A to Z of Ski Terms


Whether you are new to wintersports our just find the lingo confusing do not worry you are not alone!  Here at Snowresort we have created an  A-Z  of ski terms to help you through! We keep it regularly updated as ski terms are constantly evolving with new phrases added every season. We hope it helps you on your next adventure….

Ski Terms:

A – Ski Terms

Aerial skiing– is a freestyle skiing event that involves performing flips and rotations off jumps.

All Mountain skis – that the larger percentage of skis available fall into this category. The skis are designed to perform well in most snow conditions. They are usually used on on – piste skiing.
Alpine skiing – this is where you ski down hill mountain slopes and your foot is attached to fixed ski binding.
Apres-ski – this is French term meaning after skiing and usually in some form of night life, including drinking going to bars, sometimes shopping and similar non-skiing activities.

Artificial Snow – man made snow, produced with a Snow cannon/machine.
Avalanche control – with A risk of avalanches during it large part of the skiing season this is a method utilised by Ski patrols to control the risks on mountain by triggering small avalanches with explosions to make the ski slope’s safer for people using them.

Avalanche beacon – this is a safety device by skiers and snowboarders in case of an avalanche. The beacon transmits a signal which can be used by rescuers to locate a person who is buried.

B – Ski Terms

Backcountry skiing – this is a form of skiing which involves going off piste in unmarked and generally unpatrolled ski areas on the mountains way from the normal resort. Usually this involves going with a guide on otherwise untouched slopes and requires a high level of skiing ability.

Backside – a snowboarding term describing the direction of rotation when the rider spins clockwise in the air, and their left foot is facing down the slope.
Base – this is measuring the depth of Snow at the base of the mountain where is the station is based.
Baseplate – the bottom portion of the ski binding (Also on snow boards) it is directly attached to the ski and therefore is vital for movement. (Also known as binding plate)
Basket – refers to the round disk is located at the base of protecting the tip from sinking too deep into the snow.

Beginner – an individual that is new to skiing or snowboarding.

Biathlon – a cross country event that involves nordic skiing & rifle shooting.
Big mountain skiing – this is the start of skiing undertaken by extreme skiing and seen the ski films/movies.

Binding – the mechanism that connects your boots to the ski/snowboard. An essential safety feature on your skis that allow the boot to release from the ski in event of a crash (this is controlled by DIN settings). Snowboard bindings do not auto release.

Black diamond – this is the North American term denoting a higher level of difficulty and risk on the ski runs.

Black run – the hardest classification of piste across Europe.

Blindside – Any rotation in which the snowboarder is blind during takeoff or landing.

Blue run – an easy run, usually ideal for beginners & intermediates. Across most of Europe is denotes the easiest of runs except France, who have Green runs.

Bowl – this describes a large mountain basin usually free of trees and ideal for large sweeping turns.

Bunny Slope – gentle beginner slopes, ideal for learning. Often the used by ski schools.

Button Lift – a drag lift used by sitting on a small plastic or rubber disc/seat on a pole, placed between your legs. The lift then ‘gently’ drags you up the side of the piste.

C – ski terms

Cable Car –  a means of cable transport and type of aerial lift which is supported and propelled by cables from above. Also known as Gondola.

Camber – this is the curvature of the base of a ski or snowboard and it is to distribute weight across the ski.
Carving – this is the technique where you use the edge of the scheme or snowboard to cutting to the snow in order to turn and change direction.

Carving Skis – skis with an hour glass shape, designed to assist carving when placed on an edge.
Catching an edge – this is where you catch the edge of the ski accidentally into the snow and by doing so normally results in A fall.

Chairlift – a lift consisting of a series of seats, suspended by a cable used for transporting skiers up the mountain. Skiers & snowboarders can wear their skis/boards whilst riding a chairlift.
Chatter – the vibration of stairs/snowboard usually caused by travelling at high speed. It is important to realise this can be a warning that the skiers travelling too fast.

Cork – an off-axis spin when a riders head is below the board.
Couloirs – The actual interpretation in French means corridor, a Courtoise can also be known as a chute and is typically steep narrow often rocky and is suitable to be skied I advanced/extra expert skiers only.

Crevasse – is a deep crack, or fracture, found in an ice sheet or glacier and sometimes hidden from sight.
Cross country skiing – this is a very physically demanding form of skiing, which involves people using narrower skis to ski across countryside and sometimes the smallest loads of points areas.

D – ski terms

Delamination – involves the separation of layers of the l in it scares me, which can ruin a pair of skis if not dealt with promptly.
D I N settings – this is known as the tension release setting which regulates the amount of pressure for a ski binding to release during a crash. Deutsche Industrie Normen in German.

Downhill Ski – the ski that is on the downhill side when you traverse the slope.

Downhill Skiing – A speed discipline in alpine ski racing, downhill features poles (gates) which are set the maximum amount apart to increase speeds.

Drag Lift – a lift that pulls you up the slope whilst standing on your skis or snowboard. Often seen in beginner areas.
Dump – Also known as a Snowden is the slang word for a large amount of snowfall, usually of all powdery snow

E – ski terms

Edge – this is the sharp metal strip that is down the length of the sides of both skis and snowboards. It is used to control the term as part of carving.

Equipment – the term used to describe your skis, boots, snowboard, helmet, poles, goggles etc. Also known as Gear.

F – ski terms

Fakie – skiing or snowboarding backwards.

Fall line – is the most direct line or trail down the ski slope.

FISFederation International de Ski. The international organisation in charge of skiing.
Flex – the term used to describe the amount of stiffness in the outer shell of A ski boot.
Foot bed – this is the sole inside the ski boot liner that is removable. They come into forms the standard fitted foot bad for The boot for the custom bed which can be fitted to your funny shape to improve the comfort and affective and S of your ski boots.
Freestyle – this is a style of skiing mainly associated with tricks. Also a term used by snowboarders.

G – ski terms

Gate – a pole(s) in the snow marking out the course during a ski or snowboard race.

Giant slalom – like slalom skiing this is a form of alpines game involving the skier skiing through gates as part of the race. The speed is higher because the gates concept further apart than in slalom.
Goggles – are the protective eyewear that skiers and snowboarders use to prevent snow form and also to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun at high altitude.
Gondola –One of many types of enclosed this usually capable house sitting for 4 to 8 passengers.
Grab – a form of trick either on skis or snowboard where the rider grabs hold of the edge of the ski/snowboard when going over bumps
Green run – this describes the easiest of ski slope’s/piste after skiers progress from the nursery slopes. Not every come country has a green category, some start at blue runs.
Grooming – This is the main form of slope/piste maintenance undertaken to flat new and also overused snow on the slopes. This is usually undertaken by a form of caterpillar tractor which will ride up and down the piste to flatten and groom it ready for use.

H – ski terms

Half pipe – this is a channel in the form of a U shape for freestyle skiers and snowboarders to ride and do tricks on. Usually found in the snow park area of the ski resort.
Hardpack – here is the term used to describe when snow is densely due to regular grooming of the slope with no recent fresh snow.
Heliskiing – for expert skiers and snowboarders and gives an option to go to untouched ski slopes in backcountry areas.

I – ski terms

Icy Snow – when the snow on the slopes becomes like ice, due to melt and refreezing. These conditions make skiing more difficult and dangerous.

Igloo – is a type of hut built from snow.

Inside Edge – the ski edge that lies on the inside as you ski down the slopes.

Intermediate – usually describes a skier who is able to complete linked parallel turns, is confident on blue runs, and can ski most red runs.

J – ski terms

Jib – is where a ski snowboarder ski across a service not covered in snow such as a rail phone and log on rocks.

K – ski terms

Kicker – A wedge shaped designed for skiers and snowboarders doing freestyle tricks. These are always artificially made.

L – ski terms

Last – the makers term for the interior shape of a ski boot.

Lift – used to transport you up the slopes.

Lift Pass – a ticket that allows you to use the ski lifts.

Liner – this is the removable in the boot which is usually soft and designed to provide a combination of support and padding to make boots more comfortable.

M – ski terms

Magic carpet – is a conveyor belt type of lift usually used on nursery slopes for young children and beginners learning to ski.
Micro fleece – this is a modern form of fleece, which is normally tighter and not as dense that reduces The overall size and bulkiness, as it is worn underneath the ski jacket but above the base layer.
Moguls – a slope covered in bumps that make skiers have to do very tight turns to negotiate.
Mondopoint – this is the standard European measurement for shoe sizes, commonly used for ski boots. It is based on the main foot lengths for which she was suitable, measured in centimetres.
Monoski – it had a scare with those boots attached to the same thing. I have skis became out of his pocket in Europe, in the US. Tim is also used to refer to the set ski used by handicaps years.
Mute grab– This is grabbing the toe edge of your snowboard between the bindings with your suntanned simile is by drafting of the hedge.

N – ski terms

Nordic Combined – an event that combined ski jumping and cross country skiing.

Nordic skiing – this term is commonly used to refer to cross country skiing, but in fact can be any from skiing with the head of the boot release from the binding. Therefore together with cross country, common forms of Nordic skiing include telemark skiing, ski jumping and back country skiing.

O – ski terms

Off – piste – this is where you go off Trail, sometimes called out of bounds. You use other areas of the Mountain than on the trial or piste map and it’s common in the area you go when back country skiing.

Ollie – a basic jump or hop that can done on the flat.

Outside Ski – the ski on the outside of a turn.

P – ski terms

Packed powder – is the term used to describe relatively new snow that is been groomed over repeatedly and this is harder than powder.
Park – See no under to terrain Park.
Pipe – see half pipe

Piste – a French term for ski slopes.

Piste Basher – a vehicle used for grooming ski slopes.
Powder – this is fresh, dry and usually lightweights has created a fluffy powder effect on the top layer of the snow. Too experienced, advanced annexment skiers this is usually seen as the holy grail.
Powder skis – as the name describes these are designed to work in powder snow conditions and capable of floating high on the powder. These are usually considerably wider than normal skis including the waste time ski.
Power strap – this is the Velcro strap at the top end of the ski boot used to make sure the book title Knouff to fit well on to the calf and shin and allow best control and to skis through the boot.

Q – ski terms

Quad – this is the slang term for a chairlift carrying for people.
Quarter pipe – this is a half pipe divided into half lengths news for a single often massive aerial trick.

R – ski terms

Racing ski – even children’s rights keys are stiffer than most adult recreational screws which allows them to have pressure exerted allowing for shorter terms. Race skis are more commonly known as slalom skis or giant slalom skis.
Race boots – designed for racing these boots that are usually narrower and recreational and once again capable of more pressure being inserted the time to turns. Rail – this is usually a metal bar built to be slid along I skiers and snowboarders. You will practically only seniors in to rain parks.

Rail – a metal bar found in snowparks used to perform tricks.
Reverse Camber– The downward are formed in the ski or snowboard Price and from the more pressure applied the greater the amount of term that is camber crates. Some skis out a time with reverse camber.

S – ski terms

Schussing – Skiing straight downhill without turning.

Shaped Skis – Term used to describe the hourglass shape present on the most modern skis. Wider in the tips and tails and narrower at the waist, shaped skis require less effort to turn as the shape itself initiates a carve. The actual shape can differ greatly between manufacturers and type of ski.

Shell – The hard plastic outer portion of a ski boot.

Shovel – The front end of a ski, which often bows out to a larger shovel shape to avoid sinking into snow.

Sidecut – The inner curvature of a ski or snowboard, measured by the difference between the narrowest point in waist of a ski or snowboard to the widest points at the tip and tail. The shape of sidecut is the key component in creating the skis turn radius; the more drastic the sidecut, the shorter the turn.

Six-pack – Slang term for a six person chairlift.

Ski Area – the area of the mountain designated for skiing and snowboarding.

Ski Boards – also known as snow blades, these extremely short skis, that should be avoided at all costs, are like a cross between skiing and inline skating.

Ski Brake – the part of the ski binding designed to stop a ski from shooting downhill after being detached.

Ski Patrol – Trained skiers and snowboarders responsible for slope safety, including clearing areas of possible avalanche danger after a storm, marking dangerous obstacles on/near a trail, and assisting or even carting injured riders down a mountain.

Skier’s Left – Used to describe the area to the left of someone heading downhill.

Skier’s Right – Used to describe the area to the right of someone heading downhill.

Skiin – Accommodation that can be reached from the ski area via skis or snowboard.

Skins – used for ski touring, these strips of material can be temporarily affixed to the bottom of skis for climbing up hills. They will allow access to higher elevations in the backcountry without constantly slipping backwards.

Skiout – Accommodation from which it’s possible to ride from the door to the lifts.

Ski-walk Adjustment – An adjustment on some ski boots that allows the upper cuff to hinge backward, giving room for a more natural walking motion when skis are off. Important not to use this mode when skiing.

Slalom – A form of downhill skiing where racers head downhill on a course line with tightly spaced gates that must be passed between with short, quick turns; see also Giant Slalom.

Slope – a marked area on which you ski or snowboard down.

Slush – snow that is melting and difficult to ski upon. Often found when skiing in hotter spring conditions.

Snowcat: – A tracked vehicle used for moving around snowy, mountainous areas; often seen dragging giant rakes as they groom runs, but also used to transport riders into the backcountry for cat skiing.

Snowpark – a terrain park for freestyle skiing or snowboarding, consisting of jumps, rails and boxes.

Snowplough – A beginner’s technique for slowing down on skis. Done by bringing the front tips of a pair of skis together, pushing the tails apart, and applying pressure on the skis’ inside edges, creating a wedge type shape.

Snowskate – Similar to a skateboard deck without wheels, designed to be ridden on snow for freestyle tricks.

Softgoods –  Catch-all term used to classify ski and snowboard clothing, including jackets, gloves, long underwear, and hats.

Straight-lining – See Schussing.

Super G – an alpine discipline somewhere in between the speed of Downhill and  Giant Slalom but with even fewer turns to negotiate than the latter.

Superpipe – A larger version of a regular halfpipe; walls in a superpipe can measure up to 20ft.

Surface Lifts – Lifts that drag, yank, or pull skiers up a slope along the ground as opposed to in the air; see Rope Tow, T-bar, and Magic Carpet.

T – ski terms

Tail – The back end of a ski.

T-bar – A surface lift that pulls you up hill by grabbing onto and then sitting on a plastic T-shaped arm suspended from a moving line. Often found on small and flat beginner slopes, but they can also be found high up a mountain in steep areas where a chairlift can’t or hasn’t yet been built.

Telemark Skiing –  Part of the Nordic Skiing family and a hybrid of downhill and cross-country skiing. Skiing with detached heels allows for traversing across flat ground but telemark skis are also wide enough to handle high speeds and sharp turns. Known for its distinctive forward bent knee “telemark” turn. Sometimes called “free heel skiing.”

Terrain Park – A freestyle zone roped off from other downhill runs and filled with jumps, rails, fun boxes, and other assorted obstacles. Parks can also include a halfpipe and boardercross run.

Tips: The front end of the skis.

Tracked Out – Slang term for a slope of once fresh snow that has been ridden over repeatedly.

Traverse – Skiing across a slope in a zigzag pattern rather than straight down.

Tree Line – The altitude at which trees stop growing on a mountain. In the U.S., the tree line floats between 8,000 and 10,000 ft, while in Europe it tends to be lower; closer to 7,000 ft.

Tree Well –  A dangerous hollow space formed around the base of trees after heavy snowfalls; fatal accidents can occur by falling into one.

Turning Radius – A function of sidecut, the turning radius equals the natural circle that a pair of skis or a snowboard can make on edge. The more dramatic the sidecut, the tighter the turning radius.

Twin Tips – Skis where both the tail and tip are turned up at the end, enabling a skier to ski backwards with ease. Originally popular only with freestyle skiers, as the twin tip shape allows for reverse (known as fakie or switch) take-offs and landings off jumps. Modern advancements, however, have seen twin tip shapes appear more often in big mountain skis, as they shape handles smoothly in powder conditions.

U – ski terms

Uphill Edge: The edge of the ski that is on the uphill side when traversing the slope.
Uphill Ski: The ski that is on the uphill side as your traverse the slope.

– ski terms

Vertical Drop – The distance between the base of a mountain and its tallest point.

W – ski terms

Wax: Used on the underside of skis and snowboards to help them glide smoothly over the snow.
White Out: When visibility drops to almost nothing; caused by heavy snowfall, fog, or a combination of the two.

Now you are proficient in ski terms let us help you to find your next ski holiday destination with our resort guides and ski holiday offers.

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