or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Say what?... Skiing jargon [A Beginner Zone thread]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Say what?... Skiing jargon [A Beginner Zone thread]

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 

Something that can be intimidating for many new skiers and riders is the introduction to a whole new world of language associated with skiing. Some terms are "official" terms, and others are slang terms that skiers use. For many new skiers, they pick up on some terms, while others they don't quite understand. It can be embarrassing to admit you don't understand things sometimes, so many beginners just nod and pretend they know, while suffering in silence and trying to figure out what the term means from context clues. 

 

Well, let's do our best to clarify any terms that may be unclear or confusing. I'm going to start in the next post with a couple terms that have been brought up that multiple new skiers have expressed they didn't initially understand. 

 

But most importantly, this is a place for anyone to ask for clarification on a term they've heard but don't understand. There won't be any judgement, just a best effort to explain. 

post #2 of 109
Thread Starter 

Fall line- You'll hear this term a lot, especially in lessons. The fall line is the path gravity would pull you in, without any other force acting on you. Typically a line pointing down the hill (but not always exactly). 

 

Double fall line- This is where the fall line gets tricky. A double fall line is when the path gravity would take you doesn't point straight down the trail you're on. So we call it a "double" fall line, because your eyes tell you there is one fall line, the direction the trail is headed, and gravity tells you there is another one, the slope of the hill. It's easiest to see this with really steep trails, but it can happen on any trail. Below is a picture of Goat at Stowe. You can see that the trail heads straight down, but the slope of the hill is going diagonally from right to left. 

 

 

Inside/Outside- These seem like simple, every day terms, but they can get a little complex when you're on skis. Why? Because it can mean a couple different specific things, depending upon context. It can refer to your skis during a turn. The inside ski is the one closer to the middle of the turn, the outside ski is the one further away. Its easiest to see if you look at ski tracks in a turn. 

 

Then there are inside edges and outside edges. On your skis, the inside edges are the ones closes to the center of your body, and are the ones your big toe is over. Outside edges are the ones your little toe is standing over. 

post #3 of 109

Can someone explain: edging vs tilting?  Do these 2 mean the same thing?  Are they interchangeable? 

 

If not:

1) Is edging referring to your skis?

vs

2) tilting - refers to tilting your knees?

When someone says "edge-able", does it mean your skis can cut into packed snow and grab onto it?  

 

Some pictures can help....  

post #4 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

Can someone explain: edging vs tilting?  Do these 2 mean the same thing?  Are they interchangeable? 

 

If not:

1) Is edging referring to your skis?

vs

2) tilting - refers to tilting your knees?

When someone says "edge-able", does it mean your skis can cut into packed snow and grab onto it?  

 

Some pictures can help....  

 

  • To me, "edging" is anything that you can do to get your skis' edges into the snow.  There are a lot of ways to get your ski's edges into the snow; some are better / more efficient then others.
  • "edgeable snow" is snow that your skis can grip.  The better you are at skiing, the more types of snow you'll find to be edgeable.  Most skiers find ice to be unedgeable, soft snow is very edgeable.
  • "tilting".  I haven't heard this one before...  Can you provide the context in which you heard it?  I can think of various things "tilting" could mean, but I'd rather not guess.
post #5 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a run that looks like this would be called:

gnarly

spicy

bony (or boney)

puckery

high sphincter factor

light cover

post #6 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 
  • "tilting".  I haven't heard this one before...  Can you provide the context in which you heard it?  I can think of various things "tilting" could mean, but I'd rather not guess.

Thanks @KevinF for your explanation.  I understand better now from your 1st 2 bullet points.

 

Tilting - instructors would say: "tilt your skis; in order to do this (xyz), you need to tilt your skis."  My interpretation (from trying out) is, in order to tilt the skis, I will to "tilt" my knees first.  Does that make sense?  

 

F/U question about efficiency:  "There are a lot of ways to get your ski's edges into the snow; some are better / more efficient then others."

 

What is the efficient way to edge into snow?

 

What is not the efficient way to edge into snow?  

 

Again, pictures can help.  

post #7 of 109

Nice thread, Mike! 

post #8 of 109

@fosphenytoin I think that the word you are asking about is "tipping"  perhaps your instructors used "tilting" as a synonym to get the point across.

 

Tipping is something we do with our skis.  When they are flat on the snow the edges are not engaged, when we tip them we do tilt them over so that the edges are engaged.

 

If we tip both skis to the right we engage both right edges, which will cause the skis to turn to the right.

 

If we tip the right ski to the left and the left ski to the right we are in a wedge.  Normally this is called tipping to the inside edges.

post #9 of 109

So "tipping" and "edging" are essentially referring to the same thing?  

post #10 of 109

We tip the skis to put them on edge.  To engage the edges.  One is the cause the other is the result.  But yes I can see you point that they kind of are the same thing.

post #11 of 109

Fore and Aft

 

You will often hear people talking about fore and aft balance.  

 

Being aft is often called being in the "backseat."   It means being towards the back.

 

When you are aft you will feel the pressure on the heels of your feet.


Being fore means being forward or literally towards the front.

 

You will feel the pressure on the balls of your feet.

 

As skiing is a dynamic sport your fore/aft balance will change as you ski, but in general you don't want to be aft.

post #12 of 109
Quote:

Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

What is the efficient way to edge into snow?

 

What is not the efficient way to edge into snow?  

 

With skiing, you will find that the answer to technique questions is generally "it depends"..

 

The complete answers to your questions could fill a book and I don't want to derail the purpose of the thread.  So I'll leave it at "efficient" movements generally start at the foot (ankle) and work up the chain from there.  You spoke of tipping your knees, I think about tipping my ankles (feet).  The feet move, the knees go with them and eventually take the hips as well.

 

If you're standing up...  tip your feet onto their left sides.  Your knees will move.  If you have a table or something to lean against, and you keep tipping your ankles, your hips will start to move as well.  Conversely, you can make all kinds of wild gyrations with your knees and hips and your feet won't necessarily move any appreciable amount.

 

Efficiency...  Small movements started at the right place (da feet!) can cause big changes farther up.  The reverse (inefficiency) does not hold true.

post #13 of 109

"quiver" -  I see this word comes up a lot, assume it refers to skis....

 

question: why do you use this word to refer to skis?  

post #14 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

"quiver" -  I see this word comes up a lot, assume it refers to skis....

 

question: why do you use this word to refer to skis?  

 

A quiver of skis is owning more then one pair.  The correct number of skis to own is N+!, where "N" is however many you currently own.  :D

 

Again, without going into too much detail, different ski designs work best in different conditions.  Skis optimized for cruising groomed runs can be less then ideal in deep snow conditions.  The converse also holds true.  Skiers who get out a lot like to have more then one pair so that you can match your skis to the prevailing conditions.

post #15 of 109

That photo of "Goat" at Stowe is a wonderful example of how trail skiing can differ from east to west.  Goat is NARROW, as are many blues and blacks in eastern skiing.  The steepness may not be all that terrifying to, for example, an intermediate skier like me, but the narrowness is downright frightening - not enough room to use turns to control velocity.  In my case, should I find myself there with no way out, I'd be throwing my skis left and right and burning my legs to cinders to get down. 

post #16 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

 

So a run that looks like this would be called:

gnarly

spicy

bony (or boney)

puckery

high sphincter factor

light cover

 

Actually, the trail that @freeski919 posted a picture of to show off a "double fall line" rarely looks that good.  I'd call those conditions sweet, at least for that particular trail.

 

Thin cover / boney / etc. are relative terms...  Some trails are just naturally very rocky under the snow and a tremendous amount of snow is required to fully cover the underlying rocks, tree stumps, etc.  Great conditions for those trails involves maneuvering around the exposed rocks; it's part of the fun; part of the challenge.

 

Other trails are fairly "clean" underneath and if anything is visible poking through the snow cover..  Well, it's getting a little thin.

 

Which is which?  Hang out at any ski area long enough and you'll learn what's "sweet" and what's "thin cover".

post #17 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

 

  • To me, "edging" is anything that you can do to get your skis' edges into the snow.  There are a lot of ways to get your ski's edges into the snow; some are better / more efficient then others.
  • "edgeable snow" is snow that your skis can grip.  The better you are at skiing, the more types of snow you'll find to be edgeable.  Most skiers find ice to be unedgeable, soft snow is very edgeable.
  • "tilting".  I haven't heard this one before...  Can you provide the context in which you heard it?  I can think of various things "tilting" could mean, but I'd rather not guess.


KevinF,

 

I like the notion of this thread and the questions/answers so far.  I am coming at your comment from the perspective of a skier who came to it late, skied 3 - 6 days a year for half the years (the beginning ones) I've skied, and have never put skis to snow more than 21 days in a season (that's my record).  Oh, and I'm not  young except to people who say stuff like "Sixty is the new fifty".    That said, I have some small additions/contributions to make to your excellent comments that may (or may not) be more "beginerish".  I am open to criticism.

 

- edging is anything that allows me to make my edges useful when trying to control my skiing.  I would sincerely enjoy a discussion of methods more and less efficient.  I once took a lesson on ice that rivaled any hockey rink (it was in Maine).  The woman giving me the lesson could turn silently on such ice.  Nothing she could tell me or demonstrate could lead me to do anything more than kinda sorta manage to skid and slide (deafening) turns.  She was efficient, I wasn't.  Ten days ago I was skiing in Breckenridge on Bonanza (a popular green trail off the Mercury lift) and heard a growing clatter behind me, glanced over my shoulder to see a yard sale forming immediately behind me, and slammed my left ski into the snow to hockey stop right.  As it allowed the yard sale to develop without me, my idea of very efficient ;).  Two days before that I was in Vail, ending the day on pretty worn out legs (first ski trip of the season), nearing the bottom of whatever trail leading down to Lionshead, when I spotted one of my gang tucked in behind a yellow net.  Well... no problem... push to right inside edge, swoop left, hockey stop next to buddy.  Nope!  No edging that turned useful and I wound up down.  Dang!  Some day I will have zero of those in a ski season.

 

- edgeable snow is any snow with which you can make your edges useful to control your skiing.  This changes (thank goodness) for the positive as you gain some skill and experience.  A big trick for beginners is trying to get enough experience and confidence to recognize snow on which YOU can edge under the conditions that exist.  Back in Breck, for those familiar, when one exits the Mercury lift to skiers right, then stays left, one rides along a relatively gentle area along some fence line to get to the trails.  But Breck is notoriously windy so under some conditions (early season, not great coverage for example), the snow is stripped off the surface by wind (making visibility a serious challenge for old farts) leaving ice as the surface.  If one is familiar with this one can just ride one's skis flat until one reaches better snow since edging requires more effort than it might be worth (depending, of course, on skill).

 

- re "tilting".  This may be what I learned as "rolling".  The feel is somewhat like rolling onto my ankles but, of course, ski boots don't allow that.  So it really is sorta rolling ones knees to gently put the skis on edge.  Just a thought.

post #18 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

"quiver" -  I see this word comes up a lot, assume it refers to skis....

 

question: why do you use this word to refer to skis?  


Yep, a "quiver" of skis implies more than one pair of skis owned by the same skier.  Hard to say when the use of the term started.  A "quiver" of arrows is the original definition.  Guess a bunch of skis together reminded someone of giant arrows. :)

 

It's fair to say that active members of an online ski forum are more likely to end up with a quiver of at least two pairs of skis.  Especially someone who travels to ski.  Skis that are appropriate for one region are often not as much fun in another region. For example, skis that are good in the Mid-Atlantic are not usually the best for skiing out west.  However, for beginner or intermediate who skis groomers it's much easier to be perfectly happy with one pair of skis.

post #19 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

"quiver" -  I see this word comes up a lot, assume it refers to skis....

 

question: why do you use this word to refer to skis?  

 

To expand to another term, there are some people who refer to a "one ski quiver." 

 

That refers to finding one ski that can do everything well. Then that can often trigger a debate about whether a one ski quiver is actually possible. You'll also see the term "one ski quiver" abbreviated on forums like this one as "OSQ". 
 

post #20 of 109

Great thread!  Definitely a different language in the ski world haha.

post #21 of 109

OK:  Please explain "hard shell" and "soft shell" jackets/clothing.

 

In my mind, all clothing is soft.  The only "hard" stuff I wear are ski boots and a helmet.

post #22 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pchewn View Post
 

OK:  Please explain "hard shell" and "soft shell" jackets/clothing.

 

In my mind, all clothing is soft.  The only "hard" stuff I wear are ski boots and a helmet.


This is one of those ambiguous terms. (pair of ambiguous terms?) Often one will be referring to function or application as much as material.

 

Regarding material: Hard shell (HS) material is typically MUCH stiffer than most any material you would think of. Soft shell (SS) material is generally going to be very supple and - well - soft. HS has no inherent insulating capability. (though it will create a reliable pocket of air inside it that can aid in creating your overall insulation system)  SS will generally have some thickness and insulating properties itself. HS is always going to be wind proof and water proof. SS will sometimes be wind proof or water proof.

post #23 of 109

Canting your boots

 

 If you go to a bootfitter they will probably cant your boots, or at least check your canting.

 

What they are doing is adjusting the left and right tilting of your boots to align your body above them.  It can move where your knee is in relation to your foot for example.

 

People experiment with canting on the hill by putting little 1, 2 or 3 mm shims under the edges of their boots.  If put under the inside edges (both at the toe and heel) it tilts your feet outward and vice versa.  This will change the way a skier skis, and ideally a skier is canted so that they are equally and efficiently aligned over their boots.

 

A bootfiter may grind down one side of a boot to do this permanently.  There are other methods as well.

post #24 of 109

Bowl (or back bowl) - what does it mean?  

 

I know "half pipe" type trails:  e.g. Jerry's Jungle @LL, Rock n'Roll @alta.  Is bowl similar to half pipe?  If you get to the bottom of the bowl, how do you get back up?  via lift chair?  

post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fosphenytoin View Post
 

Bowl (or back bowl) - what does it mean?  

 

I know "half pipe" type trails:  e.g. Jerry's Jungle @LL, Rock n'Roll @alta.  Is bowl similar to half pipe?  If you get to the bottom of the bowl, how do you get back up?  via lift chair?  

  

A Bowl is a depression on a mountain face that is usually caused by the upper end of a glacier.  It is much larger than a man-made half pipe.  There is usually a lift at the bottom of the bowl to get you back to the top.   "Back Bowl" just means a bowl on the back side of the mountain (the opposite side from the main lodge or main entrance).

 

It looks like this:   

post #26 of 109
Special grooming machines are used to make a half-pipe.  Here's someone in one:

Some trails form natural half-pipes like this one:

 

 

post #27 of 109

Thanks @pchewn and @LiquidFeet for sharing the photos.

 

So, this "bowl" thing, it is not really a full bowl, like rice bowl; but more like a  half shape bowl, correct?  

post #28 of 109

That's right.  Some things that are really just big open areas that funnel down to the same lift are called bowls, even if the shape isn't particularly bowl-like.

post #29 of 109

Here's a graphic showing in general how cirques/bowls are formed.  Glaciers form,

then melt over large periods of time, carrying debris through an open side as gravity

pulls the ice downward.  The debris and ice scrapes away at the edges on its way down.

We can follow this process right now because glaciers are melting at an increasing

rate in some places.

Here's a glacier, still all icy and flowing slowly downhill.

 

When the glacial ice is all melted and gone years later, that same

bowl/cirque might look something like one of these every summer:

 

...and like this when winter snow fills it in:

 

If the bowl is accessible to skiers, it might also look like this when the weather is nice:

 

Those last two are Tuckerman Ravine, which is a famous backcountry bowl here in New England.

post #30 of 109
Oh, this is wonderful. Terms that have stymied me:

WROD

GS - I figured that one out, Grand Slalom

T.i.T.S. Do I want to know?

gnar (as a verb), rip, shred. Do these all mean ski?

rocker

What's the difference between Nordic, XC, and telemark? Are they all the same?

Okay, enough for now. I'll be back.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Beginner Zone
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Say what?... Skiing jargon [A Beginner Zone thread]