How you change direction on a skin track is largely a matter of personal preference – provided you have a quiver of options. Most skiers only know one or two kick turns which can sometimes put them in a precarious position and make switchbacks a moment of anxiety that is avoided at all costs. It need not be so.
Just as it is important to be able to make more than one style of turn while skiing downhill, it is equally valuable to have an assortment of switchback tricks available when you need them for the uphill leg. The uphill snap-kick turn is a super valuable technique to learn, but some folks simply cannot do it because it requires more range of motion across the hips than their body allows. If that resembles your perspective on the snap kick-turn, let me suggest a move I’m calling the Step-Down kick turn.
Rather than try to pivot your uphill ski around above the skin track, pivot it around while stepping down, below the skin track. This requires less stretching across the hips and typically only costs you a foot of elevation at each turn which can be easily made up for in the next few steps.
If you have limited range of motion give this a try and let me know how it works for you. I wouldn’t have bothered showing it if I didn’t have a friend with this very problem give it a whirl. He simply could not do the uphill snap-kick turn but had no problem with this variation.