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Ski & Snowboarding Terms

Ski & Snowboarding Terms

Below you will find user submited Terms and How-to information for Ski & Snowboarding. Tips are displayed based on reader popularity, so make sure to vote for your favorite Terms!

DUMP
An unusually large or heavy snowfall.

EGO BUMPS
Small, well-spaced moguls on an intermediate slope that are generally easier to ski than those found on more difficult slopes.

HERRINGBONE
A skiing technique named after the marks left by skis when a skier nudges upward through the snow.

PIZZA
Performed by slowly snowplowing down a slope; generally used by ski instructors when teaching young children.

PRERELEASE
Denotes the situation when skis unhinge earlier than anticipated.

AERIALS
Air maneuvers

ALPINE SKIING
Downhill skiing where the toe and heel of the boot are fixed to the ski.

ANGLE OF ATTACK
The angle used in relation to the fall line when riding across the hill. A shallow angle is mostly across the hill while a steep angle is mostly downhill.

APRÈS SKI
The nightlife following a day of skiing, e.g. shopping, drinking, listening to live music or relaxing in a hot tub.

AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER
A radio transmitter/receiver worn by riders in avalanche terrain to aid rescuers in locating buried avalanche victims.

BACKCOUNTRY
An area used for snow activities away from the groomed runs and lifts of a resort.

BAIL
A metal piece used to fasten hard boots to their bindings.

BASE
The bottom of a snowboard.

BASE
Average depth of snow on the mountain; also the bottom of the mountain where the lodge is located.

BASKET
A round, generally flat, disc located near a ski-pole tip to prevent the pole from sinking too far in the snow.

BEVEL
The process of filing a slight groove into the base or side edge of a board to tune its performance.

BIG AIR
A big jump where you 'catch big air'. Big air contests involve, well, jumping.

BINDINGS
The devices used to attach your feet to the board.

BOARDERCROSS
A snowboard obstacle-course racing competition.

BONING OUT
To straighten one or both legs during a jump for extra style.

BONKING
To hit the tip or tail of your board on an object while in the air.

BOOTING OUT
The act of falling over due while edging to your boots or bindings hanging over the edges of your board.

BOOTS
Worn on your feet to keep them warm and dry. Also used for transfering the movements from your legs to your board.

BOWL SKIING
Skiing on wide bowl-shaped slopes with or without trees.

BRAIN BUCKET
A helmet.

BUMPS
Raised areas in the terrain. Also referred to as moguls.

BUNNY SLOPE
The area of the mountain with a gradual decline, perfect for beginner skiers to be taught basic ski techniques.

CABALLERIAL
Trick jumping 360 degrees and landing in your original stance.

CAMBER
The upper arch built into the base of your board which is most visible when placed on the ground. Used primarily for weight distribution and providing stability.

CAP
The method of board construction where the topsheet of the board extends over the edges.

CARVE
Advanced snowboarding maneuver involving riding on the edge of the board, using the board's sidecut to turn while cutting a thin trail through the snow.

CARVE
The act of digging the ski/snowboard’s edge into packed snow in order to turn.

CATCHING AIR
Jumping with a snowboard is sometimes refered to as 'catching air'.

CATCHING AN EDGE
When the edge of a ski or snowboard accidentally digs into the snow, usually resulting in a fall or a near fall

CHUTE
A narrow strip of snow surrounded by cliffs and rocks.

CIRQUE
A bowl shape or amphitheater usually sculpted out of the mountain terrain by a glacier.

CLIFF-HUCKING
A move done by only experienced skiers and overly ambitious beginners in which the skier jumps off a cliff.

CORDUROY
Mechanically groomed surfaced usually used for practicing new manuevers or carving.

CORN
Snow characterized by its large corn-kernel-sized granules found during the spring.

CORN SNOW
Thawed snow which has refrozen.

CORNICE
Snow packed by wind to form a steep face and overhanging tip.

CRAMPONS
Sharp metal cleats attached to the bottom of boots which aid in climbing ice or hard snow.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
Skiing on flat terrain using self-produced power with no extra help from slopes. There are two recognized cross-country skiing techniques: “skating” and “classic” (or “striding”). Cross-country skiing is more aerobic than alpine skiing and uses lighter weight boots and lighter, narrower skis.

CRUD
A type of snow characterized by an uneven surface, usually encompassing some lumps of soft powder-like snow as well as icy or slippery patches

CRUD
Tracked out powder.

DIN SETTINGS
Deutsche Industrie Normen (DIN) is a scale to ensure ski bindings release under the same force at all skiing destinations worldwide.

DOWNHILL EDGE
The edge of your board which isn't digging into the snow when it is placed across the hill.

DRYSLOPE
Artificial slopes created for snowboarding or skiing.

EDGE ANGLE
The angle at which the board is tilted on its edge.

EDGE CHANGE
The motion of rolling smoothly from one edge to the other during a turn.

EDGES
The sharp and smooth edges of your board made from steel strips.

EPIC
A day characterized by the large amount of powder or other conditions that make it unforgettable and out of the norm.

FACE PLANT
Falling face first into the snow. Usually happens when your toe edge gets caught in the snow.

FALL LINE
The line a ball would follow if rolled down the slope; the quickest route down the mountain.

FIGURE EIGHT
Tandem skiers whose tracks when viewed from above give the illusion of the numerical “eight".

FIGURE ELEVEN
The tracks left by a skier who makes no turns.

FIRST TRACKS
When a skier is the first to ski an area of fresh snow before anyone else; also known as “freshies.”

FLEX
The amount a board can bend as well as where it can bend.

FORWARD LEAN
The angle at which the highback of a soft-boot binding leans towards the toe edge.

FREERIDE
Snowboarding style which involves riding through a variety of terrain, trails and snow conditions.

FREESTYLE
Snowboarding style which involves acrobatic tricks, jumps and spins in specially constructed parks and terrains.

FREESTYLE SKIING
A skiing discipline that incorporates aerial acrobatic techniques into downhill skiing.

GAPER
A skier who stops to enjoy the view from the mountain.

GARLAND
Half or partial turns performed without a change of edge.

GIANT SLALOM
A competition where riders navigate around a series of poles in a set route. The term 'Giant' is used because the events usually have longer turns and higher speeds than normal slalom events.

GONDOLA
A gondola is an enclosed lift suspended from a cable to transport passengers up and down a mountain.

GOOFY
Riding with the right foot as the prefered front foot.

GORTEX
Waterproof fabric usually used in the construction of outer snow clothing.

GRAB
The act of grabbing the edge of your board usually performed as part of an aerial freestyle move. Grabbing your board can be done with either hand and on either edge.

GRADIENT
The measure of the steepness of a slope.

GRASS SKIING
An all-seasons skiing discipline done on grass with specialized equipment.

GROOMED
Snow which has been prepared for riders using snow cats or other machinery.

GROOMED SLOPE
Refers to the slope terrain that has been groomed and is now smooth.

GROUND SCHOOL
The place with a flat or gentle grade slope for beginners to practice key fundamental maneuvers.

HALFPIPE
A U-shapped ramp built in the snow for performing freestyle aerial maneuvers.

HANDPLANT
A handstand on a halfpipe using one or both hands.

HARD-PACKED
A euphemism to describe icy conditions; generally occurs with the lack of new snowfall.

HEADWALL
A steep cliff, usually the uppermost part of a cirque.

HEEL EDGE
The edge of your board under your heel.

HEEL SIDE
A turn made using the heel edge.

HELI-SKIING
A skiing discipline requiring helicopter transportation to the highest slopes and known for providing skiers/boarders with fresh tracks.

HIGHBACK
The back of soft-boot bindings which extend upwards behind your lower legs.

HUCKFEST
A peer-pressure driven session of hucking.

HUCKING
To recklessly launch yourself off huge jumps with little regard for your safety.

ICE
Compacted and frozen snow.

INDIE GRAB
An industry term for grabbing the skis or snowboard under the boot on the outside edge while executing a jump.

INDY
Grabbing the toe edge of the board between the feet using the back hand.

INSERTS
The holes in a snowboard used for attaching or adjusting the position of the bindings.

INVERT
A trick jump where the rider is upside down.

JIB
Sliding on rails or other platforms with the snowboard.

JIB
Or jibbing, any single or combination of tricks on skis or a snowboard, generally done in terrain parks, but not limited to that.

JUMP TURNING
A method of turning by jumping both skis into the air, thus allowing a quicker change of direction; generally used in extreme terrain.

KICK TURN
An about-face turn while stationary, by lifting one ski and reversing its direction, followed by the other ski.

KICKER
The sharply angled end of a jump, allowing a skier or boarder to gain significant height.

LEASH
A strap or cord which is attached to your board at one end and your front foot at the other to prevent your board from sliding away from you.

LIFTIE
A lift operator.

LIP
The top edge of a half- or quarterpipe.

MASHED POTATOES
Wet, heavy snow.

MILK RUN
The first run of the day.

MOGULS
Bumps, mounds and valleys which impede riders.

NASTAR
Citizen racing program with courses at many mountains allowing anyone to participate and to handicap themselves against world-class racing times

NEVER-EVER
Someone who has never skied and signs up for a first-time ski lesson.

NOLLIE
An ollie performed by jumping off the board's nose.

NORDIC SKIING
Nordic Skiing

NOSE
The upturned front end of a snowboard. Also known as the tip.

OFF-PISTE
Areas outside of the marked areas and trails of the snow resort.

OLLIE
A leap into the air on flat land without the benefit of a jump.

OUT-OF-BOUNDS
Terrain outside the boundary of the ski area with no avalanche control or ski patrol; many times these areas are illegal to ski.

PILLOWS
The soft tops of moguls after a fresh powder dump.

PISTE
Marked areas and trails patroled by the snow resort.

PLATE BINDINGS
Bindings for hard boots.

POWDER
Fresh soft snow usually prefered by beginners.

QUAD
A chair lift carrying four people.

QUARTERPIPE
A single wall (as opposed to two walls for the halfpipe) used for freestyle maneuvers.

RAIL SLIDE
A technique performed by sliding skis or a board across a metal or wooden rail, generally done in terrain parks.

REGULAR
Riding with the left foot as the prefered front foot.

ROLLER SKIING
An all-seasons skiing discipline generally performed by cross-country skiers as training in the off-season.

ROPE TOW
The lift more commonly found on bunny hills and some green-rated slopes, but also found reaching difficult terrain. Also known as a surface lift because the skier/snowboarder keeps their skis/snowboard on the snow and holds onto a rope which pulls them up the hill.

SHAPED SKIS
Relatively new and improved skis characterized by some form of an hourglass shape, and designed for easier turning

SIDECUT
The curve cut into the sides of your board which help you to turn.

SIDESLIP
A technique used for sliding or skidding down the hill with the board straight across the fall line by adjusting the angle of edging.

SIDEWALL
The material on the sides of a snowboard used to protect and keep the internal layers in place.

SIX-PACK
Six seated chair lift.

SKATING
The act of moving around on flat surfaces with only the front foot attached to the board by pushing with the free rear foot.

SKETCH
Having your snowboard slide out from beneath you after a turn or jump.

SKI IN, SKI OUT
Lodging on or near the slopes allowing skiers to ski in and out of their accommodations. *Definitions vary by resort and should be carefully checked by a Ski.com agent.

SKIDDING
Moving sideways or forward by working with the edges of your board across the snow to control your speed.

SLALOM
A competition where riders race by turning around gates in a set route.

SLAM
A heavy duty fall caused by catching either your toe or heel edge in the snow.

SNORKELING
When powder runs up the body and blurs a skier’s vision.

SNOW PLOUGH
A braking maneuver whereby skiers move their ski tips to form a triangular shape also referred to as a wedge or pizza.

SNOWBOARDING
Skiing on one “ski” which is wider and shorter, with both feet fixed in a position similar to surfing or skateboarding.

SNURFER
The snowboard's predecessor. Built in the 1960s for snow surfing, they would mark the beginning of snowboard construction and engineering.

SPINAL TAP
The heel edge equivalent of a face plant where you fall hard on your back after catching your heel edge.

STANCE ANGLE
The angle of of your bindings on your snowboard.

STEM CHRISTIE
A basic turn begun with a wedge and completed by skidding on both uphill ski edges until your skis are parallel.

STOMP PAD
A pad placed with an adhesive just in front of the rear foot on the snowboard to provide traction to a free rear foot when skating or gliding off chairlifts.

SWITCH
Performing a trick while riding backwards/fakie.

TAIL
The back end of a snowboard.

TAIL SLIDE
Lifting the nose of the board and sliding on the tail while on the ground.

TELEMARK SKIING
A skiing discipline where the heel of the ski is not fixed and requiring a different technique from alpine skiing.

TERRAIN PARK
A maintained area with a variety of jumps, half-pipes, rails and other obstacles.

TERRAIN PARK
An area specially constructed for freestyle riders to perform their tricks, jumps and spins.

TIP
The upturned front end of a snowboard. Also known as the nose.

TOE EDGE
The edge of your board under your toes.

TOE SIDE
A turn made using the toe edge.

TOPSHEET
The top layer used in the construction of a snowboard.

TRAVERSE
A maneuver for moving diagonally across the fall line.

TRAVERSING
Moving horizontally across a slope so as to lose or gain a minimal amount of elevation.

TWIN TIP
A snowboard with an identical nose/tip and tail usually used by freestyle riders for riding in both directions.

UNWEIGHTING
Taking weight off the ski, usually prior to a turn.

VERTICAL
The vertical sections of the wall of a halfpipe.

VERTICAL DROP
The vertical distance from the top to the bottom of the mountain or slope.

WALL
The transition and vertical sides of a halfpipe.

WAX
Lubricant used for the base of snowboards to allow smoother and faster riding.

WHITEOUT
Limited visibility due to snow, fog or flat light.

WIPE OUT
A spectacular fall.

WORLD CUP
International races for all disciplines including alpine, cross-country, ski jumping, freestyle, snowboarding and more.

X-C
An abbreviation of cross-country skiing.

YARD SALE
A major fall resulting in the skier/snowboarder’s clothes or equipment being strewn all over the hill – mimicking a yard sale.

ZIG ZAG
Traversing across a slope in a “z” formation.




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