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Ski Jungle - Glossary of skiing and snow terms
Category: Sport and Leisure > Glossary of skiing and snow terms
Date & country: 16/11/2010, US
Words: 60


Angel poop
The lightest deepest powder snow.

Angulation
The bending of the knees, usually into the slope, to set an edge. The hips also have to be bent in order to keep the weight in the desired position. With little or no edge set the knees will be bent directly over the skis. With maximum edge set they will bend in towards the slope.

Anticipation
Preparation made before a turn with the hands, eyes, soles of the feet, and longitudinal weight shift. When learning new technique it can also mean a pole plant, and is more often than not accompanied by angulation.

Avalament
From the French `avaler`, to swallow. Take it to mean an absorption of a bump by lifting the legs ie: there is angulation but it comes from lifting the legs rather than lowering the body.

Avalanche
Something that will kill you unless you are careful. With the introduction to shorter skis allowing easier off-piste skiing, and the forecast for heavier snowfalls as the world warms up, the danger of avalanches cannot be over stressed. Anyone who skis off-piste should only do so if they know about the avalanche risks at any given time in the area they are skiing in, or is going with someone who d...

Balance
The ability to keep the weight in the desired position. Balance is acquired by mileage and is more readily acquired by very small children. It can also be helped by being fit, having good eyesight, and learning to feel snow conditions through the soles of the feet. Longitudinal balance refers to movement of the centre of weight between the front and back of both skis, while latitudinal balance ref...

Body Position
The direction a skier is facing at any given moment in relation to his skis, and refers to his upper body above the hips.

Boiler plate
The most appalling stuff to ski on. Churned up melted snow that has refrozen. Avoid at all costs - ankle snapping rubbish.

Camber
The upward arc, rather like a bow, built into a ski from the shovel to the tail to provide tension when the ski is weighted.

Carving
The arc made by a ski on its edge when the ski is under enough tension to produce substantial reverse camber. Because the ski has been bent so much, carving produces an arc of smaller radius than merely edging.

Centre of Weight
The same as the centre of gravity but for our purposes we take it to mean the point on the ground vertically below the centre of gravity (onto a horizontal plane) where a skier`s weight is centred at any given time. If the centre of weight is more than a critical distance from the middle of the skis and the feet at any given time, he will usually lose his balance. Various forces will alter this ra...

Chord length
The distance between the two bits of the ski touching the ground (the shovel and the tail) when the ski is lying on a flat surface. This is the distance usually used to denote a ski`s length. They used to be made in 5cm increments but now skis come in all sizes.

Christie
Another name for a parallel turn reputedly invented in Christiania, Norway during the nineteenth century.

Contre Rotation
French for contra rotation... a twisting of the upper body into the slope (sometimes initiated by a small movement across the body with the lower hand) to enable the tails of the skis to slide round (see above).

Contre Virage
French for `against the turn`. An extra bit of turn tacked on to the end of a main turn. As a skier comes to the end of a turn he can either drop quickly down a fraction thereby unweighting the skis, or else contra rotate thereby steering the skis. The tails can then move round enabling him to initiate an edge set.

Corn
Spring snow and the most flattering stuff to ski on.

Cornice
The overhang of snow with attendant cliff formed on crests and ridges by windy conditions. Looks rather like a frozen wave.

Couloir
Also known as a corrie, avalanche chute, and a gully, this is a steep narrow passage between rocks. Couloirs should always be approached and skied with care.

Crud
Glutinous new snow that has been rained on and not had a chance to re freeze. Best avoided.

Dynamic friction
The friction between the snow and a moving ski. It is less than static friction.

Edge Set
See Setting an edge.

Edging
Putting the skis on their edge by angulating. The radius of the arc formed by just an edged ski is greater than a carved ski as there is no substantial reverse camber involved.

ELP
Short for English lavatory position (or ALP for American/Australian LP). This is a natural position sometimes adopted at the early stages of learning and recommended at any time when good balance is in doubt, and is not just a mild joke. By bending both the hips and knees over the middle of the skis with the legs several inches apart the centre of gravity is lowered and the centre of weight has mo...

Eyes
Using them correctly is a crucial part of the anticipation process. Looking slightly further ahead than you would on your feet can can help a lot.

Fall Line
An imaginary line describing the steepest route down a mountain. The fall line may change direction owing to bumps and dips.

Falling
A very important part of the learning process.

Feet
When it concerns skiing they are the most sensitive pieces of your body, and second only to your eyes in importance. Look after them as well as a wood louse would look after his antennae.

Fitness
Just as important as learning to fall.

Freestyle
Dancing on skis. Highly recommended for improving balance and confidence. Practising freestyle moves increases the chance of recovery in sticky situations elsewhere.

Jet Turn
Not used much for recreational skiing nowadays, this involves a quick avalment accompanied by a backwards and sideways (downhill) weight shift.

Lateral Projection
Transferring weight from the downhill to the uphill ski while moving on a traverse.

Natural Torsion
The ability of the thigh and abdominal muscles and ligaments to act like a twisted rubber band.

Parallel Turn
A turn when both skis remain parallel throughout the turn.

Piste
Prepared route down a mountainside. Known as a trail in North America.

Plough Parallel
A turn that starts with the merest hint of a plough on the outside ski, and at any stage during the turn the uphill inside ski can be brought in parallel.

Pole Plant
A crucial part of anticipation during the process of learning new techniques.

Poles
Crucial accessories for a pole plant. In fact it is impossible to do a pole plant without them. They should be 5cm (2 inches) shorter than you have been used to.

Reverse Camber
The arc formed in a ski by applying pressure down on it from above. The more reverse camber is applied to a ski, the shorter becomes the radius of the arc. Short radius turns are made for short turns and long radius turns for long turns. See carving

Rotation
This can refer to the upper body rotating on an axis running straight down through the head, or a rotation of the thighs, either singly (as in a snowplough turn) or roughly at the same time (as in a plough parallel/parallel). Because skis are now short a rotation of the thighs will easily turn the ski as long as it is moving with minimal friction.

Royal Christie
A flat turn on an uphill ski while the downhill ski is lifted high in the air behind the skier.

Self Assessment
Deciding which of the five grades of skier you fit into.

Setting an Edge
Unweighting a ski by a sudden down movement at the end of a turn. The weight on the ski then increases and brakes it against the snow in preparation for the next turn. An edge set is used in short turns The angle of an edge set in relation to the fall line will vary according to the degree a skier wants to brake eg: on a very steep slope the angle would be 90 degrees to the fall line, and on a blu...

Shovel
The front bit of a ski just behind the tip that is touching the snow. Also useful for digging your car out of the snow.

Sidecut
The arcs formed on each side of the ski (when looked at from above) to allow the potential for reverse camber.

Skis
Things you ski on.

Snowplough/Wedge/Stem
The V shaped beginners turn - and hang on to for too long if not taught something more useful quite soon.

Static Friction
The amount of friction between two objects that are in contact but are stationary. We are talking skis on snow here. There is much more friction between ski and snow when the skis are stationary than when they are moving. The friction between a moving ski and the snow is known as dynamic friction.

Steering
Turning a ski by applying weight

Stem Christie
A turn that starts with a snowplough, wedge or stem and finishes with a christie or parallel turn. Now known as a plough parallel

Step up
Taking a definitive step up while moving on a traverse from the inside edge of the downhill ski to the outside edge of the uphill ski. It is very similar to lateral projection and if you are a gardener about as difficult to tell apart as oregano and marjoram.

Style
Something of little interest to the better skier

Tail
The back of a ski.

The Tuck
The classic aerodynamic position adopted by racers to gain maximum speed, and by beginners going at ten miles an hour who feel like downhill racers. ( It`s strange that racers always appear to be grimacing in the tuck, while beginners are always smiling!) From an up right position to the tuck the acceleration on a medium to steep slope can be considerable, and should therefore be used with care.

Thief
Someone who steals your skis. Always separate them outside a restaurant (especially in France). If you can`t find them later, wait till everyone`s gone home. There should be two left. If there`s only one, ski home carefully, and be on the look-out for a one legged thief. NB: Before accusing someone, don't forget to ask yourself how many skis you had on when arriving at the restaurant.

Torque
The twisting movement of a ski. The amount it will twist along its length will affect its performance. Generally, the stiffer the torque, the higher will be the ski`s performance.

Trail
Prepared route down a mountainside or a path through wooded country in North America. Known as piste in Europe.

Unweighting
Turning a ski by taking weight off it. An unweighting movement is generally executed by pivoting the tails of the skis around the tips although occasionally a ski can be pivoted around the centre (as in the Wedel turn or learning in the bumps).

Upper body
The torso

Weight
The application of weight on to a ski is gauged by the pressure applied by the soles of the feet. As a general rule weight is kept on the middle of the foot, and seldom moves more than an inch or two either backwards or forwards to get the desired result. The distribution of weight between the two skis can vary from all on one ski to an equal spread between the two.

Wipe Out
A great sixties record from Cliff Richard's band, the Shadows. Also a crash of stupendous proportions which gets better with the telling.