How to Kick Turn on Skis

9 reviews with an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars
a skier doing a kick turn

Kick turns are an effective way to change directions on skis without losing elevation. You can use kick turns whenever you encounter terrain that you don't want to ski, such as steep off-piste slopes.


Video: Skiing Kick Turns


Kick Turn Technique

To do a kick turn, take your downhill pole and place it uphill and behind you. Now use both your poles and your uphill foot to establish a balance point. Try to distribute your weight evenly among these three points.

Now kick your downhill leg and move it forward and upward in a sweeping motion until your foot is facing the opposite direction. Then shift your weight onto that downhill leg. Once you've found a balance point in this position, pick up your uphill hand and foot and bring them around to match the first foot that you moved. 

Being able to kick turn is an essential skill to have in steep, technical terrain, but it can be used everywhere on the ski hill. If you’re at the lodge and want to turn around quickly without running into anybody, use a kick turn. If you get off the chair and you’re facing the wrong way or there are people strapping in in front of you, use a kick turn.


Remember: Safety is your responsibility. No internet article or video can replace proper instruction and experience—this article is intended solely as supplemental information. Be sure you’re practiced in proper techniques and safety requirements before you engage in any outdoors activity.