Term Definition Category
Backcountry skiing Skiing in unmarked and ungroomed terrain, typically outside of ski resorts and away from maintained slopes. General Terms
Avalanche A rapid flow of snow down a slope, often triggered by external factors such as weather conditions or human activity. Safety
Skinning The technique of attaching synthetic climbing skins to the base of skis, allowing skiers to ascend uphill with traction on snow or ice. Technique
Alpine touring (AT) bindings Bindings that allow the heel to be released for uphill climbing and locked down for downhill skiing. They are designed for backcountry skiing and provide versatility for ascending and descending. Equipment
Beacon Short for avalanche transceiver, a handheld device that emits and receives signals to locate skiers buried in an avalanche. Used for search and rescue purposes. Safety
Shovel A compact, collapsible tool used to dig out buried skiers in avalanche situations or create snow shelters. It is an essential piece of safety equipment for backcountry skiing. Safety
Probe A collapsible pole used to locate and measure the depth of a buried skier or evaluate the snowpack during rescue operations. Safety
Snowpack The layers of accumulated snow and ice on a slope. Understanding the characteristics and stability of the snowpack is crucial for assessing avalanche risks. Safety
Kick Turn A technique used to change direction while ascending a steep slope. It involves turning the skis by lifting the tail of one ski and pivoting it around. Technique
Whiteout A weather condition characterized by reduced visibility due to heavy snowfall, fog, or a combination of both. Whiteouts can make navigation challenging and increase the risk of getting lost. Safety
Sastrugi Wavelike patterns or ridges formed on the surface of snow by wind erosion. They can create uneven and challenging skiing conditions. Snow Conditions
Skinning track A packed-down track created by skiers using climbing skins to ascend a slope. It provides traction and makes it easier for subsequent skiers to ascend the same route. Technique
Cornice An overhanging ledge of snow formed on the edge of a ridge or cliff due to wind deposition. Cornices can be unstable and pose a significant risk of collapsing, triggering avalanches. Snow Conditions
Glisse A French term referring to a smooth and effortless gliding motion on skis. Technique