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Hit the slopes armed with the coolest ski lingo that’ll make the mountain your second home!

Whether you’re shredding fresh powder or chilling at après-ski, mastering these 30 key terms will turn your ski-speak from bunny hill basic to peak perfection.

Ready to talk the talk of the trails?

Let’s slide into it.

Must-Know Skiing Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. Alpine skiing
  2. Après-ski
  3. Black diamond
  4. Carving
  5. Downhill
  6. Edge
  7. Freestyle
  8. Gondola
  9. Mogul
  10. Nordic skiing
  11. Piste
  12. Powder
  13. Slalom
  14. Snowplow
  15. Telemark
  16. Traverse
  17. Chairlift
  18. Fall line
  19. Groomed trail
  20. Off-piste
  21. Schuss
  22. Ski poles
  23. T-bar lift
  24. Yard sale
  25. Base layer
  26. Binding
  27. Ski wax
  28. Ski boots
  29. Ski lift
  30. Snow cannon

#1 Alpine Skiing

A type of skiing that entails descending on snow-covered hills and mountains with fixed-heel bindings. Alpine skiing is synonymous with downhill skiing and is one of the most popular forms of the sport.

#2 Après-ski

A French term meaning “after ski,” which refers to the social activities and entertainment following a day of skiing. Après-ski often includes enjoying food, drinks, music, and relaxation after a day on the slopes.

#3 Black Diamond

A designation for ski slope difficulty indicating an expert-level trail with steep gradients and varied terrain. Black diamond runs are typically for advanced skiers who can handle challenging conditions.

#4 Carving

A technique where skiers make clean, long, and smooth turns by tilting the skis on their edges and bending them into an arc. Carving is known for providing precision and stability at high speeds.

#5 Downhill

A discipline of alpine skiing focused on the fastest straight descent down a slope, with minimal regard for gate markers. It requires skiers to have a high level of skill and courage due to the speed and risk involved.

#6 Edge

The sharpened metal strip running along the sides of skis and snowboards, providing grip and control on snow. Skiers use their edges to steer and stabilize while turning and stopping.

#7 Freestyle

A discipline of skiing that involves tricks, jumps, and terrain park features such as rails, boxes, and half-pipes. Freestyle skiing includes events like moguls, aerials, halfpipe, and slopestyle, focusing on athletes’ ability to perform acrobatic maneuvers.

#8 Gondola

A type of aerial lift used to transport skiers and snowboarders up mountains. Gondolas consist of enclosed cabins that hang from a continuously circulating cable, offering a comfortable ride shielded from the elements.

#9 Mogul

Knolls of compacted snow scattered across a ski slope, making for a bumpy ride. Skiers navigate through moguls by making quick turns, which requires good technique and can be quite challenging even for experienced skiers.

#10 Nordic skiing

A type of skiing where the heel of the boot is not fixed to the ski, allowing for a more natural walking or gliding motion. It includes disciplines like cross-country skiing and ski jumping and emphasizes endurance over speed.

#11 Piste

A marked ski run or trail that’s been prepared, compacted, or groomed by a snowcat. Pistes vary in difficulty, and their condition plays a critical role in providing a safe and enjoyable skiing experience.

#12 Powder

Fresh, soft, and fluffy snow that hasn’t been compacted. Powder is often sought after by skiers for its cushioning effect and the sensation of floating it provides. It requires adjustments in technique to ski effectively.

#13 Slalom

A skiing discipline that involves navigating a quick, winding path down a slope marked by tightly spaced poles or gates. Slalom skiing tests precision and agility, and it’s both a recreational activity and a competitive sport.

#14 Snowplow

A beginner skiing technique where the skis are positioned in a V-shape with the tips close together and the tails wide apart, used to slow down or stop. This technique is often taught to first-time skiers as a way to maintain control.

#15 Telemark

A style of skiing named after the Telemark region in Norway, where it originated. It’s characterized by a distinctive turn where the skier leads with one ski and lunges forward, with the rear heel lifted off the ski, differentiating it from alpine skiing where the heels remain fixed

#16 Traverse

A skiing technique used to move horizontally across a slope rather than directly downhill. Skiers use the traverse to control speed, navigate to a specific area of the mountain, or approach a downhill line more strategically.

#17 Chairlift

A transportation system found at ski resorts, consisting of a series of chairs suspended from a continuously circulating cable, designed to carry skiers up the mountain. It simplifies mountain ascent, providing easy access to higher slopes.

#18 Fall Line

The most direct line down a mountain slope, following the natural pull of gravity. Skiers reference the fall line to choose the quickest and often the steepest path down the terrain.

#19 Groomed Trail

A ski run that has been packed down and smoothed by a machine known as a snowcat. Groomed trails provide a more predictable and easier-to-ski surface, ideal for intermediate skiers.

#20 Off-Piste

Refers to skiing in the backcountry or on unmarked and unpatrolled areas outside of the groomed trails. Off-piste skiing is favoured by those seeking adventure and fresh, untouched snow but comes with increased risks.

#21 Schuss

A straight downhill run in skiing without turning, allowing for maximum speed. It’s a term often used to describe a fast, direct descent, showing off a skier’s ability to control speed and balance.

#22 Ski Poles

Long slender poles made from aluminum or composite materials, used by skiers for balance and propulsion. Ski poles assist in maintaining rhythm during turns and can help propel skiers across flat terrain.

#23 T-bar Lift

A type of surface lift that pulls skiers and snowboarders uphill while they remain standing on their skis or boards. It consists of a series of T-shaped bars suspended from an overhead cable, each bar accommodating two riders side by side.

#24 Yard Sale

A humorous term describing a skier’s fall where equipment—like skis, poles, hats, goggles—gets scattered across the slope, resembling items laid out at a yard sale. It highlights the often chaotic nature of a substantial wipeout.

#25 Base Layer

The clothing worn directly against the skin, designed to keep a skier warm and dry. Base layers are typically made of moisture-wicking materials to maintain body temperature in cold conditions.

#26 Binding

The mechanism on the ski that securely attaches the ski boot to the ski. Bindings are critical for safety, as they’re designed to release the boot to minimize injury during a fall.

#27 Ski Wax

A substance applied to the bottom of skis to reduce friction with the snow, improving glide and speed. Waxing is considered both an art and a science by avid skiers for optimal performance.

#28 Ski Boots

Specially designed footwear that attaches to skis via bindings. They provide the necessary support and transfer the skier’s movements to the skis, and come in various styles for different skiing activities.

#29 Ski Lift

A transportation system used to carry skiers up a mountain. Types of ski lifts include chairlifts, gondolas, and T-bars, each designed to get skiers to their desired slopes efficiently.

#30 Snow Cannon

Also known as a snow gun, a snow cannon is a device that produces artificial snow by combining water and compressed air. These are used in ski resorts to supplement natural snow and extend the skiing season, especially during periods of low snowfall.



What are some Skiing terms for beginners?

“Snowplow,” “Pizza,” and “Piste” are some Skiing terms beginners should start with. These terms help understand control techniques and the surface being skied on.

What are some funny Skiing terms?

“Yard sale” and “Après-ski” are some funny Skiing terms. They humorously refer to a dramatic fall and social activities after a day of skiing, respectively.

What is a famous Skiing phrase?

“Shred the gnar,” is a famous Skiing phrase, used to describe the act of skiing with exceptional skill, often on difficult terrain, and embodies the passion and enthusiasm of the skiing community.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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