Alpine Skiing Terms Explained
Alpine: Relating to high mountains.
Bluebird day: A calm and sunny day after a night of snowfall.
Carve: A crisp turn.
Combined: An event with one downhill run, followed by one slalom run.
Downhill: A speed event with the longest course and the fastest speeds.
Fall line: The most direct route down a ski slope.
Forerunner: An athlete who takes a run down the course before a race to ensure that the course is safe.
FIS: The sport’s international federation. It stands for Federation Internationale de Ski.
Gate: A plastic pole used to mark the course for skiers to follow. Closed gates are vertically arranged, and open gates are horizontally arranged.
Giant slalom: A technical event that features fewer and wider turns than slalom.
Hairpin: Two slalom gates set vertically down the hill in succession.
Netting: Padding used to cushion a fall and to prevent athletes from sliding into wooded areas.
Schuss: When the skis are parallel and pointed downward, allowing the skier to move straight and fast down the mountain.
Slalom: A technical event with the shortest course and the quickest turns.
Speed event: The fastest alpine ski events: downhill and super-G.
Straddling: A mistake where a skier passes over a gate with one ski on one side of the pole and the other ski on the opposite side.
Super-G: A speed event that requires more technical skills than downhill. It is an abbreviation for super giant slalom.
Technical event: Events with rapid turns: slalom and giant slalom.
Tuck: A position where the skier squats and keeps his or her arms close to the body. It is used in speed events to reduce wind resistance and maximize speed.
Vertical: The difference in elevation between the summit and the base.