Having the ability to stop on skis is an essential skill that every skier has to learn. If you are just getting started with skiing, the infamous pizza approach may be ideal – after all, you will be exploring the green ski slopes.
As your experience grows and you start skiing steeps, you will have to learn how to hockey stop. Compared to the pizza approach, the hockey stop approach generates more friction – this helps you stop when you are moving at high speeds. In this article, we will show you how to take advantage of the hockey stop skiing method.
Hockey Stop Skiing Technique – What Is It?
The hockey stop, which is also referred to as the parallel stop, is the most ideal technique for stopping your all-mountain skis when you are sliding down the slopes at a high speed. It is the safest method. Knowing how to hockey stop can help you avoid drops and collisions. The method is capable of helping you stay safe after you put on your ski jacket and beginner ski boots.
To implement the hockey stop skiing technique, the skier will glide for several meters and then pivot his/her cross-country skis 90 degrees. The skier will come to a stop on the corresponding edges.
How to Hockey Stop – Step by Step Guide
Step 1: The first thing you will need to do is to gently stand up. This will help loosen up the ski’s contact with the snow. You should stand up just before you go to the stop.
Step 2: Next, you will need to initiate a parallel turn. When doing this, you will need to place your weight on the downhill ski of the turn. When transferring the weight, be sure to do this fast. Also, transfer more weight than you would transfer when implementing a normal turn.
Step 3: Turn the legs and feet parallel. At the same time, start to bend the knees. Dig into the snow with the inner edge of the 2 skis while pushing through your heel. The quicker you dig into the snow, the faster you will end up stopping.
Step 4: To avoid falling back on skis, release the ski angle, and flatten them towards the snow.
At this point, you will have stopped. Practicing the technique only once may not be the best thing to do. For you to have the ability to use the hockey stop skiing technique without issues, you need to develop muscle memory. Therefore, be sure to practice the technique every time you put on your ski helmet.
The Mental Aspect
In most instances, people avoid learning the hockey stop because they do not think that they can pull it off. If you have never skated before, you probably haven’t had experience with fast stops. Committing to stopping at high speed using a fluid and fast movement can be scary.
If you find that you are struggling with the mental block, you should start slow and build up the speed with each attempt. One thing to keep in mind is that you should not try the technique while moving at incredibly low speeds. If you are moving at very low speeds, the hockey stop may be extremely tough, in some instances, it may be impossible.
Hockey Stopping on Your Weak Side
The key thing to note is that the more you practice, the better you will get at the hockey stop. If you have to hockey stop on your weak side, you have to keep in mind that you will be using different muscle groups. Your foot will need to mirror the hockey stop angle on the dominant side.
When developing your ability to hockey stop on your weak side, be sure to get started with a shallow gradient. With every attempt, use extra speed – dig into the snow a bit more to reduce the time you need to come to a complete stop.
The hockey stop involves balancing digging in the snow. If you dig too much and too fast, you may end up falling. If you dig too little into the snow, you may take too long before stopping.
Over time, as you continue practicing stopping on your weak side, things will get easier for you. At some point, you will know how to confidently stop on either side without even having to think about it.
Using the Hockey Stop on Hard-Packed Ice
If you find yourself on a terrain featuring hard-packed ice, you may need to use additional effort to stop. Since the snow is hard, you will need to use more energy to ensure that the skis are digging enough into the snow to generate the friction necessary to help you stop.
On the hard or icy snow, the skis will be sliding more easily and quickly because friction will be non-existent. In these conditions, your edge control has to be more precise. Your body position should be more balanced so that you can stop without falling over.
Whenever possible, try to avoid making the hockey stops on the icy patches of the slope. If you have to use the hockey stop in the icy regions, be more cautious. When stopping, ensure that you can micro-adjust throughout the full maneuver.
Important Hockey Stop Tips
To avoid having issues when using the hockey stop skiing technique, keep the following tips in mind every time you put on your ski pants and ski gloves:
- The hockey stop works ideally at higher speeds. When skiing at incredibly low speeds, use other methods to stop.
- Straighten your body (popup) before you go into the stop.
- Bend the knees and then focus on pushing through the heels.
- Through the stop, ensure that the skis stay parallel.
- Keep the torso upright and ensure that you are looking downhill.
- When initiating the turn, push through the heel more and place more weight on the outside ski.
- The hockey stop is more fun on powdery snow.
How Long Will It Take for You to Hockey Stop Easily?
The practice period varies from one skier to the other. Below, we have the estimated number of days you may have to practice the hockey stop.
No Skating Experience
If you are okay with parallel skiing but lack skating experience, you will have to practice the hockey stop for approximately 2 to 4 days before you can stop quickly and easily on your dominant side. To be able to stop on your weaker side, you may need to practice for approximately 4 to 8 days.
Experienced Skiers with Skating Experience
If you have skating experience and you have been exploring the expert runs for a long time, using the hockey stop should be much easier for you. If you practice the technique every time you need to stop, you may have the ability to perfect the technique on your dominant side within a couple of hours. However, your weaker side may still take a couple of days for the muscle memory to develop.
It is important to note that the hockey stop will work for you only if you can parallel ski. You do not have to be a perfect parallel skier. However, the better you can parallel ski, the better the hockey stop will be.
You shouldn’t wait for too long before you start learning how to use the hockey stop. The moment you notice that you can turn on the skis and they are close to parallel than the wedge, you can start learning the hockey stop technique.
Globo Surf Overview
If you are ready to move on to steeper slopes, learning how to hockey stop is extremely important. This technique can make your ski sessions safer. It will help you avoid collisions with other snow sports enthusiasts. You can also use the technique to avoid sudden drops.
Just going through this article may not be as useful as the actual practice. Regular practice should help you build muscle memory.
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- Hockey Stop, Effectiveskiing.com