Pro Tip: The AVA Turn
The simplest, most efficient method for turning while skinning uphill in low to medium angle terrain is the AVA turn. Though called by different names, I prefer AVA for the obvious reasons described below. (Read the excellent excerpts about this turn in both Backcountry Skiing Skills for Ski Touring and Rob Coppolillo’s The Ski Guide Manual for more.)
If you’re a proficient track setter or following one, you’ll be surprised how often you’ll use this technique. It enables you to smoothly move through a turn, saving energy and reserving kick-turns for only the steep terrain.
Instead of trying to execute an uphill turn with your skis parallel, you rotate one leg to make an A, then the other leg to make a V shape with your skis. You can change the angle of the A or V to execute a wider or tighter turn or arc.
When turning to the right, rotate your left foot (and ski) to make an A shape, with your ski tips close together. The next step, rotate your right leg to make a V shape (tails together). Repeat making an A, V, A, V until you’ve completed the arc.
I’ve witnessed beginners pick this technique up quickly and encourage all who are not familiar with it to give the AVA turn a try the next time you’re out skinning.
Through backcountry skiing, Paul Rogers has found incredible happiness, lasting friendships, and the opportunity to traverse the snowscape across Europe and North America. He founded Powder Cloud to help others safely find the same.