My Ski Slang Dictionary: Lucy Pierce

There's a whole lot of niche phrases that get thrown around on chairlifts and in parks on the mountains. To help you get your head around the lingo, here are some useful definitions.

Après-ski: The only place to be between 4 and 6pm, where alcohol is flowing and dancing on tables in ski boots is compulsory.

Backcountry: Off-piste skiing

Bail: Essentially, an embarrassing fall! For example "Wow that was an epic bail!"

Bomb it down: To ski fast down a slope, sometimes considered to be out of control

Box: A flat feature in the park, which is very painful to land on

Bro: An endearing term for any mate – male or female. Also, a brand of hats

Buff: Protects your face from snow, wind and sun

Can’t: There’s no such thing.

Carve: Using the edges of your skis or board to turn

Freestyle © Pexels/pixabay

Freestyle © Pexels/pixabay

Dump: A large snowfall. "It’s dumping" means it’s snowing!

Double Ejection: Popping out of both skis because you fell so spectacularly

Faceplant: When you fall over, flat on your face! Usually after a double ejection

Freeride: The art where professional off-piste skiers launch themselves off cliffs, weave through trees and splash through powder

Freestyle: Professional skiers and snowboarders in the park doing tricks off kickers and features such as rails, boxes and half-pipes

French Fries: A term to help people to learn to ski parallel.

Fresher: A first year and amateur drinker

Freshies: fresh snow / lines

Gaper: A novice who has no idea what they’re doing, usually dressed badly

Gaper Day: When you dress up like a gaper!


Gaper Day! ©kcxd

Gaper Day! ©kcxd

GET NAKED: A chant often thrown around by uni students

Gnar/gnarly: Uber cool, created by the legendary Shane McConkey

Jib: Riding your skis/board across a feature in the park, or anywhere that isn’t snow!

Kicker: A large jump you’ll find in the park

Knee deep in pow: When you're skiing off-piste and the fresh snow comes up to your knees

Lines: Skiing in untouched snow and making a line from the path you made

Line-S: The only snow-related content you need this winter!

Magic Carpet: The conveyor belt on green runs which is useful for beginners

Moguls: Lumps of snow or ice that some love, others hate, usually found on un-pisted black runs and only recommended for the more experienced skiers.

Park Rat: Someone who spends all day in the park or practising tricks.

Planks: Skis. Also a brand of skiwear.

Pow: Powder snow

Powder Hound: Someone who’s addicted to fresh powder and off-piste skiing


Knee deep in pow! ©arvarga

Knee deep in pow! ©arvarga

Rad: Abbreviation of radical

Rail: A feature in the park which you can (try to) slide along

Riding: Another way to describe skiing or boarding

Schuss: When the ski run has a flat part where you will need enough steam to get along it! E.g. "You've got to schuss this bit Margaret!"

Seasonnaire: Someone who lives and works in a ski resort, also known by their more derogatory term...

Ski Bum: Someone who spends season after season in the mountains skiing

Shocker: When you’re too hungover to ski

Shred: To ski or board e.g. 'shred the pow' means skiing fresh snow.

Slush: When the snow melts in the afternoon at Easter time.

Snow plough: Also known as pizza, a beginners technique for slowing down



Steezy: A combo of style and ease, someone that is clearly good at skiing.

Stomped it: When someone lands a trick and absolutely nails it

Straight-line it: To ski downhill and not turn at all

Sick: No, not vomit. An expression of coolness.

Switch: Skiing backwards (riding switch) 

Tall tee: A t-shirt designed for park rats which is extra large and extra long!

Twin tips: A popular type of skis that have a turned up tip and tail, making it possible to ski backwards as well as forwards

Valley Rally: A ski competition you absolutely cannot miss or lose.

Whiteout: Poor visibility due to snowfall

Wipe out: To fall over spectacularly, usually double ejecting in the process