Sometimes skiers and boarders can sound like they are speaking another language with all of their technical and colloquial terms. If you are new to the slopes this can seem pretty confusing as you have no idea what the person on the chairlift next to you is talking about. We have popped together a quick guide to have you speaking like a true snow lover in no time!



Powder is a type of lightweight and fluffy snow that has fallen recently and has not been compacted. In Australia lots of powder unfortunately isn’t too common as it mainly falls in colder environments, so that’s why when it falls it is all the more special! 

Snowy bushland in Australian Alps

Photo by Robbie Baudish


This is a big snowfall, something we all dream about each night!


Carving is when you’re going down the mountain and on your turns you get onto the edges of your skis or board, and they cut into the snow. This is opposed to what beginners mainly do and just slide on the base of their skis or board.


A lifty is the friendly soul who helps you to safely get on the chairlift, T-bar or carpet. Always remember to say ‘Hey’, and tell them if you are a beginner as they can slow down the lift and help you on. 


A snow groomer is a big machine that ploughs the snow to make it even after it has been skied/boarded on and cut up throughout the day. In its wake, it leaves beautiful and smooth trails that resembles corduroy, hence the name. Racing down a fresh groomer has to be one of life’s great joys. 

Blue Bird Ski day on Mount Perisher Ski resort


A piste is the ski run, so on-piste means you are on the trail, the main runs, and off-piste means you are heading off the areas that the resorts groom and maintain. There are often a lot of trees in off-piste areas, so they require more skill. 

Blue Bird

This is a snow lovers dream! A blue bird is a blue sky day, with the sun shining and snow beneath your skis or board, often the day after a big dump of snow, nothing beats it.


Snow Bum/Ski Bum

A snow bum is someone who loves the snow! They will usually work in the mountains throughout the season or be at the mountain every weekend at the least. Skiing and boarding is their life and they are totally addicted. They are great to make friends with as they will normally know all the great trails and runs on the mountain like the back of their hand. 



This means that you are riding your skis or board the opposite way than you normally do. So on a board this means the other foot to normal is down the hill and on skis you are riding backwards. Maybe not something to try on your first day but it is a lot of fun to practice and a good trick to start with.


This is a good one to know for any snow lover. This term usually means sitting around with your friends, watching some live music and having a drink after a long day carving up the hill. 



This can happen when it’s snowy, foggy or cloudy (as you are often so high up you are literally hanging out in the clouds). It’s when the visibility becomes really low and everything starts looking white. This makes it hard to see bumps on the trail. It’s always a good idea to pack in a pair of low light lenses so you can swap them out if a whiteout occurs. 

White out at a ski field


Ski Touring

This is when you head outside of the resort and into the back country. You will have different gear for this adventure compared to resort skiing as you actually walk up the mountains on skis, a split board or even snowshoes. A removable skin which makes your skis grippy is used on the bottom of them, along with different bindings and boots to allow for a comfortable walking movement. 

Ski touring camp setup Australian Alps

Photo by Robbie Baudish


Oh how looks can be deceiving. Sometimes you see a beautiful patch of untouched snow wonder why no one has hit it yet, well usually it’s because it has a crust. This is when the top layer becomes icy as it has melted a little then refrozen. It is difficult to ski or board on and no fun, so avoid crusty snow!


Magic Carpet

We don’t mean to ruin your fantasies of meeting Aladdin, but this magic carpet is a little different. It is a long conveyor belt-like ski lift that takes you up the beginner hills, also known as bunny slopes. It is an easy way to get up the hill and to get used to lifts before moving on to chairlifts and T-bars. 

Magic Carpet

Magic Carpet


Now you know the lingo you are all set to hit the slopes. Weave a few terms into a conversation on the chairlift and everyone will think you’re a pro.

Don’t forget to tag us in you snowy adventures! We always love to see what our customers are up to!

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

Back country skier sitting back enjoying a view of snow covered mountains

Photo by Robbie Baudish

About The Author


Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

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