Kick Turn, "A lost art"

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

  1. Guy in Shorts

    Guy in Shorts Tree Psycho Skier

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    Still remember the first time I saw a kick turn on Downdraft at Killington back in the 70's. Learned how to ski by watching then trying myself.
     
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  2. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Kick turns were part of the beginner lesson when I started teaching 50 years ago. I used to do them regularly:daffy::daffy: Haven't tried one in probably 25 years and I doubt my old joints would be happy attempting one now.:duck:
     
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  3. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Lol, learning a kick turn on the pitch of Downdraft, which must be mid 30's, is...interesting. At least it could be clear sliding.

    Did you make people sidestep a lot too? The number of kids who get to an advanced level now and can't side step properly is amazing.
     
  4. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    How else would you get up the hill? The rope tow was for folks who could stop:roflmao:
     
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  5. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    This talk of sidestepping makes me wonder if I do it right. I've never been taught it.
     


  6. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    And that was also how we groomed the trails back in the day..

    Seriously though on a REALLY cold day, mid lesson I'd have folks fishbone up a little bit to warm up cold students and instructor alike.
     
  7. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Herringbone up is way more complicated than sidestepping. I usually added that after sliding to a stop and before the tow rope. Today, of course, it's the magic carpet.
     
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  8. Kneale Brownson

    Kneale Brownson Out on the slopes Instructor

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    I don't know how you can go uphill sideways incorrectly. If you're trying and CAN'T go uphill, most likely the downhill ski is not properly edged and slides away when you try to move.
     
  9. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    Ah... my questioning was half joking... I couldn't imagine side stepping not working, bit I suppose I could see someone sliding. :)
     
  10. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Note, once you know what you're doing, many rules can be violated and still sidestep up just fine. Just like most experienced people can put their skis on facing downhill if it's not steep.

    That is until it gets steep and icy. Then side stepping up everything matters. It's actually surprising how steep a small slope you can sidestep up with proper technique and sharp edges.

    The biggest issues before they get to the top of what's being sidestepped:

    -Flat skis slide downhill. You need something to step off of. That means some edge. That may seem obvious, but watch. Facing uphill can interfere with this.

    -You need to be relatively centered fore/aft and skis across the fall line. Often the fall line is not one direction.

    - The body faces uphill. One of the biggest mistakes that makes it really hard. This makes it very difficult for the uphill ski to get on little toe edge and form a platform to step to. Facing uphill almost assures the uphill ski will go to big toe side and it will almost always slip. Face sideways or a little downhill.

    -Too big a step. Coupled with facing uphill this is a disaster. Small steps will get you there faster, especially when it's steeper.

    - Failure to keep skis across the fall line. The biggest problem with this usually happens at the top. Kids get to he top, get impatient and take a V step, weight it, and down to the bottom they go.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  11. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    Adults do this too. They turn to face uphill, and turn their uphill foot to point uphill, as if they were walking on dry land. Down the hill they slide, backwards. As soon as they lose concentration on side-stepping sideways, that uphill foot turns the ski to point uphill.

    A great way to stop this in a beginner group of adults is to have the group side-step uphill side-by-side, holding hands, while looking at the instructor. Holding hands (no poles) keeps them so close to each other that they can't turn that uphill foot to point its ski uphill. (This is not my innovative idea, but I love it.) Looking at the instructor keeps them from looking down at their skis.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  12. Steve

    Steve Moving towards Understanding Skier

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    I had a trainer have me side step and showed how the uphill ski diverged uphill, she used this as an analogy for divergence at edge change.
     
  13. mister moose

    mister moose Instigator Skier

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    I've always done kick turns, and I agree, not many folks do. I'm not sure it's "lost art", but I do get looks. And I do it slightly differently -

    I don't place both poles uphill, and I don't look downhill to start. I don't lean uphill. I start from a normal, look ahead, poles on each side balanced position. (Of course you give some thought to where you're standing)

    It's a quick fluid motion, but there is no need to "flow in the other direction", as the Margaret Wheeler video states.

    The sequence is kick the downhill ski up, planting its tail even with the other tip, let it fall pivoting on the tail, as the ski falls pick up the downhill pole and the torso begins the twist towards the opposite direction. So I go through looking down hill, I do not pause there. As the pole lifts and the ski falls, the 3 points of contact becomes both feet again and the uphill pole. As the foot hits the ground in "toes opposed" opposition, the old uphill pole lifts and as the tail of the uphill ski swings both the old uphill pole follows the foot and the new uphill pole plants. The torso continues the constant turn. On those two points of contact the new downhill ski and pole swings into place. There is no resultant forward motion, although if you want some you can stop the last ski before parallel, push and skate off.

    Once well practiced, it's a quick flick kind of move, I mean well under a second. All the poles here, ski there instructions are more complicated and slower to say than to do. And because once you get quick at it, there is no time to fall over; kick, swing, step around, done.

    It's great for novices as they have trouble making a steered turn from right up against the trees. And trees seem to exert a magnetic pull on them. ( I learned as a snowplower)
    It's great for intermediates to turn away from an undesired slope, patch of ice, or correct a wrong turn at a trail junction without losing vertical and having to climb back up hill.
    It's great for advanced skiers, as sometimes as much as we think it won't happen, a 180 in place comes in real handy.

    However, I've found that just like the ability to roll your tongue into a 'U' is some kind of genetic random ability, so is a kick turn. Some folk's hip sockets just don't move that way.
     
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  14. Scruffy

    Scruffy Out on the slopes Skier

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    Yeah skinning up kick turns are always up hill oriented, as opposed to skiing downhill kick turns. I use kick turns every year at least once or twice. Comes in handy when exploring off piste in steep dicey terrain. Sometimes there's no way to go forward without cliff-ing out and backing up could prove dangerous. A quick kick turn can save your bacon.

    Another place they come in handy is skiing downhill in steep terrain, in funky (crusty or rotted out ) snow on skinny x-country double cambered skis. If it's powder and you have the space, you can make a tele turn, but in junk snow on that equipment, you can traverse downhill and kick turn to change direction.
     
  15. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    This is the way I do it too. Planting the downhill tail next to the uphill tip first is easier to teach compared with just reversing the ski and setting the lifted foot down next to the stance foot. Students don't get so confused. I prefer to teach it on a mellow pitch instead of on the flats. The pitch helps to draw the lifted ski down when the student hesitates on the first try.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
  16. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    Side stepping?
    Don't neglect the "Jackson Shuffle".
     
  17. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    regarding the kick turn, I could care less if the tail of the lifted down hill ski touches the snow or not.
    Swing that baby around until it's back on snow with the tip pointing the direction you want to go.!
     
  18. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    What exactly is that?
     
  19. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    seek and you shall find

    Try the G3 information pages.
     
  20. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    Rather than make 100 people go googling, you could just tell us.
     
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