Go Ski! Skiing Terms for Beginners

Go Ski! Skiing Terms for Beginners

Learn the most common skiing terms, so you´ll know what your ski instructor means when he says to carve or pitch. This article covers the basic terms that will help a newbie hit the slopes and look like a almost like a pro.

Are you thinking about giving skiing a try this winter? It´s important to know a few skiing terms, so you can show your family and friends that you know a thing or two, whether you really do or not. You might even impress your ski instructor.

Ski Terms


Bindings are the fasteners that attach the skis to your boots.

Black Diamond

Black Diamonds are advanced skiing trails for experienced skiers. They are also marked with a symbol that is a black diamond.


Carving means to cut into the snow on the mountain with the edge of your skis. Extreme carving, means to cut a deep edge into the snow.


This term means what it sounds like it means, but it applies to the condition of the snow. Crud is a snow with a lot of bumps, lumps and uneven patches. It is difficult to ski on and not ideal, particularly for a beginner.


Each ski has a certain amount of bend to it. Some bend more than others, or have more “flex”.


Gapers take their sweet time skiing down a hill, pausing to look at their surroundings. Skiing slowly down a hill is also called “cruising” and gapers truly enjoy taking things at a slower pace.


The person who runs the ski lift is often called the “liftie”.

Matching Skis

If your ski instructor tells you to “match” your skis, he simply means that the skis should be parallel and both point in the same direction, a task that is easier said than done when you are just starting out in this sport.

Milk Run

This is the first run down a slope that day. The person making a milk runs breaks through the fresh, untouched snow.

Pow Pow

This is a term used to describe fresh, powdery snow. It is a slang term for the word “powder”, which is also used to describe new snow.


If you change the direction in which your skis are pointed, you are steering your skis. This will also change your direction down the slope.


Why You Should Learn a Few Terms Before Going Skiing

These are just a few of the most common terms used by skiers. There are additional terms you’ll want to learn as you grow more advanced in your skills. The best way to pick up new ski words is by hanging out in the lobby of the lodge, talking to ski instructors and learn from more experienced ski enthusiasts.