ski terminology explained

Our ultimate guide to ski and snow board lingo

Ski lifts and slopes

What is a Magic Carpet? This is similar to a travelator in many ways and is found on nursery slopes. The user shuffles on to the carpet with their skis on as it carries them slowly up the hill.

What is a button lift/drag lift? A button lift is made from metal poles with ‘buttons’ which are attached to a cable above. The skier needs to put the button between their legs and lean slightly without sitting down to get pulled up the slope.

What is a cable car / bubble lift / telecabin? – Larger lift that has cabins attached to a cable. It involves taking off your skis and smaller cabins may have seating, in larger ones you are more likely to stand.

What are the ski slope colour ratings? – Green is for beginners, blue is beginner to lower intermediate, red is intermediate to more advanced and black is for expert.

What is alpine skiing? This is pretty much downhill skiing. There are further categories like freestyle, telemark but most people start with alpine.

What is the fall line? This is down the hill, the direction gravity would take you directly down the slope.

What are moguls? These are also called bumps and there’s a clue in the name. They can be tricky to ski and are lots of bumps that have been formed in the snow by the  ski trafic (unless made artifically)

What is schussing? This is skiing straight downhill.

What is carving? Creating beautifully formed S turns down the mountain.

What is a couloire? This is a narrow corridor or slim bowl.

What is flat light? When the light conditions make it hard to see any differences on the terrain. Goggles may help slightly if they are the correct colour.

What is a white-out? When you can barely see in front of your nose due to weather conditions low visibility.

What is apres ski? It’s literally French for after skiing. The bit when you have done your skiing and are having a few wind down drinks which may often also lead to full on partying.

Ski equipment

What are ski bindings?  These are attached to your skis and hold your boots onto your skis. They are designed to come off if you fall.

What is a DIN setting? A ski technician in a hire shop will ask you for your weight when they are getting your skis ready and this is for setting the bindings. The number is worked out by your weight, height and ability and aims to make sure your bindings are right for you and will release correctly.

What is flex rating? Amount of flexibility in boots which in turn relates to your ability and amount of control.

What does rocker mean? This is to do with the camber of the ski and the contact areas from tip to end.

Food and drink

What is Raclette? Cheese melting over a flame on a wire contraption.

What is Tartiflette? Potato, bacon and cheese carb booster.

What is Rosti? Grated cheese and onion fried in a patty shape.

What is Gnnochi? Potato dumplings.

What is Genepe? Herbal, alpine throat burner liquor.

What is Vin Chaude (France) Vin brule (Italy) Gluhwien (Austria)? Spiced hot wine called mulled wine in UK.

What is Stroh? Extremely strong Austrian rum often set alight on top of the table.

What is Jagermeister? Herbal liquor.

What is a Bombardino? A sticky sweet delicious blend of cream, cinnamon, egg nog and brandy.

What is Aperol Spritzer? It’s unique colour makes it instantly recognisable. Refreshing mix of prosecco, Aperol and soda.