your toes into the air, you'll bring the edge of your board in closer contact with the snow.

Remember how we mentioned earlier that the key to speeding up and slowing down was the amount of pressure on the edge of the board? This is a perfect example of how mastering that one principle can make a huge difference.

However, when trying this snow plow technique, it's vital that your body weight is evenly distributed. If not, you may end up darting across the slopes instead of coming to a gradual halt.

Use the Gravity Stop

There are many ways to do this stop, but the underlying element is that you must turn so that you are going uphill. Think of a gravity stop like a J-turn. This type of gravity stop will bring you to a complete halt very quickly.

If you prefer a slower way of coming to a complete stop, then you should just slightly change your direction after turning. Each time you turn, you change your angle so that you're going slightly uphill every time. This is an important skill and should be practiced. You'll learn that turns and curves are very effective methods of controlling your speed.

Conclusion

Stopping snowboard

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We understand. You're anxious and impatient and want to get onto the slopes as quickly as possible to maximize your time on the mountain. However, if you're new to snowboarding, it's important to understand how to stop on a snowboard safely and effectively. There are several different stopping techniques. While any of them will work, you first have to understand how to properly stand on a snowboard and keep your balance.

Essentially, at the heart of all these techniques is the basic law of physics, meaning that friction is needed to slow your snowboard down. This friction is created by having your board horizontal to the fall line and using your heels (or your toes, depending upon whether you are facing uphill or downhill) to create pressure on the edge of the board. This pressure causes you to slow down and eventually stop. When you do this, you must make sure that your weight is distributed evenly across the board, otherwise you may make a sharp turn up or down the slope.

Turning is another useful and important way to control your speed on the slopes. Your speed is determined by the amount of time your board spends vertically or in line with the fall-line. By coordinating your turns so that they take you uphill, you can dramatically slow down your speed.

These turning skills are useful when you're doing the gravity stop. You can think of the gravity stop as a J-turn. A sudden turn like the J-turn can quickly bring you to a halt. Remember, if you're moving down the hill, facing uphill, you push your toes down to force the toe side edge of your board into the snow. If you want to slow down faster, use more force. If you're traveling facing downhill, you'll want to slow down by sinking your heels into the edge.

Now that you know how to effectively stop, it's time to enjoy some time on the mountain!

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