Glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms

This glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon used in skiing, snowboarding, and related winter sports.

A

aerial skiing
alpine skiing

A discipline of skiing that involves sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, as opposed to other types of skiing (such as cross-country) which use skis with free-heel bindings. Alpine skiing is popular as a recreational activity and competitive sport, both at ski resorts and off-piste.
alpine touring
après-ski
avalament
The way a skier bends and extends his legs by managing pressure such that the skier allows it to push their legs into their chest while maintaining good contact with the snow.

B

backcountry
Any area outside of the boundaries of a ski resort, or else not patrolled, groomed, or cleared of avalanche danger. Backcountry areas are usually remote from roads and services and only accessible by long tours, hiking, snowmobile, or helicopter.
backcountry skiing
backcountry snowboarding
baseplate
The bottom portion of a binding which acts as the point of direct contact between the boot and the ski or snowboard and therefore transfers all movement.
basket
A round or star-shaped piece of plastic located at the bottom of a ski pole and used to keep the pole from pushing too deeply into the snow.
berm
Another name for a snowbank.
biathlon
binding
boot
bowl
A wide mountain basin with slopes on at least three sides that is generally free of trees and other obstacles and conducive to large, swooping turns or steep, speedy dives.
bunny slope
A flat or nearly flat, well-groomed area, usually located near the base of a slope, reserved for beginning skiers or snowboarders and those taking lessons.

C

carve turn
carving ski
chairlift
chatter
Vibration of skis or snowboards caused by traveling at high speeds. Chatter can reduce contact between the ski and the snow and therefore the ability to stay in control.
combined
corduroy
(slang) The parallel grooves visible on a trail or slope that has been recently groomed by a snowcat or other grooming machine.
cross-country skiing

D

DIN setting
The tension-release setting which determines the amount of force required for a ski binding to release from the skier's boot during a fall or impact. DIN is an acronym for the German Deutsche Industrie Normen.
downhill
downhill skiing
See alpine skiing.
dry ski slope

E

edge
The sharpened metal strip on either side of a ski or snowboard, used for gaining control by "biting" into the snow. "Holding an edge" is a key technique to maintaining a smooth, stable turn.
extreme skiing

F

free heel
freeriding
freeskiing
freestyle skiing

Also called jibbing. Often used interchangeably with freeskiing.

A competitive skiing event primarily focused on the performance of tricks and typically comprising aerial, mogul, half-pipe, ski cross, and slopestyle disciplines.
freestyle snowboarding
frontcountry

G

giant slalom
glade skiing
gondola
grooming

H

half-pipe
half-pipe skiing
HangBoard
hardpack
Snow that has been densely compacted by repeated grooming or skiing and a lack of fresh snowfall, often found on the most popular trails and slopes within a ski resort's boundaries.
heliskiing
herringbone
The act or technique of generating forward momentum on skis by spreading the tips apart widely (in a "V" shape) and striding the legs forward independently of each other, so named for the geometric pattern this motion leaves behind in the snow. The technique can be useful when climbing uphill or traversing flat ground on skis.

I

indoor skiing
itineraire

J

jib
Riding a snowboard or skis across a non-snow surface, such as a rail, funbox, or fallen log.
jump turn

K

kite skiing

L

lift
See ski lift.
lift ticket
liftie
(slang) A ski lift operator.
loipe

M

magic carpet
mogul
A large round protrusion carved out of a snow surface, especially a slope, and typically occurring in "fields" of multiple moguls. Moguls are created both naturally by the repeated turns of skiers and artificially.
mogul skiing
monoski

N

never-ever
(slang) A first-time skier or snowboarder.
new school skiing
See freeskiing.
night skiing
Nordic combined
Nordic skiing

O

off-piste

Often used interchangeably with backcountry.

Off a designated piste or trail; outside of the boundaries of a ski resort or other marked area reserved for use by skiers and snowboarders.
outrigger ski

P

parallel turn
piste
pivot turn
poaching
pole planting
powder
Fresh, dry, loosely compacted, and lightweight snow, as opposed to densely compacted or repeatedly groomed snow such as hardpack.
powder ski
A type of ski with a very wide waist (generally between 105 and 130 mm), designed to "float" atop fresh powder by keeping the ski from sinking into the snow.
powder surfing

R

randonée
See alpine touring.
roller skiing
runout
1.  An expansive flat area at the base of a ski slope or the end of a run that allows skiers to slow down.
2.  A relatively flat section of a ski route used to link tougher trails back to a ski lift.

S

schussing
Skiing straight downhill without turning, usually at high speed.
shin-bang
sidecountry
sidecut
The inward curvature of a ski or snowboard, measured by the difference between the width of the ski or snowboard at the narrowest point of the waist and the width at the widest point of the tip or tail. The curvature of the sidecut greatly influences the ski or snowboard's turning radius: drastic sidecuts allow users to make sharper turns.
ski
ski cross
ski flying
ski goggles
ski helmet
ski jumping
ski lift

Any mechanism for transporting skiers and snowboarders up a slope. Lifts are typically a paid service operated by ski resorts.
ski lodge
ski marathon
ski mountaineering
ski orienteering
ski patrol
ski pole

A lightweight handheld pole, often made from aluminum or carbon fiber, used by skiers for balance and propulsion, typically in pairs. Ski poles are commonly used in alpine, freestyle, and cross-country disciplines, but seldom in other disciplines such as ski jumping.
ski resort
ski school
ski season
ski skins
ski suit
ski touring
ski wax
skier's left
The general direction to the left of a skier headed downhill, or an area to the left of a skier facing downhill
skier's right
The general direction to the right of a skier headed downhill, or an area to the right of a skier facing downhill
skiing
A means of transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport in which the participant, known as a skier, glides across a snow-covered surface using skis attached to their feet.
skijoring
skwal
slackcountry
slalom
slopestyle
snow cannon
snowbank
snowboard
snowboard cross

snowboard racing
snowboarding
A recreational activity or competitive winter sport in which the participant, known as a snowboarder or rider, descends a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard attached to their feet.
snowcat
snowkiting
See kite skiing.
snowmaking
snowpack
snowplough turn

snowskate
speed skiing
splitboard
stem christie
super giant slalom

superpipe
surface lift

T

tail
The back end of a ski, situated behind the skier.
Telemark skiing
terrain park
tindy
tip
The front end of a ski, situated in front of the skier.
tracked out
(slang) The condition of a slope of once-fresh snow that has been ridden over repeatedly, discernible by the numerous visible tracks left by previous skiers or snowboarders.
tree well

V

vertical drop
The difference in elevation between the base of a ski slope or mountain and its highest point.
virgin snow

W

waist

Y

yard sale
(slang) A fall or crash in which the skier's or snowboarder's gear – skis, poles, hat, gloves, etc. – end up scattered across the slope.

See also

References

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