Ski Glossary

This glossary will let you enhance your general knowledge about skiing. This way you will be able to understand better the conversations when you stop by the Ski Rental Pession, or to simply participate to the local conversations during your stay in the mountains.

SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING EQUIPMENT

SKI / SNOWBOARD BOOT

SKIING AND BOARDSPORTS DISIPLINES

SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING EQUIPMENT

SHAPE OF THE SKI WITH ITS DIFFERENT PARTS

SHOVEL

The shovel is the turned-up part in the front (the "nose") of a ski or snowboard.

WAIST

Middle of the ski, under the bindings (under the boot).

TAIL

Rear of a ski, snowboard or any other device of this kind.

STRUCTURE OF THE SKI

EDGE

The edge is the metal part on the sides of the ski's base. It allows the board to grip on hard snow. Sharpening (part of regular maintenance) keeps it a cutting edge.

BASE

This is the underside of the ski or snowboard. It is the part that allows you to slide. It is usually grooved to facilitate circulation of water, a residue from snow that melts on contact with the ski. Waxing consists in the cold or hot application of a special paraffin wax, which allows the base to glide better.

CORE

This is located in the centre of the ski and plays a major role in its stiffness and solidity.

WHAT IS SNOWBOARDING?

SNOWBOARD

Snowboarding is a boardsport performed on snow using a board strapped to the feet. Its appearance and boom in France dates back to the 1970s, and it was integrated into the Olympic Games in 1998. Unlike skiing, snowboarding is performed with both feet strapped to a single board, and therefore requires a very specific technique in order to move properly.

BINDINGS

The bindings makes possible the connection of the skier's boot to the ski/snowboard.

FOR SKIING

The bindings are made up of two parts: the rear part allows you to wedge the boot with vertical pressure, while the front part holds the toe of the boot. These two parts are equipped with a spring system, allowing to disconnect from the skis in the event of a fall.

FOR SNOWBOARDING

There are several systems for the various disciplines. However, the basic principle is that the foot is flat and fastened extremely well in order to obtain maximum support on the edges.

BASIC IDEAS

SIDECUTS

This is defined by the width of the ski in three points: the shovel, the waist, and the tail. The deeper a cut, the greater the difference between the shovel-tail widths, and the more parabolic the ski.

CURVE RADIUS

This is the radius of the circle made by the edge of the ski when it carves a turn. This radius is an important technical datum, as it characterises the ski's performance in a turn. A straight ski has a large curve radius, which causes some difficulty in initiating the curve, but it provides stability in a straight line. On the other hand, a parabolic ski has a short curve radius, which facilitates entering a turn to the detriment of maintaining a straight line. A ski having too pronounced of a curve radius behaves badly on a steep slope: a stiff ski, it only rests on its shovel and tail, and the waist doesn't touch the snow. The curve radius depends on the length of the ski and the widths of the shovel, the waist, and the tail.

FLEX

Flex designates the suppleness of the ski or snowboard at the three main points: the shovel, waist, and tail. In other words, it is your equipment's degree of flexibility. The possible combinations of flexibility dimensions range as widely as the lines and programmes that define the manufacturers. Ski equipment must be flexible to perform tricks, while rigidity is essential for speed.

SKI / SNOWBOARD BOOTS

Ski and snowboard boots are essential if you want to go riding! They must be comfortable and give you optimal support for your foot and ankle. Your boots are also there to protect you from the cold, and in particular must be perfectly adapted to your riding style, your equipment, and your bindings!

OUTER SHELL

This is the rigid part of the boot that surrounds the liner. Extremely stiff, it is made from plastic, encompasses the foot, and comes all the way up to the calf, although several previous versions of the ski boot have had different designs (stopping at the ankle or knee). The outer shell provides support for the foot and transmits movement. Nevertheless, it must allow flexing and must excellently convey support while on the skis. Ski boots can be provided with more or less rigid outer shells that the skier chooses according to skiing style and level. The flexibility parameter for the outer shell is often called the Flexindex, and it can range from around 20 or 30 to 130 or 150 (racing skiers).

LINER

A ski boot includes a liner, the internal, padded part enveloping the footthe comfortable part. It can be integrated or removable.

BUCKLES

These allow you to tighten the ski boot. Generally speaking, the more buckles, the tighter the boot is bound to the foot, and hence the more precise one's control over the ski. As a result, there may be between 1 (for the beginning skier) and 4 buckles (for the professional). However, a boot that is too tight can reduce feelings in the foot, and therefore harm fine motor skills.

BI-INJECTION

Process allowing one to manipulate the stiffness of the plastic at desired points. With this process, a hard plastic and another, much more flexible one, are injected at the same time into the mould, according to the stiffness desired for each zone. Your boot therefore becomes more comfortable at the points of contact, for example at the anklebones, but also easier to use in flexing, while retaining its lateral support properties. Results: a boot maximally adapted for comfort and performance.

COMFORT

Comfort depends on the outer shell, which must be appropriate for the different contact points of your foot in the boot. These contact points are manipulated through bi-injection during the boot's design. The liner can be adapted to your foot through thermoforming, which lets you obtain maximal comfort.

THERMOFORMING

By heating the material of the liner, your foot leaves a definitive impression, both in the arch of the foot and in the anklebone area. A liner enveloping the foot as closely as possible guarantees warmth and precision, with uniform tightening that does not restrict blood flow. All the foot's supports are then fully transmitted to the ski.

SKIING AND BOARDSPORTS DISCIPLINES

THE DIFFERENT DISCIPLINES IN ALPINE SKIING

DOWNHILL

Slalom courses are the shortest, but they have the greatest number of gates, as well as the narrowest. The giant slalom requires a great deal of accuracy, a good sense of rhythm, and enough power to optimally tackle each turn.

SLALOM AND GIANT SLALOM

As its name indicates, the giant slalom's course is longer than the slalom's. The gates are also further spaced, which causes wider turns.

SUPER G

This is a compromise between the downhill and the giant slalom. The difference in altitude in the Super G is slightly less than that in the downhill, but the course is prepared in nearly the same way. Unlike the downhill, the competitors cannot try out the course before the official race. As they have limited time for recognition, they must know how to quickly memorize all the physical parameters of the race.

SKI JUMPING

A winter sport in which the skiers descend a slope on a ramp to launch off the ski jump, aiming to travel as far as possible. In addition to distance, the judges award points for style in mid-air and for the landing.
The skis used are long and wide.

COMBINED

Henceforward, the combined is a sport in its own right where the participants must perform a downhill round followed by a round of slalom in the same day. This event highlights versatile skiers who know how to use their speed in the downhill and outdo others in dexterity and technique in the slalom.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Cross-country skiing is performed on flat or hilly land. It belongs to the Nordic family of skiing activities, which also includes the Nordic combined and the biathlon. It is the consummate winter endurance sport.

OFF-PISTE SKIING

Skiing or boarding off-piste consists in travelling up and down unmarked, unmonitored, and ungroomed slopes. This sport conveys more thrills than on-piste skiing, but it is also more dangerous.
Skiers should think about taking precautions and calling on a guide.

DEFINITIONS RELATING TO EXTREME (FREESTYLE) DISCIPLINES OF SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING

The skiing discipline has evolved considerably in recent years. At one time, skiing was based on the downhill, the slalom, and ski jumping. Thanks to the improvement in manufacturing techniques and in adapting snowboards to skis, twin-tip skis have appeared and given skiers access to an extreme sport. The evolution of the ski has given rise to technical terms that are now commonly used:

RIDER

A term used to designate skiers and snowboarders performing their sport in an extreme mode (freestyle, backcountry, etc.).

FREESTYLE

Freestyle consists in developing increasingly complex aerial tricks, on higher and higher jumps, and by sliding down metal rails, or by combining all of these. Freestyle skiing allows for every whim.

FREERIDE

Freeride consists in ascending to the summit of a mountain or going outside marked paths (off-piste), and descending in the powder, being the first to leave tracks, all while avoiding avalanches and crevasses. In this sport, the skier can play with the slope more easily: making large curves, turning "on the lip", and so on.

TRICKS

Figures performed by a skier or snowboarder.

SKICROSS / BOARDERCROSS

These disciplines are performed on a piste made up of moguls and banked turns to spice up the race taking place between four skiers or snowboarders who are prepared to do anything just to get to the bottom first. This results in a frenetic race with jumps and falls an explosive mixture.

HALF PIPE

A half-pipe is a snow structure used for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. It is a half-tube shape in snow used for performing aerial tricks.

SLOPESTYLE

Slopestyle is a sport that takes place on a run. A slopestyle course brings together all the components from freestyle onto one piste: quarters, tables, rails, and the half-pipe. The skier must link these tricks together optimally. Much more comprehensive than big air, slopestyle (along with the half-pipe) is on its way to becoming the benchmark competition format in freestyle.

BACKCOUNTRY FREESTYLE

A fusion of freeride and freestyle. In this, a rider performs tricks on kickers in the backcountry fashioned using natural elements, such as a combe, a ledge, or a tree. Backcountry freestyle skis are wider than standard freestyle skis, since riding and landing are on unprepared snow.

FLAT

Flat tricks consist in linking tricks on skis or snowboard while riding on the piste itself, occasionally using undulations in the terrain.