Glossary of ski terms

Article posted 05 November 2019

Aerials – Ski jumping with an emphasis on freestyle.

Alpine Skiing – This is straightforward skiing, straight down a slope with no added extras.

Après ski – Essentially ‘after ski’. It’s the bit when the sport ends and can often involve a few drinks. It doesn’t have to be a booze-up though and could be a great meal instead. There are plenty of amazing restaurants around our resorts in the Alps.

Artificial Snow – When the weather works against us it’s still possible to cover the slopes in this excellent substitute, delivered with snow cannons.

Back Country – The area loved by extreme skiers, away from the official slopes. There’s no lifts, an element of danger and avalanches are a constant risk. For some, the adrenaline more than makes up for it.

Baseplate – This is a crucial part of your ski bindings that helps you to steer properly.

Biathlon – When you combine cross country skiing with regular rifle shooting contests then you’re taking part in a biathlon.

Binding – this attaches you to your skis and is smart enough to let you go when you’re heading for a fall.

Black Run – this is an advanced slope for experienced skiers.

Blue Run – Welcome to the first slope you should use when starting out.

Bombing – If you’re heading down a slope at reckless speed and putting others in danger then you’re bombing.

Bonk – This is when you hit an object and bounce off. Ouch.

Brain bucket – a great name for a helmet.

Button Lift – A very basic ski lift where you sit on a round disc to head back to where you came from. Generally considered one of the more uncomfortable ways to travel.

Cable Car – One of the better ways to get around ski resorts. Sit back and enjoy the view.

Chair Lift – An advance on the button lift where you get to sit on a wooden seat rather than a round disc.

Clamps – Another word for bindings.

Couloir – This narrow slope has rocks on either side of it. Some love the challenge they offer.

Crevasse – Deep cracks in the mountain that are best avoided.

Cross Country Skiing (or Nordic skiing) – A journey across flattish terrain, this is a real test of leg endurance.

Crud – Nasty hard ice that makes for bad skiing

Dry Slope – Snow without the snow, these are great places to practice before your holiday.

Eagle – Arms and legs spread wide when you do a jump. Great fun.

Face-Plant – This is a simple one. Falling flat on your face.

Fakie – Going backwards.

Flat Light – Poor conditions for all skiers, where it’s hard to see what’s up ahead.

Freestyle – if you prefer to do tricks rather than go for speed then you’re a freestyler.

Goggles – Vital protection for your eyes.

Gondola – A fun ride up the mountains in an enclosed lift.

Grab – As the name suggests, this is when you grab your skis while in the air, usually when pulling off a trick.

Grooming – Wonder why the snow looks so good in the morning? It’s because it’s been groomed with very large machines.

Halfpipe – This is a U-shaped channel where people can perform many types of tricks.

Hard Pack – Snow that’s been squeezed until it’s solid as a rock.

Huck – to launch off a jump.

Jib – Skiing on anything that isn't snow, such as a rail. Not recommended for beginners.

Kicker – A ramp made of snow.

Lift Pass – Included in your Club Med ski holiday price so you can get around.

Magic Carpet – A conveyor belt to take you back up the slopes.

Milk Run – The first run of the day which is not always your best.

Moguls – Mounds of snow created by skiers turning which are fun obstacles for those with advanced skills.

Noodle – A ski that’s too wobbly to make it effective.

Off-Piste – Slopes based far from the madding crowds but with some danger attached.

Piste – The official ski slopes.

Planker – A slang term for anyone who skies.

Powder – Beautiful fresh snow. Also known as pow-pow.

Rag Doll – Tumbling over and over again after falling. Not good.

Red Run – The ideal slopes for those who are no longer beginners but not yet experts.

Ripper – A really good skier.

Rope Lift – Hold on to a rope and head back up the slopes. Basic but effective.

Salopettes– Waterproof trousers essential for keeping you warm and dry.

Schussing – Skiing in a straight line.

Ski Area – The part of the mountain marked off for snow sports.

Ski-in ski-out: The ability to hit the slopes as soon as you leave a building. Club Med's resorts that are ski-in ski-out.

Slalom – Weaving in and out of closely spaced out gates at speed.

Snowplough – Also known as the pizza, this involves creating an inverted ‘v’ with your skis to control speed and turning.

Telemark Skiing – Combining cross-country skiing and downhill.

Traverse – Going sideways across a slope rather than down.

Tree line – The point where trees stop growing on a mountain.

Wax – Use it to make the underside of your skis smoother and faster.

White Out – When you can’t see more than a yard ahead of you due to heavy snow.

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