Kick Turn, "A lost art"

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by Dan Egan, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Dan Egan

    Dan Egan Founder of the flow Hall Of Fame Member Instructor

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    At my camps and clinics I like to take a quick review of some basic skills and one of them is the “Kick Turn”. As a boy I learned to kick turn in my back yard. This was one of the first skills my older brothers drilled into me. Over the years I have used this valuable skill to reverse my direction in a variety of situations.

    Unfortunately many people have never learned the kick turn and your skiing agenda is limited if you don’t have this basic skill. The Kick Turn allows you to peer over the edge, around the corner and gather information. It also empowers you to retreat to safer ground, better snow and change direction on a dime. This skill is as important as pole planting, edging and stopping.

    The skill requires commitment. Remember… K.I.C.K your way around to the Kick Turn.

    Kick – Kick your downhill ski up and onto the tail

    Inertia – The move is a fluid motion, once you start the kick turn you have to finish it

    Commitment – You have to be totally committed to the kick turn or the mountain will reject your effort

    Keep – Keep your skis across the ill and stay on your feet, do not lean into the hill or sit. You have to stay on your feet kick your edges into the snow and slide down the mountain.

    There are three key moves to a good kick turn.

    1) Kick your downhill leg and up and forward so the tail of the ski hits the snow by the tip of your uphill ski.
    upload_2019-4-10_15-38-44.png

    2) Once the uphill ski is up and vertical, start to rotate your shoulders down the hill and swing your uphill hand down into the fall line and let your downhill ski 180 degrees across the hill.

    upload_2019-4-10_15-39-12.png

    3) Finish by having your old uphill ski swing instantly with your uphill hand so that it comes 180 degrees across the fall line and become the new downhill ski.

    upload_2019-4-10_15-39-51.png

    You will want to practice this move on a slight incline which will make your movement easier. Become a “switch kicker” by practicing this to the left and the right. As you start to progress increase the incline of your slope and the conditions under your feet. Mastering the kick turn will pay benefits in the deep snow, on steep terrain and in the trees, plus it will build your confidence on where you go and allow you to go there safely.
     
    Ken in LA, rocdoc, SkiSpeed and 11 others like this.
  2. graham418

    graham418 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Wow.. Are you meaning you do it on the fly? My dad taught me to do a kick turn when I was little, as a way to be able to get out of a sticky situation, but I can only do it at a standstill
     
  3. Thread Starter
    TS
    Dan Egan

    Dan Egan Founder of the flow Hall Of Fame Member Instructor

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    Not a moving kick turn, yes from a stand still but to change direction in the back country is an important skill
     
  4. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    A good thing to teach kids while waiting for something on the flats.

    Get the pole out of the way.
    Biggest issue is people don't do the above, or try to do the whole move leaning uphill.

     
  5. Crank

    Crank Out on the slopes Skier

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    I taught an old girl friend how to kick turn on KT 22.
     
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  6. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    basically everyone I knows how to do this...not really a lost art.
     
    ADKmel likes this.
  7. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Not surprised she left after that!ogsmile

    Do you know…how KT-22 got its name?
    November 3, 2018
    ---------
    “I was scared to death. It was almost vertical. I thought I’d have to stay until spring,” recalls Sandy Poulsen, early Squaw pioneer.

    While she and husband Wayne were skiing the resort in 1948, Sandy was terrified and couldn’t link a turn down the steep north face of one of the resort’s infamous peaks. Instead she would traverse the slope, make a kick turn and do it again and again and again.

    Patiently waiting at the bottom, Wayne counted 22 kick turns. In her honor, he named the mountain KT-22 and it’s been a challenge for many til this day, not just Sandy.

    Sandy and Wayne Poulsen were truly the first couple of Squaw Valley. They were the first family to build a year-round home there and they raised 8 kids – 4 of them made it on to the U.S. Ski Team.
    ----------------
    https://tahoeculture.com/do-you-knowhow-kt-22-got-its-name/
     
  8. mdf

    mdf entering the Big Couloir Skier

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    Knowing how and being confident enough to do it above exposure are two different things. I haven't done one in years ... I think I better practice.
     
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  9. Eleeski

    Eleeski Out on the slopes Skier

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    I usdacould do kick turns. But now I'm too inflexible to really do it. Jump turns are easier on my joints.

    Do it while moving and you are doing ballet!

    Eric
     
  10. graham418

    graham418 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Excellent ski trivia.. Someone should invent a party game :P
     
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  11. graham418

    graham418 Out on the slopes Skier

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    I was thinking, "kick turn on the move...I AM impressed"
     
  12. Steve

    Steve Moving towards Understanding Skier

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    My morning stretching while waiting for the lift to spin is to do 5 kick turns in each direction.

    Key definitely is to keep your poles behind you. It doesn't require great flexibility to do, just a little practice.
     
  13. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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  14. Marker

    Marker XLTL Skier

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    <-- I was partly there and didn't know it. I'll have to try this next year.
     
  15. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    You just need shorter skis. I recall doing them on 220 cm skis. I've done one or two on a whim when on my 165 cm skis - not much of a stretch involved. Although, I haven't felt a need to do a kick turn since, like, forever.
     
    Eleeski likes this.
  16. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    They are part of "Sled test" at the start of every season.

    Hauling a loaded toboggan can lead down some tight spots early and late season. Stepping out of trouble can be useful.

    Keep the motion moving......;-)
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Moving towards Understanding Skier

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    Great video. At about 1:00 it does look like a moving kick turn!
     
  18. slowrider

    slowrider Out on the slopes Skier

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    Level 4 move?
     
  19. Bob Barnes

    Bob Barnes Getting off the lift Instructor

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    Great post, Dan--an important move that is actually much easier than it looks. Here's another video from the old EpicSki Academy archives:



    Hope everyone is enjoying spring!

    Best,
    Bob Barnes
     
    socalgal, VickiK, T-Square and 7 others like this.
  20. Crank

    Crank Out on the slopes Skier

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    Of course I know...that's why I posted my anecdote. She still skis...just not with me.
     

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