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Thursday 23 May updated on 05-23-2024 at 8:06

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Do you regularly hear your neighbours on the chairlift using weird expressions like « faut y passer dré dans l’pentu » or « regarde cette peuf! » ? It’s not easy to understand what they’re talking about. It’s a bit like being in a foreign country without a dictionary to interpret the local dialect. We’re here to remedy that and to give you a few key expressions to open new linguistic horizons for you.


Skiing terms so you can talk like a pro

Back-country (no, it’s not music from Texas) literally means «skiing on the back of the mountain». It’s one on the favourite activities amongst riders  consisting of playing with the natural elements in all terrains and off-piste.

An DVA is a Détecteur de Victimes d’Avalanche (Avalanche Victim Detector or AVD), an ESSENTIAL piece of kit for off-piste skiing. The waves it gives off enable it to be found or to find other devices in avalanches.

Poudre, peuf, pow-pow. Nothing to do with dodgy substances, these words simply refer to freshly-fallen snow,  the «powder snow » of which our freerider friends are so fond.

Slopestyle isn’t a barbaric word but a type of skiing. It involves skiing down a course fitted with various obstacles such as kickers, tables, quarters, half-pipe, rails, etc. and doing «tricks» which are freestyle figures in rider’s jargon.

Freeride, a favourite sport with riders, means off-piste skiing or snowboarding generally in powder conditions. A piece of advice if this activity interests you, choose your skis carefully if  you don’t want to find yourself caught up in fresh snow with unmanageable piste skis.

Trafolée: this means snow that has already been skied over. Trafole or neige trafolée is relatively easy to ski on while it is still fresh. Conversely, if it has frozen or hardened, it can be unskiable.

Carving opens the door to piste skiing. It’s an English word meaning «sculpting or engraving». In practice, it involves cutting a turn, which means instead of turning by skidding, you make a natural curve with your skis. If you’d like to try it, we can give you a few tips on perfecting your carving

Amont (uphill) and aval (downhill), two important words in the skiing code! When you’re halfway down a piste, amont refers to the part of the mountain which is above you (the upper part of the piste),  and aval the part below you. The downhill skier or snowboarder has the right of way.

Have you seen your instructor linking a series of short, close turns in fresh snow? We call this not «faire l’asticot» (magotting) but «godille»  (wedelning).