How Should A Beginner Stop On A Snowboard? | Best Practices

When learning to snowboard, you might find yourself speeding down the mountain and being forced to throw yourself aside to stop. You’ll likely wonder how to stop like the professionals seamlessly do.

A beginner should learn to stop on a snowboard with their heel side first and then move on to their toe edge. They’ll need to maintain good posture as they turn into a stop and should avoid common mistakes that get made when learning. They should use all resources available to practice safely.

There’s a lot that goes into learning how to stop on a snowboard, and it isn’t a simple, overnight process. Learning everything that goes into making the perfect stop is a crucial part of snowboarding.

How To Stop On A Snowboard?

One of the most essential and fundamental things to know when learning how to snowboard effectively is learning how to stop.

If you aren’t able to stop, you’ll end up tumbling your way down the mountain.

To learn how to stop on a snowboard, the first thing you’ll need to remember is that practice is vital.

Always start by first practicing on the beginner sections of mountains so that way, if you fall, you don’t injure yourself, and you can trust that you’ll be as safe as possible.

1. Posture

Before practicing any attempts to stop, you need to ensure that you have the proper posture for snowboarding.

You don’t want your stance to be too wide, or you’ll lose your balance quickly, and you don’t want it to be too narrow, or you won’t have good control of your board.

You want to have your feet placed on the bindings, your legs about a shoulder-width apart.

Your back needs to be kept straight, and you need to maintain a slight bend to your legs. A proper stance is everything in ensuring you learn how to stop.


2. The Basics of Stopping

One of the first concepts you need to know when learning how to stop is the fall line.

The fall line is an imaginary line used to conceptualize the straightest path down a hill.

When stopping, it’s important to keep the fall line in mind because that’ll be the direction you’re headed and need to prepare for.

How stopping works, at a fundamental level, is extremely simple.

You turn your board 90 degrees into a state perpendicular to the fall line and let snow build up on the underside of your board, working as a cushion against the board to soften the speed and impact.

The complicated part comes in implementing it and learning how to do it safely.

You’re also going to want to keep in mind how fast you’re going. If you’re going quicker down the run, your turn shape will likewise be longer.

With a longer turn, you will stop at a much faster rate, and you will have to keep this in mind when practicing.

3. Heel Edge Stopping

The heel edge stop refers to stopping with the edge of the board your toes are facing downhill and turning with your heels.

To perform a heel edge stop, you’re going to want to lead with your shoulders and front-facing leg and turn your body backward to face downhill.

You’re then going to want to point your toes upwards and position your body as if you’re going to sitback ever so slightly, bending your knees an additional amount and letting the pressure build underneath the toe side of the board.

If you’ve pulled it off successfully, you’ll see yourself coming to a nice, gradual stop as you’re going downhill.

If you didn’t do it successfully, that’s okay. You can always get back up and try it again.

4. Toe Edge Stopping

The harder of the two stops, the toe side stop, is valuable for taking on the more challenging turns you may face on the mountain.

Having this skill is handy for tackling linked turns and implementing them effectively. A toe edge stop works essentially as the opposite of a heel edge stop.

While like the heel edge stop in that you’ll be using your shoulders for a great deal of movement, it differs substantially in that you’ll find yourself turning with your back-facing leg, twisting your body, so that way your heels are facing downhill and your toes are digging into the snow uphill.

You’ll want to angle your heels so they’re facing up with all pressure being placed on your toes.

While doing this, you’ll want to maintain proper posture to ensure that any pressure gets spread throughout your body evenly.

You’ll want to be careful you don’t put too much pressure on your toes, though, or you could fall forward and injure yourself in implementing this stop.

It’s a more advanced maneuver, so if you can’t get it, that’s okay. Try out the heel side stop instead.

5. Staying Stopped on the Mountain

If you find yourself having trouble staying put on the mountain after a stop, you’ll likely want a method to avoid sliding downhill.

There’s a simple method to do this, depending on what type of stop you make.

If you implemented a heel edge stop, you’d want to bury your toe edge into the snow and jump backward.

If you executed a toe edge stop, you’d want to bury your heel edge into the snow and jump forwards.

This way, you’ll stay immobile as long as you’d like and not have to worry about sliding downhill.

Staying Stopped on the Mountain

Common Beginner Mistakes When Stopping

You’re going to make a few mistakes as a beginner learning to snowboard, and it’s important to keep in mind that it’s okay to fail.

It’s how you learn and grow as a snowboarder and how you will make sure that you gain and retain the knowledge.

1. Focusing On Looking Like a Pro

You’re not going to look good stopping at first, and that’s okay. You don’t need to worry too much about how you look when snowboarding.

Everyone starts somewhere, and while it may seem like the entire world is staring at you, know that most other snowboarders aren’t paying you any attention.

So even if you are to tumble and fall, you won’t be met with ridicule.

It’s okay not to look like a pro when stopping; you’ll get there eventually with enough practice.

As a matter of fact, it’s best not to look like a pro when you’re learning, as this will help you to be able to identify what you can best improve on in order to grow your snowboarding ability as much as possible.

If you were to get any additional help or lessons, this would allow for an easier time identifying where you need to improve with stopping.

2. Snowboard Isn’t Perpendicular to the Fall Line

Another common mistake is when the snowboard isn’t perpendicular to the fall line but rather at an angle.

You want to make sure that your board is as perpendicular to the mountain as you can make it, or else you’ll find yourself falling much more often than you would like.

If you’re overshooting the snowboard’s angle, an excellent tactic is to turn slightly less intensely, softening the degree of pressure you put on the turn.

If you’re undershooting the perpendicular angle, your best bet would be to employ more force on the turn to get it as perpendicular to the fall line as possible.

This is to make sure that the board can stop as quickly and effectively as possible.

If your board isn’t perpendicular to the fall line, you’ll stumble down the mountain to a much higher degree than if it was sufficiently perpendicular.

3. Incorrect Posture

A very common mistake beginner snowboarders make when learning to stop is having an incorrect posture.

For instance, if you aren’t bending your knees when performing a stop, you don’t have the maximum balance and control over the board needed to prevent any falling.

You want to make sure that you maintain a proper posture when learning to stop, keep your back straight and knees bent, and focus on maintaining a good stance.

This is the best way to make sure that you remain upright and avoid toppling down the mountain as much as possible.

When performing a heel side stop, you want to be sure that you’re bending your knees to appear like you’re sitting.

This will help you gain control over the stop and prevent any potential falls that may happen from an improper amount of control over the board.

4. Leaning Too Far Back on Heel Edge Stops

Leaning too far back when you’re trying to stop is another common mistake.

A lot of the learning you’re going to be doing when learning to stop is muscle memory, getting the precise movements down in the right way is a challenge, and it’s easy to lean too far back on a heel side stop.

A good remedy for this is to place the bulk of your weight on your front foot, working to keep it centered.

You’ll also want to focus your lean on your upper body, as that’s how you can maintain the most control and the best balance when on the mountain.

5. Leaning Too Far Forward on Toe Edge Stops

Another common mistake is the converse is leaning too far forwards on toe edge stops.

When doing this stop, you have to maintain your balance and keep in mind its difficulty as you’re learning to stop facing uphill.

The solution for this issue is to center your weight on your back foot rather than your forward foot while still prioritizing your upper body stance, learning to maintain the most control possible.

Leaning Too Far Forward on Toe Edge Stops

6. Rushing the Learning Process

It takes time to learn how to snowboard effectively, and while stopping is one of the basic skills, it’s no exception to this trend.

No one masters this skill overnight, and trying to rush the learning process will only lead to it taking much longer.

You have to take your time and accept that when learning to stop, you’re going to fall plenty of times and that it’s okay to make these mistakes.

Snowboarding is challenging to learn, and it’s a process that can’t be rushed.

The Best Way To Practice Stopping On a Snowboard

To learn how to stop on a snowboard, you have to practice a lot!

If you don’t practice stopping as much as you can, it’s a skill that will quickly leave you, and you will struggle to learn it again.

1. Use the Beginner Friendly Runs

On most mountains and in most snowboarding facilities, there will be a run specifically oriented for beginners to implement what they’re learning in a safe environment away from trees and other obstacles.

Using these runs is a key component to correctly practicing how to stop, as you won’t face judgment from others and won’t risk substantial harm to yourself or others.

It’s a common mistake for beginners to use the more advanced runs when learning to snowboard, and learning to stop is no exception.

It’s important to remember that if a beginner were to use these runs, they pose a risk to themselves and other riders on the mountain, as they’ll have less control and are much more likely to stumble and potentially knock themselves into either the scenery or other nearby riders.

2. Learn How to do Basic Movements

Learning how to do basic movements is core to learning to stop. Stopping on a snowboard is essentially a trick in itself, as it requires a considerable deal of coordination and effort.

To stop, you need to learn how to use your edges properly and coordinate them to work to your benefit.

Starting with your heel edge will be your best bet as it’s easier and safer to learn, whereas you can learn your toe edge following that once you get better at it.

You’ll also want to learn how to turn on your snowboard, as turning is half of what goes into a proper stop.

In addition to that, you’ll want to learn how to maintain proper balance and know how to comfortably and safely move and maneuver yourself when you’re going down the mountain.

3. Taking Lessons

An often overlooked part of learning how to snowboard is taking lessons. Snowboarding is complex, and you don’t have to learn to figure it out on your own.

Having someone more experienced to be there with you and tailor the learning process to your individual needs and wants is a huge benefit.

Beyond getting a buddy to learn alongside, taking lessons is your best bet.

While lessons can get pricy, there are inexpensive options for snowboarding lessons out there.

Many mountains and snowboarding facilities will have advertisements and offers for lessons.

If that fails, you can also ask around to see if any of your friends would be able to give you snowboarding lessons.

Final Thoughts

Learning to stop on a snowboard is a basic yet core skill that you must master in order to learn anything more advanced.

Beyond proper posture, stopping consists of implementing a turn followed by burying either your heel edge or toe edge into the snow, depending on which you’re using to stop.

There are a lot of mistakes beginners make when learning to stop that ought to be prevented.

There are different ways to practice stopping that should be tried, such as getting lessons.

Learning how to stop on a snowboard effectively is a difficult skill to master but one that’s very worthwhile.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with my pet bunny when not digging my head deep into the world of snowboarding, tricks, techniques, and related safety measures.

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