A Skier’s Dictionary
Alp: A shouted request for assistance made by a European skier on a New Zealand mountain. An appropriate reply is, “What Zermatter?”
All-Mountain: A supposed selling-point for boots or skis that are designed to perform equally poorly under a variety of conditions and over many different types of terrain.
Avalanche: A cry of alarm to warn skiers that a large part of the hill is coming down the hill. One of several natural perils skiers face that needlessly frighten timid individuals away from the sport. See also: Blizzard, Fracture, Frostbite, Hypothermia, Lift Collapse.
Bindings: Mechanisms that protect skiers from potentially serious injury during a fall by releasing skis from boots, sending the skis skittering across the slope where they trip two other skiers, whose bindings release their boots from their skis . . . . eventually causing most people on the entire slope to be protected from serious injury.
Bones: There are 206 in the human body, howeve, the two bones in the middle ear have never been broken in a skiing accident.
Cross-Country Skiing: Traditional Scandinavian all-terrain snow-travelling technique. It’s good exercise. It doesn’t require the purchase of costly lift tickets. It has no crowds or lines. It’s really skating on snow.
Cross-Country Something-or-Other: Touring on skis along trails in scenic wilderness, gliding through snow-hushed woods far from the hubbub of the ski slopes, hearing nothing but the whispery hiss of the skis slipping through snow and the muffled tinkle of car keys dropping into the puffy powder of a deep, wind-sculpted drift.
Exercises: A few simple warm-ups to make sure you’re prepared for the slopes: *Tie a cinder block to each foot with old belts and climb a flight of stairs. *Sit on the outside of a second-story window ledge with your skis on and your poles in your lap for 30 minutes. *Bind your legs together at the ankles, lie flat on the floor; then, holding a banana in each hand, get to your feet.
Gluhwein – après-ski medicine which dulls the pain and leads to exaggerated ideas of a skier’s proficiency.
Gravity: One of four fundamental forces in nature that affect skiers. The other three are the strong force, which makes bindings jam; the weak force, which makes ankles give way on turns; and electromagnetism, which produces dead batteries in expensive ski-resort parking lots.
Inertia: Tendency of a skier’s body to resist changes in direction or speed due to the action of Newton’s First Law of Motion. Goes along with these other physical laws: * Two objects of greatly different mass falling side by side will have the same rate of descent, but the lighter one will have larger hospital bills. * Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but if it drops out of a parka pocket, don’t expect to encounter it again in our universe. * When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, an unethical lawyer will immediately appear.
Prejump: Manoeuvre in which an expert skier makes a controlled jump just ahead of a bump. Beginners can execute a controlled prefall just before losing their balance and, if they wish, can precede it with a prescream and a few pregroans.
Shin: The bruised area on the front of the leg that runs from the point where the ache from the wrenched knee ends to where the soreness from the strained ankle begins.
Ski!: A shout to alert people ahead that a loose ski is coming down the hill.
Skier: One who pays an arm and a leg for the opportunity to break them.
Splits – What happens to trouser seams when skis go too far, too fast in opposite directions.
Telemark: Norwegian for face plant.
Thor: The Scandinavian ski god of acheth and painth.
Traverse: To ski across a slope at an angle; one of two quick and simple methods of reducing speed.
Tree: The other method.
Velocity – an irresistable force characteristically found in indirect proportion to a skier’s control.