Alpine Touring: Also called Backcountry Skiing or AT, is the act of climbing up a hill or mountain and then skiing down. This is traditionally done in the backcountry and on routes which have some avalanche danger and lots of fresh powder.
Avalanche: Is a large volume of snow falling down a mountain because of weather, instabilities in the snow pack or some sort of human trigger. Avalanches can prove deadly and thus, avalanche avoidance is extremely important.
Avalanche probe: Is a long rod commonly made of light metal that are used to probe down through the snow in path of an avalanche to locate people buried under the snow.
Avalanche Tranceiver: Also known as a Beacon, this is a device worn when skiing in the backcountry or out of bounds in order to locate party members caught in an avalanche. A transceiver transmits and receives a radio signal which can be detected by another transceiver. They can locate victims buried in an avalanche if the user is educated in their use and the subject is wearing the device properly.
Backcountry: The area beyond the groomed runs of a ski area or backcountry away from developed ski areas.
Backcountry Skiing: Backcountry skiing is skiing over ungroomed and unmarked slopes not in a developed ski resort but instead in the rural areas away from roads and populated arid. The snow pack is not monitored, patrolled, or maintained and mechanical means of ascent such as ski lifts are typically not present. Human power is frequently the means of access and ascent. It offers skiers a chance to experience challenging terrain in a more natural setting, and make the first tracks in fresh powder.
Bowl Skiing: Skiing on wide open bowl shaped slopes usually without trees and very prone to avalanches.
Cirque: A bowl shape or amphitheater sculpted out of the mountain.
Dump: An unusually large or heavy snowfall when it has been "puking" [see puking].
Elephant Snot: Wet, heavy snow not good for skiing.
Fat Skis: Very wide skis designed to perform in deep powder snow.
First Tracks: When a skier is the first to ski an area of fresh snow before anyone else; also known as “freshies".
Freshies: The act of getting first tracks down a run/route with fresh powder.
Mashed Potatoes: Wet, heavy snow not good for skiing.
Pillows: The soft tops of moguls or buried tree stumps or rocks after a fresh powder dump.
POW: Is a slang term for fresh powder snow [see powder].
Powder: Light, flufy, and deep snow accumulation which is freshly fallen and soft.
Puking: Heavy thick snowfall that accumulates to form good powder snow and freshies for skiing.
Skins: Long adhesive strips with fibbers on one sideband glue on the other which fasten to a ski or snowboard. When affixed to ski and use properly one side will grip the snow in one direction and glide in the other direction - used for ascending a hill or mountain in the sport of AT or backcountry skiing.
Skin Track: The route which backcountry skier take up the mountain to then ski down.
Snorkeling: When powder runs up the body and blurs a skier’s vision [because a snorkel is required to breathe properly].
Snowboarding: Skiing on one “ski” which is wider and shorter, with both feet fixed in a position similar to surfing or skateboarding.
Randonnee: Is a French word to describe the gear or technique used for backcountry skiing or "AT" [alpine touring skiing]. The word means "excursion" or "tour," and if used in French to speak of ski touring is generally combined with the word "ski".
Randonee skiing: Also known as Alpine Touring (AT) or Backcountry skiing, it is a form of skiing in which you ascend the mountain under your own power through the use of specialized bindings and "skins."
Telemark skiing: is a style of skiing in which the heel is allowed to move upward and the opposing knee downwards. Telemark skiing is useful for backcountry skiing but is not essential as one can use "AT" alpine touring equipment.
Vertical Drop: The vertical distance from the top to the bottom of the mountain or slope.
We built this backcountry skiing community for you, the passionate skier, and hope you enjoy the hard work we put into all the reviews, routes, videos and posts we create. It’s been free from day one but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable resource. If you enjoy this web site and value the content we create for you, then please support Backountry Skiing Canada by donating today. Thank you!