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Beginning Skiers Glossary

The bottom of the ski or board. Where you would apply wax and where the metal edges are set into the side.

The mechanism for attaching boots to the skis or snowboard.


A ski boot usually has a rigid shell with an inner liner. A snowboard boot usually has a less rigid shell and a more complex liner. Usually the snowboard liner has laces for adjusting the fit and feel, whereas a ski boot uses fasteners on the shell for such adjustments.

The German acronym for the international standard for setting a ski binding’s release tension according to a skier’s weight, height, age, and ability so the binding will release as needed. Generally, the younger and lighter and less experienced the skier, the smaller the DIN number.

Metal sidewalls to the base of the ski or board that allow it to slice into the snow surface and define the turn. The vertical edge is called the side edge. The bottom edge is called the base edge. The side and base edges are filed (“tuned”) to specific angles called bevels to enhance the grip and release of the edges according to the manufacturer’s specifications or a skier’s taste.

Straightening the joints of the lower body (hips, knees, ankles)

Bending the joints of the lower body (hips, knees, ankles)


Locals term for a tourist; experienced skiers sometimes apply the term to new skiers.

Walking uphill with skis in a V-position, leaving a herringbone pattern on the snow.

The ski pole has a grip or handle with an optional strap securing the grip to the wrist, a shaft, a basket and a tip. Poles are sized to fit the skier so that when the pole is planted in the snow the angle of the lower arm is parallel to the snow and perpendicular to the shaft of the pole and the skier is in a stacked posture (not overly bent or extended).

Posted run designations
These signs define the difficulty of the runs in comparison with each other at each resort. There is no hard and fast standard so degrees of difficulty tend to vary from resort to resort.

In the
United States, Australia and New Zealand the following designators are commonly used:
Green circle: Easier
Blue square: More difficult
Black diamond: Most difficult
Double black diamond: Experts only

Europe the designators are
Green: Easiest
Blue: Intermediate
Red: More difficult
Black: Most difficult

Walking sideways uphill with small stair steps.

Ski Bindings
Toe piece
The front binding that holds the boot toe under a metal lip equipped with a release mechanism that is adjustable to the skier’s normal
Heel piece
The back binding that holds the heel of the boot under a metal lip equipped with a spring mechanism that also has a retention adjustment. Stepping in activates the spring to hold the boot.

Skis traveling in a combined forwards and sideways direction.

Skis traveling in a forwards direction (also known as gliding).

Skis traveling in a sideways direction (also known as side-slipping).

Snowboard bindings
Step-in bindings

The boots and bindings are equipped with corresponding parts that clasp together with a spring mechanism when the rider steps in (hence the name).

Reclining high-back bindings
Strap bindings with a mechanism for moving the heel back for quickly getting the boot in and out of the binding for lift rides, etc.

The back of a ski or board.
A ski or board with a similar upturn of both the tip and the tail is called a twintip. This design enables skiers and riders to ride switch—that is, backwards or forwards.

The upturned front of the ski and board. The area between the tip and the body of the ski is called the shovel.


The top surface of the ski or board on which the bindings are mounted.