So you’re all set for your first snow holiday. You’ve booked at Club Med, of course, which means everything’s included – accommodation, meals, drinks, lessons, passes, equipment… literally everything! 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.
Ski slope colours – what you need to know
You should also be aware of the “colour” of the slope you’re on. Here they are by degree of difficulty:
- Green – fine for beginners
- Blue – a little more steep than green
- Red – getting a lot more difficult
- 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!