Ski Vocabulary: A Few Expressions That You Should Know

Skiing and snowboarding are an obsession for many and have their own specific vocabulary. Here are a few ski and snowboard-related expressions and essential words so you can speak like a pro!

We’re scaling new heights!

To help with orientation and to improve your technique, it’s good to have some understanding of the skiing environment. So we’ll start with the basics: uphill is the part of the mountain above the skier. In contrast, downhill is the part of the slope that the skier is poised to “ride,” or ski down.

Interesting fact: you may be interested in the etymology of the equivalent French terms: “amont” (uphill) incorporates the word “mont” from “montagne,” meaning mountain whereas “aval” (downhill) incorporates “val” from “vallΓ©e,” meaning valley.

Fascinating! What about when you open your shutters in the morning, and can’t tell the difference between the ground and the sky? Everything is white? This is known as a white out ! Remember to take your goggles and reduce your speed of descent, to avoid any mishaps.

 

Get out your “fat” skis, it’s a “powder” day!

This is a phrase that you’ll often hear at the foot of the slopes. The term powder describes an abundance of freshly fallen snow. This type of fresh, dry snow, which may also be called a “dump”, is much loved by skiers and snowboarders. Try it, you’ll love it!

To negotiate powder, it’s best to use a pair of fat skis. These wide skis make it easier to move around on powder and “float” on the surface of the snow.

USEFUL TO KNOW

Skiing and snowboarding off-piste can be dangerous. You need to be in peak physical condition, you need to be accompanied by an expert and have special equipment. An Avalanche beacon (ARVA in French), is also essential.

Wax your skis, sharpen your edges and adjust your bindings

You need to get into good habits when it comes to equipment and maintenance. Sharpening your edges (metal sides of skis or snowboards) properly will provide good grip during your descent. You also need to wax your equipment when it becomes worn.

Wax is a type of coating that is similar to polish. When applied to the base of your skis or snowboard, it improves glide and grip in the snow. It’s a very quick process and can be done in your Decathlon workshop. Just like setting up and adjusting your bindings! With a snowboard and skis that are as good as new, you’re sure to enjoy an exceptional riding session.

Vocabulary for the slopes: a few expressions that you should know

“He’s performed a “grab” exiting the “half-pipe”!

The terrain park is probably the place where you’ll come across most technical terms. A haven for Freestylers, the park generally comprises several different elements.

The big air is the ultimate launch pad. The steel rails allow you to grind or slide (balanced sliding) for a few metres. The U-shape corridor is called the half-pipe. It allows you to gain enough momentum to perform a range of tricks, for example:

  • the grab: you grasp your skis or snowboard mid-jump!
  • the 180, 360, 720… : you do a half-spin, full spin or double spin, while jumping in the air. Easy!
  • the flip: you perform a somersault forwards or backwards

As you will have realised, tricks are not for everyone… But whether you’re snow ploughing, schussing, performing fakies or switches (skiing backwards), the important thing is to enjoy yourself on the slopes, and adapt your activities to suit your level.

Happy sliding!


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