The proper name for the sport of Downhill Skiing; where participants use gravity to descend the slopes, as opposed to climbing up them or propelling themselves along over flat courses.
A sharp ridge separating two glacial valleys or cirques.
1. The main access point and ski-lifts departure point for a particular ski area; ideally next to the resort village itself.
2. The lower terminal building of a [major] ski lift.
The main services building at a base station.
Curved banks of snow/earth constructed at the sides of a piste (usually forming part of a Skier/BoarderCross course); sculpted into a convex profile, similar to the turns on a bobsleigh course, to facilitate fast sweeping turns on tight bends.
A gondola-style aerial ski lift in which passengers stand in small open cabins; also called a Télébenne in Europe.
A ‘surface’ ski lift which consists of a series of poles hanging from a suspended haul cable; the base of each pole is fitted with a circular disc which passengers place between their legs.
A form of skis that are much wider at the tips (front end) and tails (rear end), allowing for more exaggerated wide sweeping turns on the piste.
A semi-circular arc of steep peaks surrounding the head of a high-altitude valley; a product of glacial erosion.
A steep and usually narrow gully, sometimes called a chute.
The fastest type of chairlift: designed to disconnect each chair from the main high-speed haul cable when passing through the lift terminals in order to facilitate easier mount/dismount.
Generic name for all types of ‘surface’ ski lifts that pull passengers uphill whilst they remain in a standing position and in contact with the ground.
Fédération Internationale de Ski (International Ski Federation)
The governing body of snowsports, which sets rules and regulations for piste safety and for international competitions.
The act of using all accessible slopes and off-piste terrain to ski/ride wherever and however the (usually extreme) terrain allows.
A type of mountain railway, usually steeply inclined.
An aerial ski lift in which passengers ride inside small cabins. Also called Télécabines and Telecabinas in Europe; the smallest versions are also known as Bubble Lifts.
A specially constructed, semi-circular, large pisted trough; designed to allow users to ride up its high side-walls in order to perform tricks.
Naturally-occurring and/or constructed ramps of snow which provide a launch point for skiers/riders to jump off.
The correct term for cross-country/Nordic skiing; whereby skiers propel themselves in a walking/running or skating motion. Langlauf skis are longer and narrower than Alpine-style skis.
Trade name for a surface-based conveyor-belt ski lift.
Mogul (mogul field)
Bump (series of bumps) formed when heavy use of a slope has left the surface deeply rutted; advanced skiers relish the challenge of these obstacles.
A single large ski with boot bindings fixed parallel and close together.
See Langlauf above.
A gentle, pisted slope designated as a beginners' area.
All terrain away from the prepared ski slopes.
A prepared way-marked slope/trail, where the snow has been compressed and its surface groomed to make it easier to ski on.
Pistes are graded by difficulty rating and are colour-coded to denote each grade. European system gradings:
Green = easiest;
Blue = slightly more challenging but still relatively easy;
Red = difficult slopes requiring technical ability from users;
Black = the most difficult pistes reserved for expert users.
A large tracked vehicle, equiped with a snowplough and a wide rake; used by ski area maintenance workers to groom the surface of the pistes.
A basic surface ski lift consisting of a simple loop of rope; users just grab the rope to be pulled along; usually installed at flat and/or gently inclined sections.
Onomatopoeic term for skiing [fast] straight down a slope.
A small tracked vehicle, fitted with steerable skis; resembling a motorbike/jetski.
The generic term for an organisation which provides snowsports tuition/instruction.
A course consisting of a series of pole/gates spaced out down a slope; a timed race held over such a course.
A specially designated area with features such as halfpipes, kickers and obstacles (‘modules’) constructed from snow and/or metal/wood/plastic/rubber.
Also known as a Terrain Park.
Specialised form of footwear which spreads the wearer's weight over a greater surface area, making it easier to walk over deep snow.
A traditional form of classic Alpine skiing in which the skier's foot is secured to the ski binding at the toe-end only, requiring the skier to flex their ankle & knee in order to effect turns (aka ‘Free-Heeling’).