Ski Poles + Ski + Snow


Buying new skis is really exciting, but wading through swathes of technical jargon isn’t! If you’re able to visit a store, our expert staff can give you the straightforward help and advice that you need; if you’re browsing online, here is a breakdown of some of the most common technical terms that you’re likely to encounter.

ACTIVE EDGE: The section of the ski’s edge that is in contact with the snow.

ALL-MOUNTAIN: Designed to be used on and off-piste.

BACKCOUNTRY: Unmarked or un-patrolled areas often outside of the resort boundaries.

BIG-MOUNTAIN: Skiing large, steep descents at high speeds on un-groomed snow.

BUTTER: A trick performed by applying pressure to either the tip or tail of the ski, while lifting the opposite end off the snow.

CAMBER: A ski shape characteristic that places a raised section in the centre of the ski, creating a shape similar to that of a bow being drawn. Click here to find out more.

CAPPED CONSTRUCTION: When the top sheet is rolled across the ski’s construction to form the sidewalls.

CARVING: Performing wide turns on the ski edges, which prevent you from losing speed.

CHAMPAGNE POWDER: Very smooth, deep, dry snow that is perfect for skiing

CRUD: A combination of powder snow and patches of ice.

CRUST: A hard layer of compacted snow or ice sitting on top of softer snow

DAMPING: Reducing the intensity of vibrations

DRAG: A force that acts in the opposite direction to your velocity, causing you to slow down.

EDGE TO EDGE: To perform a series of short radius turns during which the skis move rapidly from one edge to the other.

FLEX: Refers to how flexible the ski is. Click here to find out more.

FLOAT: To remain close to the surface when skiing deep snow

FREESKIING: A creative type of skiing, which involves performing tricks and jumps off natural and man-made obstacles and features. Freeskiers are often found in terrain parks.

FREERIDE: Skiing on natural, un-groomed terrain

FREESTYLE: Freestyle combines skiing and acrobatics, incorporating events such as half pipe and moguls.

FRONTSIDE: Refers to the area of the mountain where you find the groomed runs.

GEOMETRY: Refers to the shape of the ski and has a direct impact on the way that the ski turns.

GROOMERS: (Also known as pisted runs) Marked trails that are smoothed out (pisted) for enjoyable skiing

HARD PACK: When snow becomes packed down and compressed due to grooming and wind exposure.

JIB: Riding on any surface that isn’t snow like a box or rail.


MONOCOQUE: Another name for a capped construction. The ski’s top sheet rolls over the entire construction to become the sidewalls.

PIPE: Abbreviation of ‘halfpipe’. A large, man-made U-shaped channel cut into the snow, used by freestlyle skiers to perform tricks.

PLAYFUL: Generally refers to rebound energy and springiness (pop) of the ski.

POP: Another word for spring or rebound. A ski with pop is great for accelerating out of turns or springing into a jump.

POW (POW-POW): Another name for powder; loose, fluffy snow that hasn’t been groomed or compacted.

POWER TRANSFER: The effectiveness with which the force you     apply to your boot is translated to the ski.

PROGRESSIVE: Innovative, a step forward

REBOUND: The energy released when a bent ski bounces back to its original shape; great for launching you into your next turn.

ROCKER: A ski shape characteristic, which causes the tip and tail to rise away from the surface of the snow making it easier to manoeuvre in soft snow and less likely to catch an edge. 

SIDE COUNTRY: Off-piste terrain that can be accessed from the lifts.

SIDE CUT: The curve of a ski or snowboard that results from the waist being narrower than the tip and tail; the greater the difference, the deeper the sidecut, the shorter the turn.

SIDE CUT RADIUS: Same as turn radius; the turn radius refers to the size of the turn that the ski can make and is directly related to the sidecut; the deeper the sidecut, the smaller the turn radius of the ski, the shallower the sidecut the larger the turn radius.

SIDEWALL CONSTRUCTION: The edge of the ski is separate from the top sheet, providing improved stiffness and excellent power transfer.

SINTERED BASE: Polyethelene pellets are fused together under extreme pressure to create a single-sheet ski base that contains lots of tiny pores, allowing it hold wax more efficiently and run faster.

SKINS: Coarse fabric strips used for ski touring. They are affixed to the bottom of your skis to prevent you from sliding backwards while climbing uphill.

SKINNING: Hiking uphill to access backcountry terrain

SLUSH: Heavy wet snow created by thawing. Usually encountered at the base of the mountain when spring skiing.

SWING WEIGHT: Refers to the amount of effort required to swing both ends of the ski around a central point. A lower swing weight allows quicker, easier turn initiation, while a higher swing weight is more stable at speed.

SWITCH: Skiing/ landing backwards

TAIL: The back of the ski

TAPER: Refers to the difference between the width of the tip and tail of the ski

TIP: The front of the ski

TORSIONAL STIFFNESS: Refers to the ease with which the ski can be twisted

TORSION BOX CONSTRUCTION: Fibreglass (often alongside other materials) is wrapped around the ski’s core, creating a strong frame that is really responsive.

TOURNG: Hiking on skis; travelling both up and downhill, often over long distances and multiple days, to reach terrain that can’t be accessed from resort chairlifts.


TURN RADIUS: Also known as sidecut radius; the turn radius refers to the size of the turn that the ski can make and is directly related to the sidecut; the deeper the sidecut, the smaller the turn radius of the ski, the shallower the sidecut the larger the turn radius.

TWIN TIP: Twin tipped skis are generally used for freestyle skiing. As the name suggests, twin-tips have the same profile at the front and at the back making them easy to manoeuvre forwards and backwards!

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