The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

Look like a pro on the slopes

A beginner’s guide to ski slang

Reckon you’ve wrapped your head around ski jargon? Well, you might know your chairlifts from your gondolas, and the difference between powder and moguls – but to really look like a pro on the mountain, you’ve got to speak the slang. Check out our list of the top ski slang terms, put together by our expert staff at Crystal Hubs around the UK.

Allez, allez: French for ‘chop, chop’ or ‘go, go’ – often said by ski instructors in France to encourage people in lessons. (Beckie Pollock, Castleford)

Backcountry: Also called off-piste, this is an area of the mountain that’s not groomed or patrolled. It’s popular with advanced skiers and boarders looking for challenging terrain.
‘We’re heading out to the backcountry today.’ (Dave Smith, Manchester)

French fries: Also called the parallel ski position, this means skiing with your skis side by side to start moving or speed up. The fun term helps beginners visualise it. (Katie Furber, Manchester)

Fresh dump: A huge fall of fresh snow, usually overnight, that creates the most sought-after ski conditions.
‘There was a fresh dump of snow last night – I can’t wait to get up the mountain.’ (Dave Smith, Manchester)

Gaper gap: The gap between the top of your goggles and your helmet – usually seen on beginners, so close the gap if you want to look like a pro.
‘It’s a sunny day – you might want to rub some sun cream on your gaper gap.’ (Dave Smith, Manchester)

Grom: Short for ‘grommet’, this refers to a young skier or boarder.
‘That grom is already better than all of us.’ (Stuart Crawford, Glasgow)

Liftie: Someone who operates a ski lift.
‘The liftie hasn’t opened the chairlift yet.’ (Katie Furber, Manchester)

Panda eyes: The tan line around your eyes from wearing goggles or sunglasses on a sunny day.
‘Tomorrow, I’m wearing stronger sun cream – I got panda eyes today.’ (Heidi Pepper, Tamworth)

Pizza: Also called the snowplough, this beginner move means skiing with your skis in a V-shape to help you slow down or stop. (Katie Furber, Manchester)

Seasonaire: Someone who works in a ski resort over the winter, often combining a full-time job with as much slope time as possible. (Dave Smith, Manchester)

Send it: To ski at high speed, fully committed and in control.
‘That girl is really sending it.’ (Katie Furber, Manchester)

Shred the gnar: Fast, fun skiing on particularly tricky terrain.’
‘She just shredded the gnar.’ (Beckie Pollock, Castleford)

Shred the pow: To ski through fresh, fluffy snow (powder).
‘I can’t wait to go shred the pow this morning.’ (Katie Furber, Manchester)

Ski bum: Someone who spends all winter out on the slopes, working odd jobs to pay for their lift pass.
‘I’m out here living the ski bum lifestyle.’ (Jennifer Gray, Glasgow)

Ski the corduroy: Skiing on slopes that have been freshly groomed by a piste basher – the stripy pattern running from top to bottom looks like corduroy fabric.
‘Hurry up! I want to ski the corduroy this morning.’ (Stella Gosiewski, Milton Keynes)

Steezy: A mash-up of ‘style’ and ‘ease’, meaning to ski with style and make it look easy.
‘She’s looking super steezy out there.’ (Jennifer Gray, Glasgow)

Switch: To ski backwards.
‘Can you ski switch?’ (Dave Smith, Manchester)

Winding down the windows: Flailing your arms to regain balance after taking off from a jump.
‘He went flying and now he’s winding down the windows.’ (Stuart Crawford, Glasgow)

Ready to practise your pizza and French fries, or shred the pow after a fresh dump? Head to your nearest Crystal Hub to speak to us face to face, and start planning your mountain getaway.

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