How to slow down & stop on a snowboard

Updated October 5, 2023


Knowing how to stop on a snowboard is a key skill for any beginner learning to snowboard. Not only will it help you to stop but it is also a real confidence boost knowing that, at any moment you can apply the brakes.

Being able to slow down will help you progress faster and learn new skills and avoid catching edges. You’ll need to know how to slow down and stop when riding on narrow tracks when there’s not much room to maneuver and when you progress to jumps and tricks you’ll need this same technique to be able to scrub off some speed

This technique uses a load of upper and lower body separation and counter-rotation, which is great stepping stone along the way to learning a bunch of other snowboard moves. This basic techniques is also an integral part of shifties, board slides, powder slashes and tweaking out grabs to name just a few…!

Basically to get your board to stop, you need to get it turned 90 degrees to the slope of the hill so that the tip and tail of the board are facing perfectly across the hill. You also need to put some pressure through the edge of the board. The edges grip into the snow and push some snow forward, down the hill. This is what slows you down.

You can get the board to 90 degrees just by doing a normal turn, but the problem with this is that you will continue to travel across the hill. This can be a problem if you are trying to stop amongst a bunch of people such as at the bottom of the lift where crowds can build up.

Instead of performing a normal turn, you need to be able to rotate it 90 degrees without creating any movement across the hill. 

The key to this is using counter rotation to push the board around. 

You can do this move either on the  toe or heel edge of your board, but we will start with the heel edge and this is the easiest and most useful.

Stopping on your heel edge

First open up your upper body by rotating your shoulders towards the front of the board as if you are reaching forward with your back hand. This creates a tension in the core of your board between your shoulders and your hips which we can use to force the board to rotate.

Next rock your board slightly onto your heel edge then counter rotate your upper body back and push your back foot forward punching your heel edge into the snow. 

Practice this a few times by flat basing straight down the slope for a few meters then see if you can slow down and stop without the board traveling across the hill.

Stopping on your toe edge

Slowing down and stopping on your toe edge follows the same principles as on your heels follows the same principles as your heel edge but is a little trickier. But once you’ve got the toe edge stop down, you can actually stop a lot harder and faster than on your heel edge 

Start by rotating your shoulders to the tail of the board, before leaning lightly onto your toe edge. 

Then use your counter rotation same as the heel edge turn. But this time push rotate you hips town the hill so that you are facing up the hill. With the toe edge stop you can really lean hard onto the toe edge and push your toes into the snow. This will bring you to a stop quickly and chuck a load of snow up into the air.

Once you get good at this you can do a white room which is when you fire a load of snow into the air before doing the whole move in reverse and riding back through your cloud of snow.

Photo of author

Written by Graeme Gibson

I've spent the last 25 year riding my snowboard all over the world. I now live in Switzerland with my family where I coach snowboarding and still get a few powder days whenever I can. Lean more about me here ->

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