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Glossary of Ski Terms

Our snow experts at Sno'n'Ski Group Holidays have defined some common ski and snowboard slang so that you know exactly what people are referring to when you hit the slopes!


· Alpine Skiing – Downhill skiing with fixed boots on the skis.


· Base – The main area at the bottom of the ski resort, or, overall depth of snow.

· Bowl –Large bowl shaped basin, free of trees and good for swooping turns.

· Backcountry – Also known as off-piste or out of bounds, backcountry is unmarked or unpatrolled skiable areas that require experience, knowledge, and additional snow equipment.

· Binding – The connecting factor of a boot to a ski or snowboard. Ski bindings are designed to release upon falling, whereas snowboard bindings do not.

· Brain Bucket - Ski or Snowboard Helmet.

· Bunny Slope – Relatively easy and flat skiable area, perfect for beginners.


· Carving – clean turns using the edge of ski or snowboard digging into packed snow.

· Corduroy – Ridges of snow caused by grooming machines.


· Dump – Heavy snowfall of fresh powder.


· Edge – Metal strips found on the side of skis and snowboards, used for carving.


· Fall line – Most direct and quickest route down a mountain, if you fall, the direction in which you’d be falling.

· First tracks – When a skier or snowboarder is the first to make tracks in the fresh snow.

· French fries – Skiing with skis parallel to each other, opposite of pizza.


· Grooming – Common form of trail maintenance, often by snowcats dragging giant rakes over the snow.


· Hardpack – Densely packed snow due to repeated grooming and lack of fresh snowfall.


· Liftie- Ski lift operator.


· Magic carpet- Conveyor belt often found in beginner areas to assist beginner ski and snowboarders.

· Mashed potatoes – Wet and heavy snow.

· Milk run – The first ski run of the day.


· Off-piste – Out of bounds and backcountry skiable areas which are not marked on the trail map.

· On-piste- skiing on a trail or run, typically groomed, found on the trail map and patrolled.


· Pizza- Slow snowplowing down a slope, taught to beginner skiers.

· Piste – French word for ‘trail’.

· Powder – Ideal ski condition with a fresh dump of snow.


· Schuss- To ski down the slope without turning.

· Shovel – Front end of the ski.

· Ski Patrol – Trained skiers and snowboarders responsible for slope safety.

· Skiers left – Left hand side of someone heading downhill.

· Skiers right – Right hand side of someone heading downhill.

· Ski-in-ski-out- A properties location that allows skiers to ski in and out of their accommodation.

· Slush – Melted, wet snow.


· Tail – The back end of a ski.

· T-Bar – Surface lift that pulls you up the hill by sitting on a plastic T Shaped arm with your skis firmly on the ground.

· Traverse – Skiing across the mountain in a zig zag pattern.

· Twin Tip – Ski’s where both the tail and tip are turned up at the end, allowing the skier to ski backwards.


· Vertical drop – Distance between the base of the mountain and its tallest point.


· Whiteout – Being unable to see clearly due to heavy snowfall or fog.

· Wax – Used on skis to maintain smooth glides over all different snow conditions.

· Wind Hold – Lifts stop operating as a result of high winds.


· Yard sale – a crash in which a skier or snowboarders’ equipment is scattered across the slope.



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