While skinning uphill may never be as effortless as floating down cold smoke, it can be made pretty fluid and even enjoyable with good technique.
Having raced on the ski-mountaineering circuit in the US and Europe for almost a decade, and Nordic raced even longer, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade that can be helpful.
While the bulk of our day is spent sliding on skins up untracked mountains, the seemingly short and quick act of a kick turn can make or break your experience. Poor technique will not only slow your ascent significantly, it will also shorten your powder laps as a sloppy kick turn will wear you out and quickly shorten your day.
Our videos detail some of the key aspects of making an effortless kick turn in any conditions. The key is in keeping your knees bent and your body upright and relaxed.
Skin past the turn until your boots are even with the uphill track.
Relax, bend your knees, stand tall and pivot your uphill ski/boot so it’s perpendicular to your downhill ski.
Slide the uphill ski up the new track so it is free of your downhill ski. Plant it firmly and make sure your skin is sticking. (note: if you have super long skis, you can slide your uphill ski under your downhill ski to keep it from catching:
Re-position your poles over the uphill ski right at your boots, now rock up onto that ski and stand tall with your other knee bent. Relax.
Lift your other ski slightly, knee bent, pivot the boot/ski around to the new track and set it firmly in the snow. If it’s steep, you can bend your knee, kick your heel and the ski tip will come up and make it easy to pivot it to the uphill track no matter how steep or deep it is.