How to Stop on a snowboard

How to stop on a snowboard (Simple Beginners Guide)

Learning how to stop should be your first priority as a beginner snowboarder.

Snowboarding is only scary if you are out of control. But knowing how to stop will build confidence.

I have been snowboarding for over 20 years – and working as an instructor for 10.

I will use my vast experience in this article to show you the right technique. And share some common mistakes that hold beginners back.

Let’s go.

How to stop on a snowboard: Quick Instructions

  1. Slide down the hill with your weight balanced across both feet. The nose of the snowboard will be facing down the slope. Keep your knees bent.
  2. Rotate your upper body to face down the hill.
  3. Bring your weight slightly onto your heels. See your board rock onto the heel edge.
  4. Counter-rotate your body back in the opposite direction as your board starts turning across the slope.
  5. Kick forward with your back leg. Pushing the board into a 90-degree angle with the slope.
  6. Sit on the snow and celebrate. Then practice again.
Stopping on a snowboard

Detailed Snowboard Stopping Instructions for Beginners

Step 1) Balance and stance

Having balance makes stopping much easier. And you need to have the right stance to balance.

You should slide down the hill with a relaxed posture. All your joints should be loose.

Bend your knees and hunch your shoulders. Keep your arms out for balance and look where you are going.

Spread your weight equally across both feet.

Feel calm and composed. This stance is an athletic position. You can react quickly to bumps in the snow.

Step 2) Rotate your upper body

Bring your shoulders around to face down the hill.

Do this by moving your back hand around and forwards. Your shoulder will follow.

This is not a fast-swinging motion. Perform this movement in a controlled way.

Step 3) Bring your weight onto your heels

Gently rock your weight onto your heels.

Allow the toe edge of the board to rise up from the snow.

And feel the heel edge dig into the snow.

This is a subtle movement. And not a big jump or swing backwards.

You will feel the board start to turn across the slope.

Step 4) Counter-rotate your body

Rotate your body slightly in the opposite direction of the turning board.

This will keep you facing down the slope. Rather than turning with the board.

Keep your arms out to the side. And look down the slope.

Balance remains on your heels and knees are still bent to keep an athletic position.

Step 5) Kick forward with your back foot

Your back foot must push the board into a 90-degree angle with the slope.

Kick forward forcefully. Keep your balance on your heels and feel the heel edge dig into the snow.

Don’t be afraid to use your strength here.

The board will come to an immediate stop. Edge facing across the slope.

Step 6) Practice

You will not get this right the first time. It’s going to take a few attempts.

Learning how to stop on a snowboard sounds simple. But it takes patience.

Keep sliding down and stopping until you get it perfect.

This is the most basic thing you need to learn. Starting with a good foundation is important if you want to progress to advanced snowboard skill levels in the future.

practicing stopping on a snowboard

How to stop on your toe edge

  1. Slide down the hill with your balanced stance. Knees bent and posture relaxed. The nose of the snowboard will be facing down the slope.
  2. Rotate your upper body to face towards the tail of the board.
  3. Bring your weight slightly onto your toes. See your board rock onto the toe edge.
  4. Counter-rotate your body back in the opposite direction as your board starts turning across the slope. This means pushing your shoulders and hips back down the hill.
  5. Lean further into your toe edge by tilting your body towards the slope. Dig the edge into the snow and stop.
  6. Keep practising until you can repeat it 10 times!

Should I learn to stop on my toe or heel edge first?

Definitely the heel edge.

Turning and stopping on your heels is easier.

Your body weight is predominantly on your heel side. So you don’t have as far to swing the board around.

Stopping on your toe edge can be scary the first time. Scared people tend to lean back. And this makes things worse.

Master stopping on your heels first. Then progress to your toes.

Toe edge stop snowboarder

How do I stop when going fast?

Use your heel edge when going fast. That means you will fall onto your butt if you make a mistake.

Its also easier to absorb the pressure of stopping when in the heel side posture.

Stop when going fast by rocking your weight onto your heels and kicking the back of the snowboard around.

Feel the heel edge of the board dig into the snow. And keep your weight balanced over with heels with knees bent.

See a huge spray of snow. Celebrate. Do it again.

Snowboarding is all about adrenaline. That’s why we love it so much.

But don’t lose control!

During my time as an instructor I have seen so many accidents by riders who don’t know how to stop. Don’t be that person!

Snowboarder stopping

What should I do if I can’t stop?

You need to fall.

Don’t keep flying down the hill out of control.

You will likely crash into somebody else. Or land in the trees.

Accept your fate when you lose control and fall in the safest way possible.

Try to sit down and slide out on your backside. Keep your arms in to protect your wrists and shoulders.

Then keep practising.

Do not head onto more difficult slopes until you can stop.

Falling when stopping on a snowboard

Most common stopping mistakes

Swinging your body

Move with control and purpose.

Do not swing uncontrollably around with your upper body.

This will throw you off balance. And you will lose all control.

Slowly move your shoulders around at a steady speed. Keeping your head facing forward. And your body in a relaxed stance.

Leaning too much on your heels or toes

You need to lean slightly. But not significantly.

Throwing your weight back or forward too much will result in a loss of balance. And a face plant in the snow.

Just gently move your weight onto the edge.

This is all about control. Do not force anything at this stage.

Leaning back

People lean back when trying to turn toe side out of fear. But this stops them from turning – and they just go straight down until they fall.

Leaning back too much on the heels causes you to sit on the snow before you can stop.

Keep your weight spread evenly across both feet.

And ride with confidence. I know you are a beginner. But you got this!

Not looking ahead

This is going to make you feel dizzy.

And you might crash into a tree. Or another rider!

You need to look where you are going. Not at your feet.

Looking forward puts your body in a natural position. And makes stopping so much easier.

Choosing the wrong slope

Start on the most shallow slope.

Choose a quiet spot with a flat run out at the end. Then it doesn’t matter if you lose control.

Walk 10-15 feet up the slope and start from there. Don’t take the lift until you can already stop.

Many people try to get down the long beginner slope the first time around. And cause chaos.

Snowboard stopping and making a mistake

Advice from an instructor

Take a lesson. That’s my best advice.

This article will set you on the path to success. And give you an idea of what to expect.

But there are only so many articles you can read and videos you can watch.

You also need to learn by doing.

Take this information and go practice. Visit your local ski hill. Or find an artificial slope if you don’t have snow in your local area.

And don’t forget to have fun. People take snowboarding too seriously sometimes.

Laugh when you fall. That’s the best way to learn.