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Chill Factore’s Definitive Guide to Ski & Snowboarding Terminology

Ever been on the slopes and heard some crazy skiing terms being thrown around that you’ve never come across before? We’ve all been there. That’s why we put together this handy guide of skiing terminology – a dictionary of snow sports, if you will – so you can hit the snow without the fear of being caught out.

So, sit yourself down, grab a cold drink and get swotting up. There’ll be a test at the end. (Just kidding)

Want to skip the revising and hit the slopes?

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Popular skiing terms and snowboarding language


Aerials: Freestyle ski jumping involving flipping in the air.

Alpine Skiing: Downhill as opposed to Nordic skiing or Telemark skiing.

Apres-Ski: Time spent in the bar after a day of skiing.

Artificial Snow: Man-made snow. Not as fine as real snow.

Air-to-Fakie: This is a half pipe trick where you approach the wall riding forward, no rotation is made in the air, and you land riding backwards.


Baseplate: A very important part of your bindings. The baseplate sits at the bottom of your bindings in contact with the ski/snowboard and transfers all of your movement into the ski or board.

Backside: This term originates in surfing and refers to riding the waves in a certain way. In snowboarding, it describes your direction of rotation when the rider spins clockwise in the air and their left foot is facing down the hill.

Biathlon: A cross country race that combines skiing and rifle shooting.

Binding: The thing that connects your boot to your ski or snowboard. The bindings on skis are designed to release the boot in the case of a fall. Snowboard bindings don't auto release.

Black Run: Advanced level ski slope for good skiers and snowboarders.

Blindside: This is an advanced rotation where vision is impaired during during takeoff or landing and you must stretch to look over your shoulder.

Blue Run: A gentle slope suitable for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Recommended after taking a Beginner Lesson

Button Lift: A ski lift with a round plastic disc at the end of a long pole. The disc is placed between the legs and gently pulls skiers and boarders up the slopes.


Cable Car: A large aerial lift that transports skiers and snowboarders up the slopes.

Carving: Turns where the edges of the skis or snowboard are used.

Carving Skis: Narrower skis designed for tight, clean turns.

Chair Lift: An aerial ski lift that you sit on and rest your skis or snowboard on a bar.

Crevasse: A deep and sometimes hidden crack in a glacier.

Cross-country skiing: A discipline using narrow skis along flat tracks and gentle hills rather than ski slopes.

Cork: This is an off-axis spin where the rider’s head dips below the relative position of the board.


DIN Settings: Deutsche Industrie Normen in German, this is the tension release setting that determines at what pressure your binding releases the boot on a fall.

Drag Lift: A lift that simply pulls you up the slope as you stand on your skis or snowboard.

Downhill Edge: The edge of the ski that is on the downhill side as your are traverseing the mountain.

Downhill Ski: The ski that is on the downhill side as you traverse the slope. 

Ding: Something which is unavoidable on difficult terrain. This is a scratch or gouge in the base of the board which can occur if you ride over a rock or hit a hard chunk of ice.


Edge: Used for control whilst turning, this is the metal strip on the edge of the ski or snowboard.

Equipment: Refers to your skis, snowboard, boots and ski-poles. 


Fakie: Skiing or snowboarding backwards.

FIS: Stands for Federation Internationale de Ski, the international organization of ski sports.

Freestyle: A style of skiing or snowboarding that focuses on jumps, tricks and aerials. Interested, click here to find out much more.


Gate: A flag or pole in the snow marking a racing area. To learn everything you need to know about racing, click here

Goggles: Worn to protect your eyes against sun, wind and glare.

Gondola: An aerial lift that is enclosed and generally faster than an open chairlift. 

Grab: Grabbing hold of any part of your skis or snowboard whilst doing tricks and jumps. The most basic of all aerial stunts, want to know more?

Grooming: Where large piste basher machines flatten and smooth the snow on the slopes. Usually done throughout the night in most ski resorts. 


Halfpipe: A U-shaped channel with smooth walls used by freestyle skiers and snowboarders for aerial tricks.

Hard Pack: Snow that has been compressed down as far as it will go, making it hard packed. 

Heliskiing: Getting a lift from a helicopter to off-piste areas that are otherwise inaccessible, in order to ski on fresh powder snow.


Ice: When the snow on the slopes becomes like ice as it hasn't snowed for a while.

Indy Grab: The most basic snowboarding grab, this is where you grab the toe edge of the snowboard with your rear hand whilst in the air. Want to learn for yourself, click here

Inside Edge: The ski that is on the inside of a turn.


Jib: Snowboard or ski across a non-snow surface like a rail or box. Learn the art of the "Jib" and other freestyle tricks.


Kicker: A small, triangular shaped jump usually made of snow. We use these on our main slope, find out more


Lift Pass: A lift pass is a ticket that allows you to use the ski lifts. Book your Lift Pass now to have access to the slopes


Method Air: With both knees bent and the heels rising towards your back, the front hand grabs the heel edge and the board is pulled to level of the head.

Moguls: Moguls are bumps set out on a slope - usually found on black runs and used by advanced skiers. Have a look for yourself up close here

Monoski: A type of ski with both boots attached to a single ski.

Mute Grab: Whilst in the air, grabbing the toe edge of the snowboard between the bindings with your front hand. Learn all about the tricks that you can pick up here


Nordic Combined: A race that combines country skiing and ski jumping.

Nordic Skiing: See cross-country skiing.

Nose Bonk: To intentionally hit and rebound off of a natural or manmade object with the nose of the board.


Off-Piste: A snowy area away from the marked ski slopes. Popular with freestyles and people that enjoy powder snow.

Ollie: A jump or hop on skis or snowboard that can be done on the flat. A fundamental trick that we teach in out Freestyle Lessons

Outside Ski: The ski on the outside of a turn.


Packed Powder: The perfect ski conditions where new snow has been groomed or ridden over to pack it down.

Piste: The French word for "ski slope".

Piste Basher: A tracked vehicle used for grooming ski slopes to even out the snow and prepare the slopes for skiers.

Powder: Fresh snow that hasn't been packed down. Found off-piste or just after a heavy snowfall. 


Rail: A metal bar found on snow parks built to be used by freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

Red Run: Intermediate level slope. Great for our Improver Level courses

Rope Lift: Usually found in beginner ski areas, this is a lift where you hold onto a slow moving rope and it gently pulls you up the slope.


Salopettes/Ski Pants: Warm, waterproof trousers designed for snow sports. Take a look at all of out Clothing options here

Schussing: Skiing straight downhill without turning.

Ski Area: The area of the mountain designated for skiers. Usually marked by flags or ropes at the edges of the slopes.

Slalom: A downhill ski race between tightly spaced gates that must be passed through with short, quick turns. To see more about Slaloms at Chill Factore, click here

Slope: A slope is an area of snowy hill that is designated for skiers/snowboarders.

Slush: Wet snow, snow that is melting.

Snow Canon/Snow Machine: Machines on the slope that turn water into artificial snow.

Snow Park: An area built especially for freestyle skiers and snowboarders, filled with jumps, rails, boxes etc.

Snowplough: A beginners technique where the skis are held in a 'V' formation with the tips almost touching. It allows for slowing down and turning.


T-Bar: There are two types of T-bar lifts - singles and doubles. Each are a T bar suspended from a moving line. With a single T-Bar lift, the bar goes between our legs and pulls you up the slopes. The double is shared with a friend and one half of the T goes behind your bottom.

Telemark Skiing: This is a combination of downhill and cross-country skiing. The skis have detached heels, but are still wide enough to handle going fast and making sharp turns. To learn all about this type of skiing have a look at our unique Telemark Sessions

Tips: The front end of the skis.

Travelator/Magic Carpet: A conveyor-belt like lift where you stand on the lift and it carries you to the top of the slope. Usually found on beginner slopes and children's areas.

Traverse: Skiing across a slope in a zigzag pattern rather than straight down.


Uphill Edge: The edge of the ski that is on the uphill side when traversing the slope.

Uphill Ski: The ski that is on the uphill side as your traverse the slope.


Wax: Used on the underside of skis and snowboards to help them glide smoothly over the snow.

White Out: When visibility drops to almost nothing; caused by heavy snowfall, fog, or a combination of the two.

Feeling fully prepped for the slopes? Get a lift pass today with your friends and put your boosted knowledge of skiing terms into practice. Chill Factore is open 7 days a week, so there’s plenty of opportunity to brush up on your skills and enjoy your time on the slopes.