Have you ever been confused by all the different terms and phrases that skiers use? Here’s a glossary to keep you ahead of the curve.
If you have any questions or phrases you would like to add, jump in and share in the comments section.
AFD (Anti-Friction Device)—Teflon® pad or mechanical slider in the toe of the binding. The ski boot toe rests on this piece which allows the boot to release smoothly during a fall.
All Mountain Skis—Skis designed to perform well in a variety of snow conditions over the whole mountain.
Alpine Skiing—Commonly known as downhill skiing. Not telemarking, or as my mom says “telemarketing”. The heels are locked down here.
Backseat – When someone is always leaning back when they ski. “Look at him lean back and attack. So backseat” (see Backseat Barney)
Base—The material on the underside of the ski, which allows it to slide when waxed. Usually made of polyethylene.
Black Diamond—An expert-level ski slope designated by a sign with a black diamond on a white background. A black diamond at Snowbird is not the same as a black diamond at Hunter Mountain.
Beater or Barney – slang for someone who is not a good skier or someone that carries their skis in the cradle position.
Boards—Another term for skis.
Bumps (see moguls or knee damage)
Camber—The slight arch of a non-weighted ski when resting on a flat surface which contributes to the ski’s flexibility. A ski with higher camber will feel springier than one with low camber. Most alpine skis have a bit of camber.
Carve—A clean turn made by using your edges.
Cat Track—A gentle, narrow trail that joins one ski slope to another or that winds down the entire mountain. The cats (or snow groomers) use these to get around the mountain.
Chatter—Vibration or instability of a ski on hard snow due to the edges bouncing off the snow instead of biting in.
Core—The center section of a ski, usually made of foam or laminated wood, which holds the structural layers apart. A ski’s flex is determined by its core thickness and material.
Corn —Snow condition usually occurring in spring and consisting of small, rounded “kernels” or balls.
Crud— It’s not fresh snow or packed down by groomers. This transition snow is variable and often difficult to ski on.
De-lam—The separation of a ski’s base or top sheet from its core, which is usually irreparable.
Double Diamond—An extreme, expert-only ski slope, designated by a sign with 2 black diamonds on a white background. Ask Dexter Rutecki about these.
Edge—Usually made of carbon steel, it is the sharpened part on either side of a ski’s base that bites into the snow. To edge a ski is to tip it up onto the side, pressing the steel edges into the snow.
Falline—The line of gravity or the most direct route down a slope. Please ski in the falline.
Fat Skis—Wide skis designed to perform in deep powder snow and just about any condition for that matter.
Flex—The amount of stiffness or “give” in a ski. A softer-flexed ski will perform better on soft, deep snow, whereas a stiff-flexed ski handles better on hard-packed snow.
Freeride—Term given to skis built to handle everything from powder, crud and groomers.
Freerider – Someone who thinks they are the shit because they have fat skis and ski more than you.
Freestyle Skiing—Acrobatic skiing that includes moguls, jumps and aerial maneuvers such as twists and somersaults.
Giant Slalom (AKA G.S.)—A racecourse with medium-to-long-radius turns around gates. Also the type of skis used in those races.
Gondola—A fully enclosed ski lift, in which skiers remove their skis and take a seated ride up the mountain
Ganjala – Same as above, but named by freeriders who use this mode of transportation to smoke weed.
Groomer—A ski run that has been smoothed over by a snow machine (or groomer) for more consistent skiing.
Mashed Potatoes—Lumpy, wet snow – spring skiing condition. Not preferable for beaters.
Moguls—mounds of snow created by skiers repeatedly making turns in the same places on the slope. Also known as bumps.
Off-piste—The area beyond the groomed runs of a ski area or backcountry away from developed ski areas. Term often used by Europeans to describe where they ski.
Parabolic Skis—Shaped skis….no one says this anymore.
Parallel Turn—A turn in which the skis are parallel to each other (rather than angled, as in a wedge turn). Often overheard in the Hunter Mountain liftline.
Piste—French for a groomed course on snow or the groomed portion of a ski area (see Off-piste).
Pow – Fresh, dry snow, prized by skiers and snowboarders for its lightness.
Quad—Chairlift that carries 4 people per chair.
Rear-Entry Boots—A style of ski boot that opens in back with a hinged flap that you push down to open and pull up to close. There is really no reason for using these anymore unless you are a child.
Rock Skis—Old skis used for thin snow conditions in early and late season when hitting rocks is more likely.
Rope Tow—A lift that pulls skiers up gentler slopes. Skiers hold on to handles along a continuously moving “rope” and keep their skis flat on the snow.
Sidecut—The difference in millimeters between the ski’s waist (or narrowest part) and the tip and tail. A large sidecut allows skis to carve turns more readily.
Sidewall—The material along the sides of a ski that covers the structural and core components.
Schuss—Literally, “to shoot” or “shot” in German. To ski straight downhill very fast!.
Snowcat—A machine driven over the snow (on belts similar to a bulldozer’s) to groom slopes for skiing or to transport people and gear.
T-Bar—A ski lift that pulls one or 2 skiers up a slope at a time with their skis resting on the snow. Skiers lean their hips/buttocks against a bar that hangs down between them.
Tuck—A tight, forward-lean position used for fast downhill runs. The skier is in a squatting position with the arms tight against the sides and skis parallel.
Waist—The narrowest part of a ski in between the tip and the tail.
Wedge –one of the first things you learn on skis to slow down. You essentially make your skis look like a slice of pizza. Often overheard by ski instructors yelling “make a pizza