How To Properly Kick Turn On Skis


Kick turn is one of the basic ski maneuvers used to turn in limited space. It can be used in any type of skiing, but it is mostly done by backcountry and cross-country skiers. In this article, we’ll show you how to do a kick turn whether you go uphill or downhill.

Uphill Kick Turn

Kick turn skiing maneuver is most often used for stable uphill climbing and it makes going up way easier. Here is how to do it:

Find the best place to do it. The ideal area is where you’ll have enough space and where the terrain is not too steep. Avoid doing it on the rock or the icy snow.

Keep your body position natural and don’t try to lean to either of the sides. Make sure you’re stable on your feet and that there is not a thing that could force you to fall or to lose your balance.

Move your ski poles up and place them wide. They will act as the additional stabilizers and should be above your ski tops, to make enough place for your skis to move.

Once your uphill pole is planted wide, take your uphill ski, raise it and rotate your leg until it points in the direction you’d like to go. It can vary and go from anywhere between 90 degrees and 180 degrees compared to your downhill ski. As you practice, try to go as far as you can, but always try to go above 90 degrees. Remember, the wider the angle, the smaller the chance of slipping.

The weight should be on your downhill ski as you move your uphill ski through the air until they are almost parallel to each other. You may not be able to go above 120 degrees with your uphill ski, and if that’s the case, you may try to slide the tail under the downhill ski to gain additional leverage.

Double-check your stability, with the focus on your upper ski. If you’re sure it is stable enough, switch the weight from your downhill ski to your uphill ski.

Take your poles and move them so they again serve you as stabilizers, but also to give you enough space to turn the downhill ski around.

Easily lift your downhill ski a bit above the surface while making sure it stays parallel to the snow.

The next step should be done in one motion – with your downhill ski in the air, pivot the ski so it faces the wanted direction. Once finished, the ski that was the downhill one until now will become your uphill ski.

Downhill Kick Turning


Kick turn skiing maneuver can be done also when you move downhill.

Start by finding a good place to do it. Your skis should be perpendicular to the slope’s downhill angle. Make yourself stable before you start your turning maneuver.

Move your downhill pole to approximately one foot above you on the uphill side. It should be wide enough so you can turn easily. Placing one pole in front of your torso and the second one behind it should create enough space while giving you enough stability to switch weights from one leg to another.

There are two things you’ll have to do simultaneously. As you transfer your weight from your downhill ski to your uphill ski, lift your downhill ski and rotate it by slowly moving your foot and knee to your desired direction. The tail end of your downhill ski should end up near the top of your uphill ski. Be careful to avoid catching the tail on the slope. When done, your feet should face the opposite directions.

Again, switch the weight from your uphill ski to your downhill ski, and with your uphill ski weightless, lift it and turn it around along with your upper body.

You should now face the direction you want to go, and all you have to do is to continue your steep slope skiing.


Performing kick turn requires lots and lots of practice. Here are some tips that will help you do it without much of a problem.

Find The Proper Place

Although it seems rather simple, kick turn can be a bit problematic because of the weight switching, especially when you find yourself out in the fields. That’s why you should practice this maneuver somewhere where it won’t be a problem if you fall. You may practice the movement indoors, and then try it out on even terrain, before you hit the slope and give it a go on an angled track.

Practice Until It Feels Natural

Remember, the kick turn well done is the one performed in one smooth, elegant motion. What you could do is to try and practice each element of the kick turn individually, and once you get used to it, join them together.

…And Then Practice Even More

Kick turn shouldn’t be a scary maneuver and it should become something you’re able to do even with your eyes closed. Until you reach that place, don’t give up and don’t take it lightly. And once you do, you’ll see that it will pay off when you find yourself in the situation where you have to turn and you lack the space to perform any other turning maneuver. Especially if you’re on a steep slope, climbing uphill. In this case, you should combine it with the ski skin, because it will give you more stability and prevent your skis from drifting off.

Ask For Professional Help

If you don’t feel confident enough to try it out by yourself, there is always an option to go to the nearest ski school and ask for a lesson or two.

Globo Surf Overview

Since the beginning of skiing, kicking turn has been one of the maneuvers used to change direction. It can be done uphill, downhill, basically any direction imaginable, which makes it one of the most useful ski movements. It may sound easy and simple, but kicking a turn requires a bit of practice until you master it, so it should be taken seriously and done with focus because once you find yourself in the need to do it, even the slightest mistake may result in a disaster. And you’d probably love to avoid that.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!