For a lot of people, winter means skiing time! Many people take vacations each winter to get out on the slopes and enjoy the snow. Are you planning on going skiing this year? Then this list of skiing vocabulary might come in handy (be useful).

Learn all the ins and outs (details) of skiing vocabulary so that you can enjoy your winter vacation!


There are a few different ways that avid (serious, regular) skiers talk about the snow that’s already on the ground. Because the quality of the snow can have an impact on skiing conditions, it’s important to know what the snow is like where you’ll be skiing.

If you know someone who skis or snowboards, you may hear them talk about powder. Powder is freshly fallen snow that is one of the best skiing conditions. If there’s fresh powder on the mountain, people haven’t skied or snowboarded on it yet. I hope if you ever go skiing that you get to ski on powder.

For example:

  • The ski report said that there would be fresh powder on the mountain this morning.
  • The skiers left a trail in the fresh powder.

Ski lift

Luckily when you go skiing, you don’t have to climb all the way up a mountain first. That’s because there are ski lifts to take you up to the top! There are a couple of different kinds of ski lifts, including gondolas, chair lifts, and cable cars, but each type of ski lift is made to help bring you up the mountain.

While skiing is already very physical, it would be much more intense if you had to climb all the way to the top of the mountain every time you went skiing.

For example:

  • Unfortunately, the ski resort was closed for the day because the ski lift malfunctioned.
  • I always enjoy the view from the ski lift!


Another term you may hear skiers using is piste, which is another term for the ski slopes. If you go to a ski resort, they will have carefully maintained (cared for) pistes so that many people can enjoy their time on the slopes. Most people spend their ski vacations on the pistes, although some will go off piste to look for fresh powder.

For example:

  • The pistes were closed for the weekend because there was a sheet of ice over the snow, which made for dangerous conditions.
  • I always think ski resorts look a little strange in summer, when there’s no one on the ski lifts and the pistes are closed.


Runs are very important when it comes to skiing vocabulary. Runs are skiing areas that are marked by different colors that indicate the difficulty of the area. A green run is for beginners, a blue run is easy, a red run is for intermediate skiers, and a black run is for advanced skiers. Make sure you check the color of a run before starting out, especially if you’re just beginning!

For example:

  • I’ve never skied before, so I stuck to (stayed on) the green run all weekend. I had a lot of fun, though!
  • He thought he was going down a red run, but it turns out it was actually a black run!


I’ve never gone skiing before, but I feel like the après-ski would be my favorite part. Après-ski is a French term to describe what happens after a day spent skiing, which usually involves drinking, partying, and/or relaxing. Spending all day outside, while fun, can be very tiring, so it’s also good to unwind afterwards.

For example:

  • I’m not much of a skier, but I went with my friends anyway. I just stayed in the lodge relaxing all day, but joined them for the après-ski.
  • He was so tired, he skipped the après-ski and went straight to bed.

Are you into skiing? Do you love spending a day on the slopes? Then share some of your favorite skiing vocabulary with us in the comments below!

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Check out these other popular blogs: Dating Vocabulary in EnglishWhy You Could Use a Bespeaking ProofreaderItalian Loan Words in English, or these 5 Great Antonyms in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and wants to learn how to ski, even if she has to stick to the bunny slopes.

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