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Ski talk: a beginners guide

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Before heading to a snow holiday, one should know the lingo. Picture: Supplied.
So you’re all set for your first snow holiday. But how ready are you for that first day on the slopes, when someone says, “Don’t forget your ski pass” or “We’re going to cut some serious powder today”?

Here are some of the most common words and phrases you’ll hear on the slopes:  

Alpenglow: a rosy glow that suffuses snow-covered mountain peaks at dawn and dusk on a clear day

Après ski: end-of-day drinks, dancing on tables, live music, maybe a saxophone or two, stories from the slopes. Best experienced at La Folie Douce near Club Med Val Thorens Sensations

Bail: to take an involuntary dive into the snow

Balaclava: a face mask used to cover exposed skin on the slopes; particularly handy on snowfall days while on a ski lift

Base: main area at the bottom of a ski slope; also the underneath of a ski or snowboard

Carving: a turning technique that makes use of the edges of the skis or snowboard

Dump: slang term for a massive snowfall 

Edge: sharpened metal strip on the sides of skis or snowboards used for carving. Helps you to hold a smoother grip on the slopes while turning. Also used to control speed

Goosebumps: uncontrollable and in abundance as you approach the slopes for the first time

Icing sugar: that first view of the mountain tops graced by the famous white powder

Powder: fresh snow

Ski lift: chair attached to a raised cable that takes you up a slope

Ski pass: a ticket or card that gives you access to the lifts

Snow plough: technique used to help you slow down or stop while skiing. Spread your legs and point the tips of your skis together, making sure they don’t cross!

Traverse: to ski or snowboard in a zigzag fashion (side to side) in order to slow down or gain control down a slope

Wipe-out: when your body and the snow meet in the most unglamorous way

You should also be aware of the “colour” of the slope you’re on. Here they are by degree of difficulty:
1. Green – fine for beginners
2. Blue – a little more steep than green
3. Red – getting a lot more difficult
4. Black – for experienced skiers and snowboarders only

These are a few of the terms you’ll need to know when you start out. By the end of your first week you’ll be speaking ski like a pro!


Source: Club Med. 
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