When to Use Ski Crampons & How to Kick-Turn Facing Downhill

Text by: Kelsey Begg

Outdoor Research, Ski & Snowboard, Winter. When to Use Ski Crampons & How to Kick-Turn Facing Downhill

Ski touring is a fun alternative to lift-accessed areas and allows you to explore possible new terrain, avoid the crowds and enjoy the serenity of nature. You can pick your own lines, climb where you want (within reason – keeping in mind avalanche hazards) and chase your inner adrenaline junkie.

Research & Preparation

Depending on where you are touring, it’s possible that you will end up on some steep and technical terrain. Not every ski touring route will end up on this type of terrain but in most cases, if you’re touring, you’re hunting for fresh powder and sick lines so technical conditions are expected. If your planned trip has potential to encounter this type of terrain, it is essential to be prepared and equipped so you don’t end up in an unpleasant or unsafe situation.

Safety is key especially when you are exploring in the mountains. Nature is great and full of adventure opportunities but it also deserves the utmost respect because in any situation, it is far more powerful. So head for the mountains being prepared, educated and aware.

Check out ski blogs, magazine articles and even Youtube channels for brands like Outdoor Research that have a How To video series. Take the time to do the necessary research for your plans and pick-up tips and ideas whenever you can.

Simple tips like when to use ski crampons or how to do a kick-turn facing downhill can be very useful and can even be the difference between an amazing day in the backcountry and a day leaving you wanting to sell your gear.

Ski Crampons

Ski crampons are used to increase the grip under your skis to make your steps more efficient and preserve energy. They are designed to work best on hard packed snow or steep side-hills to help you gain a stable, more secure step. The spikes along the sides of the crampons increase your sideways grip which makes them ideal for steep side-hills.



Kick-Turn Facing Downhill

Performing a kick-turn facing downhill can be an intimidating process and a bit tricky but the important thing is to commit to it. Once you’ve started, keep the flow going; you do not want to pause in the middle when you’re unbalanced. It is crucial to ensure that you have a clear run out so that you won’t encounter any unpleasant surprises once you’ve changed directions.



Have Fun & Explore Safely

Having a great time making memories with friends and family wherever you are is precious and often the instigator of adventures and epic days. This winter, be smart and explore safely so that you can make even better memories next week!

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