Hockey stop Pub Share

Taking speed control to its limit, throwing the skis sideways is the most effective way to slow down and stop, in a pinch or just for fun. It is also an awesome drill to enhance balance and a lot of the aspects of your skiing.

TODO redo video

As you can see in the video, you start a hockey stop the same way you start a regular turn: by putting the skis on edge and tip them one way. But, as soon as the skis are on the proper edges, instead of letting them take their time to turn, we bring them around quickly and slide them to a stop, while balancing against the increased forces, which will bring us to a stop.

In a regular turn, we saw that as you play with the turn shape to control speed, the forces that slow you down can be larger or smaller and in the case of the hockey stop, they are at maximum, since the skis are sideways across the direction of travel.

In the case of the hockey stop, turning the skis quickly across the slope can be done with a pivoting movement but more effective is to push the heels out. Pushing the heels out in front achieves a few things:

  • The skis are tipped on edge as the heels are pushed out and the legs lengthen
  • The tails come around faster as they skid
  • Keep your focus on the feet, where you feel balance
  • Finish with both hands and shoulders over the skis, facing down the hill

It is important for you to draw a clear distinction between twisting the skis sideways for a quick hockey stop and not twisting the skis sideways in regular turns. If you're interested in a larger discussion of pivoting and its role, see What is the effective technique and To pivot or not to pivot.

Brace and balance

After the skis have come around and are sliding sideways across the direction of travel (down the slope usually) you need to brace against the increased force and also maintain balance, which may be challenged by the snow condition (from chopped powder to rutted hard-pack or ice).

It is important to practice this on all sorts of snow conditions.

ON SNOW! green-hockey-stop-1  

Let's start by getting used to this hockey stop movement. On a green run, on some turns, after starting the turn as usual, start pushing out the heels more and more to the side and front, to get the skis more and more across the run. Then let them turn and continue as usual.

It is important to tip the skis on edge well first, as otherwise you may catch an edge: the inside edge grabs and often results in a fall.


ON SNOW! green-hockey-stop  

On a green run, pick up a little bit of speed in 2-3 turns and, in a chosen turn, put the skis on edge and push the heels out and get the skis across the slope and slide them to a stop.

Focus on keeping your shoulders facing down the hill in the direction of travel, until you stop. This will greatly improve the balance and your ability to react to restore balance.

This hockey stop, just like braquage, is easier on a somewhat steeper run and at a higher speed, as at low speeds on flats, the skis tend to stop before coming across the slope.

The more speed you have when starting the hockey stop, the longer you will have to slide the skis to a stop and the bigger the stopping forces, so start quite slow. There is always going to be a bit of a challenge doing this at slow speeds on the flats.

So let's move this to a blue run, with a bit more speed.

ON SNOW! blue-hockey-stop  

On a blue run, pick up a little bit of speed in 2-3 turns and, in a chosen turn, put the skis on edge and push the heels out and get the skis across the slope and slide them to a stop.

One thing you will notice is the skis tend to become apart, as the uphill ski is grabbed by the snow. This becomes easier when you weight mostly the outside or downhill ski.

Another challenge usually is if you are stiff. We've seen that when you're uncomfortable, your body tends to stiffen and lock up and that's usually bad news for flexibility and mobility, which create balance. That makes things worse. Start slow and build the confidence to stay more relaxed, but active.

ON SNOW! blue-hockey-practice  

Need to practice hockey stops in a variety of snow conditions and slopes.

On a blue run, pick up a little bit of speed and in a chosen turn, push the heels out and get the skis across the slope and slide them to a stop.

Then point the skis down the hill and start again: pick up a little bit of speed and then do another hockey stop.

Repeat this in varying conditions and every time focus on parts of this:

  • Focus on balancing on the skis.
  • Focus on how the skis come around
  • Focus on staying relaxed to enhance mobility and balance.

Was this useful?    

By: Razie | 2015-06-30 .. 2016-09-07 | Tags: blue , speed control , balance , drill , improve-skiing

Viewed 5852 times ( | History | Print ) this page.

You need to log in to post a comment! There's 1 comment(s)...

By: Jamie.Smith   Reply   Report   (1)   (1)

The hockey stop and Braquage are now in the CSIA level 4 exam which means they are important in high level skill development that says allot for expert refinement. So turning your leg in the hip socket and maintaining balance along with using of all joints to stay centred while turning the skis from side to side without moving the upper body is a mouth full. These 2 drills do all of that and more from the novice to the expert, pleasure skier to world cup athelet.