Skiing Terms

There’s nothing worse than going skiing or snowboarding and not understanding what the people around are on about. As with many sports, skiing also has a vocabulary of it’s own. Learning some of it will definitely make your skiing holiday more fun. Here are a few words / sayings  that you should know.

A drag lift in operation.

Skiology / Ski Talk Explained

  • Aprés Ski : The all important party after a day on the slope.
  • ATS : American Teaching System, one system of standardised levels of skiing.
  • Avalanche : Potentially dangerous and life threatening snow land slides.
  • Bunny Slope : A slope for beginners, it should be pretty much close to flat.
  • Corduroy : A freshly groomed piste that has packed powder snow. This snow has a carpet- or corduroy-like a appearance and is great to ski on.
  • Piste : Where you will begin skiing. Basically it’s the prepared slope.
  • Groomer / Snow Plough : these rather large machines that
  • Snowblower : a machine used for generation extra snow. Mostly used at the start of a season or in seasons with low levels of snow.
  • Magic Carpet :  a moving footpath for the snow. More common on beginners slopes.
  • Drag lift : a ski lift that basically drags you up the slope. (see picture above)
  • T-Bar : a type of drag lift that can pull two people at a time, the anchor is in the shape of an inverted T.
  • Button lift : A single person drag lift, the anchor is circular.
  • Chair lift : A lift where you are sitting down and you travel above the slope. Generally these are exposed.
  • Gondola : A multi-person lift which is enclosed. Typically these lifts are at a higher level above the ground. (see image below)
  • off piste / back country : Anyway off the groomed pistes. These areas should only be tackled by experienced skiers.
  • pow pow : powder snow , i.e. fresh snow.
  • Powder : Freshly fallen snow.
  • Mogul : compact mounds of snow. They can be either man-made or artificial (typically caused by snowboarders back edging down a slope too much.
  • Heli-skiing : extreme off piste skiing that starts with a trip, and you jumping out of a helicopter. Used for reaching hard to get to locations.
  • Counter-rotation : Moving or rotating your upper and lower body in opposite directions, at the same time, for maximum turning.
  • Fall line : The straightest and steepest line down any slope, and generally the fastest.
  • Milk Run : the first run of the day, when the snow conditions are generally the best.
  • DIN settings – Deutsche Industrie Normen. A calculation scale, which is agreed internationally, which is a measure of under what force your bindings will release. More experienced skiers will generally have stiffer bindings.
  • White Out : Poor visibility conditions when you can’t see.

A gondola in Austria

One thought on “Skiing Terms

  1. DIN settings – Deutsche Industrie Normen has now been changed to release value setting but the Austrians have decided to just ignore it 🙂

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