A Simple Guide to Stopping on Ice Skates

Written By: Riedell | November 23, 2022

When you watch ice hockey, the Olympics, or actors on screen, ice skating looks like a breeze. But as you may already know, the first few outings on a pond or rink can be treacherous for beginner skaters who don’t yet have the mechanics down. For some, even the act of stopping on ice skates looks easier than it is.

Over the years, we’ve provided tips and techniques for beginners and competitive skaters alike. This post will cover how to stop on ice skates as well as some additional tips all skaters may appreciate.

Stop Technique #1: The Snowplow Stop

Known as being the simplest of the stopping methods, the snowplow stop gets its name from the position of the foot as it plows forward at an angle.

To perform a snowplow stop, you’ll start by pointing your toes inward and heels outward, into an upside-down V shape that will slow your skating speed. This is similar to the pizza pie shape often referenced in downhill skiing snowplow stops. You’ll want to bend your knees enough to keep balance and ensure that the angle of your feet creates enough resistance on the surface of the ice to bring you to a stop.

You may also use the snowplow method with one foot rather than two, but we recommend you use both feet until you’re comfortable with your stopping.

Stop Technique #2: The Hockey Stop

This technique is better utilized by skaters with a little more stopping experience. The hockey stop is a preferred method for stopping when skating at higher speeds. As you may have already guessed, the hockey stop is known most for being used by hockey players (who frequently skate faster and harder).

To perform the hockey stop, bend your knees into a slight crouch and then turn your skates sideways at an angle (think 2:30 on an analog clock, not quite 3:00 or 90 degrees). Lean your body away from the direction of your skates as you plant the blades into the ice, creating friction until you come to a halt.

Note: while skaters use the hockey stop typically at higher speeds, that does not mean the method is perfect. Beginner and intermediate skaters should avoid high speeds for safety’s sake.

Stop Technique #3: The T-Stop

Like the hockey stop, the T-stop is a more advanced stop and should not be performed by first-time skaters.

To perform the T-stop, start by forming a T with your feet as you glide (though they shouldn’t yet be touching). Your hips should be at a slight angle while your shoulders face forward and parallel with the forward-facing gliding foot. Gliding in this position, you’ll stop by bending your knees and pulling your stopping leg into the back of the gliding foot (forming the T). Lean back slightly to the outside edge on the stopping leg.

Tip: the back foot will bear the brunt of the stop so you’ll want to use your dominant foot as your back foot.

Recommended Ice Skates & Figure Skates for Beginners

Riedell Ice recommends specific models of boots and blades for beginners. Each model is associated with a support rating and lists the country of manufacturing as well as the material. See the boot chart and blade chart for more information.

Quality Ice Skates for Beginners & Competitors Alike

Riedell Ice has produced quality ice skates for over 75 years. From a small business in Red Wing, Minnesota to an international brand with locations across the globe, we strive to equip skaters with comfortable ice skates they can rely on for both casual and competitive use.

Check out our dealer locator or visit our catalog online