If you’re going on your first-ever skiing trip soon, there’s no doubt you will have been busy watching skiing videos and buying all your gear. But, before you set off, familiarizing yourself with basic skiing terminology will help you get to grips with everything much quicker when you’re there. So, whether you’re snowboarding or skiing, below are a few basic phrases you’re likely to hear during your vacation:
Piste/Run: These are the dedicated snow paths where you’ll be skiing or snowboarding. The paths are prepared by piste machines (called snowcats/piste bashers) which flatten and compact the snow. These pistes are graded by their difficulty; in most countries green is the easiest while black is the most difficult.
Off-piste: These areas are not maintained or patrolled. Generally speaking, only advanced skiers go off-piste and they do so at their own risk.
Lifts: The resort lifts will take you from the bottom to the top of a piste. The main types are drag/button lifts (which drag the skier up the slope), chair lifts (used for further distances), or a cable car (which typically take skiers up high-gradient mountains). Most resorts will require you to buy passes for the lifts.
Run out: A flat bit of snow, typically found at the bottom of a piste.
Fall line: This is the imaginary line that indicates the steepest (and therefore quickest) part of the slope.
Snow park: At the resort you may come across a snow park, which is a specifically-built area that contains rails, jumps, boxes and half-pipes. Snow parks are generally for freestyle skiers and boarders.
Heli-skiing: This is where more advanced skiers are taken to off-piste locations by helicopter.
AprÃ¨s-ski: The aprÃ¨s-ski is the activities and entertainments following a day skiing or snowboarding.
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