Bunny Slope
A semi-tilted area where inexperienced adults fraternize with toddlers while enduring the smirks of onlookers; an inescapable rite of passage for most skiers.

Literally, “a er” (Fr.). Refers to non-slope-related activities, especially eating, drinking and bragging endlessly about one’s exploits on the trails.

Should you happen to spot a burly bartender wearing a baby-pink cowboy hat at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, chances are he’s being punished. “The staff has decided that on Sunday nights they should wear cowboy hats,” explains Charlee Starr, a 20-year employee. “If you show up to work without a hat, you have to wear a pink one.” This fabled Jackson Hole, Wyo., institution—it’s been around in one form or another since the 1930s— doesn’t take its Wild West theme too seriously. The barstools are made of saddles and the place is clu ered with what its owner speculatively refers to as “artifacts.” The music, however, is another ma er. Willie Nelson has performed here, as have Tanya Tucker, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. And if your legs can handle it a er a day on the slopes, there are even lessons in how to execute the après two-step.

Nowhere is the rookie skier’s sense of ignominy more acute than on the dreaded bunny slope. And Ski le Gap’s Bruce Eaves, a veteran instructor at the excellent Quebec school, has seen it all in his 42 years of teaching: the tumbles, the tears, the slow-motion pileups. One thing he’s learned is to not be openly amused by such spectacles—the prospect of ridicule being a major terror for the uninitiated, second only to unexpected contact with trees. So Eaves’ first step in ge ing his students off the bunnies is to lighten the mood. “If people are having fun,” he says, “they’re going to learn be er.” The next step, not surprisingly, is addressing the runninginto-a-tree issue. “Ge ing speed under control is a big priority for us.”

A maneuver involving a slackening of the jaw and an extending of the index finger, coupled with a variation on the phrase “Oh my God, it’s Heidi Klum!”; may result in injury if practiced at high speeds.

At the Jerome Hotel’s J-Bar, in Aspen, Colo., “the most uncool thing you can do is ask a celebrity for an autograph,” says hotel general manager Tony DiLucia. This is partly why celebs from John Wayne to Johnny Depp have felt comfortable planting their elbows on the ornate Chippendale bar at this circa-1889 watering hole. Though the Jerome is reopening in December after a redesign, the J-Bar remains largely untouched (save for some new furniture and a lick of paint). Certainly, no one is in a hurry to change the spirit of the place. “All are welcome,” says DiLucia, “and all are treated the same.”



Double Black Diamond

There’s something gratuitous about the “double” in “double black diamond,” a term that calls to mind stacked adjectives like “super-mega-huge.” Why not just go with “black-diamond-times-infinity”? At Colorado’s Telluride Ski Resort, this isn’t so far off Describes trails reserved for those the mark. The Mak-M-Stairs-Plunge (steep, bumpy, whose après-ski is exclusively unimaginably fast) is tough on the way down, devoted to interminable boasting. while Palmyra Peak, with its 50-degree pitch, is (Note: Novices who inadvertently just as hard on the way up (requiring a hike of end up on a DBD should sob extravagantly until help arrives.) more than an hour from the lift to reach the top).

Ego Snow

Snow whose consistency is so ideal, whether by artifice or a confluence of natural conditions, that even juddering rookies get to turn like a pro.

Rising to about 7,500 feet, Kronplatz is the Alpine equivalent of Tom Cruise: not the tallest fellow on the block,

but extremely well turned out. Few ski areas on earth are subjected to such meticulous, obsessive grooming as this picturesque resort in Italy’s Dolomites. The nightly efforts of Kronplatz’s “slope heroes”—the folks who do the

grooming—are especially heroic to those for whom turning and stopping are issues. “Making turns on good snow is be er than on bumpy or broken snow,” deadpans Kronplatz spokesman Artur Costabiei. “It helps to prevent injuries and accidents.” Hear, hear.


The two lumps of ice a ached to the ends of a skier’s legs; a word o en used in conjunction with the phrase “are killing me.”

Forget what the how-tos tell you. The first thing you need to know before hi ing the slopes is this: Snow is cold; the closest body part to the snow is the foot; ergo brrr. Which is why we love the Therm-ic Footwarmer SmartPack Remote rc1200 with Heat-Ready Insoles ($430). The ba ery-powered insoles have three heat se ings, adjustable by remote control. Why didn’t evolution think of that?



detail stuff like altitude, temperature, speed, jump Specialized eyewear whose benefits analytics, run count and are twofold: They look cool and geographic location—all of they help prevent you from hurtling which can be stored on your headlong into stuff. computer for subsequent bragging sessions. Oh, and the If you’re keen to inject lens is fog-resistant, which is a li le science fiction into also kind of important. your day on the mountain, then Zeal Optics’ Z3 GPS Live Goggles ($649) are the way to go. They look like something you might wear while fending off an alien invasion, and their smart, polar-/ photo-everything lens would certainly come in handy if said aliens happened to be wielding powerful intergalactic glare guns. But the real ooh factor here lies in the in-goggle display screen, which provides Minority Report–like graphics that



Indy Grab

The most basic of myriad snowboarding grabs; involves grasping the edge of one’s board, midair, in an effort to elicit gasps from onlookers.

An activity for those skiers whose prowess is so off-thecharts that they can only find suitably challenging terrain via the skies (a.k.a. off-off-off-piste).

So you’ve finally figured out how to execute a turn without doing a face-plant or sliding down the mountain on your back. Congratulations. Your sense of accomplishment, however, will rapidly falter when you find yourself surrounded by a swirl of 720s and flying tail-grabs on the trails. Don’t fret—help is at hand. From the company that

helped define the sport comes Burton Snowboards’ Learn to Ride, covering everything from how to avoid ge ing snow up your nose to all manner of freestyle shenanigans. Company founder Jake Burton launched the program back in 1998 with three locations; today there are more than 200, with each individual ski resort gearing the LTR curriculum for its clientele and terrain. So it is that we have people in various parts of the world shouting things like “Bon shi y, Pierre!” and “Gut indy, Hans!”

Skiing “the Roof of the World” may not be to everyone’s taste, but if your idea of a good day out calls for remote, rugged, ridiculously elevated terrain with sublime scenery and scads of virgin snow, then heli-skiing the Indian Himalayas will not disappoint. One company to fly with out here is Himalayan Heli Adventures, which promises to transport you to trails some 16,000 feet up, with vertical drops exceeding 4,000 feet. And the thrills don’t end at backof-beyond hurtling: HHA’s après offerings include hot springs, temples, Tibetan monasteries, the Manali Bazaar and “snow leopards preying on flocks of goats.” That last bit isn’t such a good thing for the goats, admi edly, but it’ll make for an interesting anecdote to tell when you get back home.


The act of disengaging oneself from the snow to either jump or ride over an alien object, such as a log or stone.

No matter how proficient they are, chances are there will come a time in every slope slicker’s career when the cranium encounters an immovable object. Such a moment is, as a rule, made considerably more agreeable if a

helmet is involved. For one thing, there’s less physical pain. There’s also the possibility that the right helmet will help diminish psychic pain—that is, your mortifying fail will be mitigated by the fact that you look good doing it.

POC Sports’ Receptor Bug (starting at around $120), which comes in 10 colors, is big with tricksters because it’s a handsome helmet, yes, but also one that makes jibbingrelated mishaps easier to bear. Plus, as a spokesman puts it, the Bug finally brings to an end “the constant conflict between ventilation and protection,” which will have important ramifications on your post-ski socializations, scent-wise.



Knuckle Dragger

trails follow natural mountain contours and there’s very li le snowmaking. You A term used by skiers to describe snowboarders, ski as nature intended, or not at all. And referring to the crouched, loose-armed stance when we say “ski,” we mean just that: of these territorial rivals, as well as to their The resort isn’t open to snowperceived lack of finesse. boarders. As former owner Betsy Pra reportedly sniffed, Mad River Glen is like one of those gen“Snowboarding on a ski mouneral stores you still find in Vermont—the tain is like playing croquet on ones selling apple cider made by a local named Mavis. There’s a fierce dedication to the 18th green. You can do it, tradition at this Fayston, Vt., resort, which but I don’t think it’s opened more than half a century ago. The appropriate.”

Milk Run
An inordinately early session whose main advantages are that the snow is pristine, the light is magical and the lateral bullets are mostly still abed.

Lateral Bullet
A skier whose engagement with the forces of gravity and friction has gone so badly that he finds himself pinging across the slopes rather than down them.

For inexperienced skiers, there must be something comforting about heading for Diamond Peak, given that this Nevada resort is located in a place called Incline Village as opposed to, say, Plummeter’s Gulch. Fi ingly, much of the resort is geared toward making the rookie’s cross-trail pinging as pain-free as possible. The slopes at this Tahoe favorite tend to be gentle and—most important—wide. The patrons, moreover, are not the sort given to providing spirited commentaries when you cut them off.

Being Norway’s largest ski resort isn’t the only thing that distinguishes Trysil, in the eastern county of Hedmark. It’s also an exceptionally comely place. And, a couple of times a week, you can have it all to yourself (nearly) by joining its early morning ski sessions. The daybreak runs start at 7 a.m. with a “normal Norwegian breakfast” (cheesy crispbreads, ham rolls, etc.) in a small wooden hut at the base of Høgegga. This is the peak with the highest concentration of black-diamond slopes in the resort (the longest run being 17,700 feet). Høgegga is, according to Trysil spokeswoman Lise Moen, “challenging even for the good skiers”—and yet there’s a great sense of peace to be had hurtling down its deserted slopes, the sun just beginning to tinge the treetops. “All you can hear is the sound of your skis carving the virgin snow,” Moen says. “It’s a special feeling.”




located in New York’s majestic Adirondacks, The most damning term in the is renowned for having skier’s vocabulary, encompasssome of the most whiteing everything from someone whose boots are on backward to knuckle slopes in the a skier who fails to adequately eastern U.S., as well as execute a corkscrew 720. the loftiest drop this side of the Rockies (3,430 The names say it all: feet). And while there are Cloudspin, Skyward, no trails called “Noobs, Lookout Below. Do Not Even Think About Whiteface Mountain,

Skiing Here,” the 35-acre expanse known as The Slides is a preferred spot for those who like to do their skiing in the absence of terrified howls. Often icy and littered with hazards, The Slides pretty much guarantees a noob-free day on the slopes.

Opening Day
A special date in a resort’s skiing calendar, o en marked by drinking, dancing, whooping and morning-a er head-holding.

Abbreviation of “powder”; signifies that the person using the word is both a fan of powder and so well versed in ski culture as to be comfortable speaking in code.

Most ski resorts celebrate opening day in one form or another, but Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., takes the tradition to its extreme. Beginning with Winter Ignite, a 24-hour shindig at Heavenly’s boisterous Tamarack Lodge, the festivities continue all week long with activities that range from rock concerts to displays by aerial acrobats. There is, however, a potential downside to all this merrymaking. “Heavenly leads the world in first chairs missed,” says Russell Pecoraro, the resort’s communications director. “It’s important to pace yourself, because if you go too big your first night, it can compromise the skiing aspect of your vacation.”

Quiver, One-Ski
A ski that can be used by powder hounds and groomers equally comfortably; the skiing equivalent of a Swiss Army knife.

Skiers tend to talk about the one-ski quiver as if it were the lost city of Atlantis. One blogger has called it “a fantasy, one that’s easy to imagine but impossible to achieve.” Well, the Salomon Enduro XT 850 ($875) comes darn close. It may not be the world’s finest carving ski or the best on moguls, but it’s among the most versatile ever made.

The breathtaking off-piste runs, the eye-bulging views, the brilliant black diamonds— none of it means a jot if you haven’t got the right kind of snow. And for many skiers and snowboarders, the only right kind of snow is the powdery kind. The Champagne of snow. “The most delicate house of cards ever made.” Which is why they flock to Big White Ski Resort in Okanagan, British Columbia. Thanks to the area’s copious snowfall, reliably low temperatures and relatively dry air, there are impressive heaps of the stuff here. As one powder aficionado emotes, “It gives a supreme feeling of freedom and mobility, a great sense of flying, moving anywhere in a great white paradise.”



Salami Sandwich

A compound adjective used among snowboarders to describe food that is poor and overpriced (“I found the salmon en croûte to be somewhat salami sandwich”).


Describes old-school resorts that allow skiers to pretend they’re Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade’s “When Strangers Meet” scene (or, in this instance, “When Strangers in Gore-Tex Meet”).

Après-ski dining too o en consists of burgers the texture of snow boots, washed down with a flagon of whatever yellow beer is closest to hand. A er all, it’s all about the fuel, right? Not for Clement Gelas, executive chef at Slopes at the Waldorf Astoria Park City in Utah. A French national, Gelas specializes in “upscale Alpine cuisine” (cherrywood-smoked short ribs, cumin-poached wild king salmon), while the Slopes wine wall can accommodate 2,000 bo les of the good stuff. There’s also a hot chocolate cart making the rounds, allowing diners to customize their drink with such ingredients as cardamom and crème de menthe. And if it’s fuel you’re a er, try the spaghe i-and-meatball cupcake at the adjacent Crave Café. It’s said to be very filling.

It seems odd to go looking for tradition in a place that’s been open only four years, but Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Lodge hits all the right notes. The hotel, which aims for a Vermont-Alpine aesthetic, is built out of local timber and stone. Its design evokes the ostentatiously rustic New England country retreats favored by Boston Brahmins a century ago, albeit with a few contemporary twists, while the floor-to-ceiling windows offer a constant reminder of what brought that old money here in the first place. Even the restaurant has a retro feel to it: Executive chef Josh Berry (born and raised in the area) is given to making dishes like lobster potpie, a high-end take on a Yankee staple.  


Abbreviation of “telemark,” the somewhat bewildering form of skiing that forgoes sharp turns for maneuvers that require willyou-marry-me knee-bending.

If you’re one of the brave few who enjoy this hybrid of Nordic and Alpine skiing, chances are you’ve spent a fair amount of time hunting for a resort where your fellow skiers don’t give you strange looks. At Colorado’s Crested Butte Mountain Resort, you can be sure you’ll be surrounded by plenty of like-minded folks. In fact, when telemark was in the midst of a rebirth in the 1970s, Crested Butte was the delivery room. As the home of the U.S. Telemark Extreme Freeskiing Championships, the resort boasts some of the most challenging telemark terrain around. But not everyone who skis here needs to be a pro, since its wide variety of terrain allows for seven levels of difficulty. As professional telemark skier and Crested Butte native Max Mancini observes, it’s the kind of place where tele-heads come on holiday “and never leave.”



Underwear, Appropriate
An aspect of skiing a ire that o en doesn’t receive enough a ention, leading to the opposing discomforts of perspiration and frost.

Vertical Drop
A slightly misleading term for the skiable distance between a mountain’s peak and its base; the drop itself, if actually vertical, would be called a cliff.

One of the most critical challenges involved in winter sports is maintaining climate control around one’s base camp. You’re hot, you’re cold—either way, you’re not happy. Predictably, it took Norwegians to come up with a solution. Sports apparel company Odlo has spent 66 years exploring this conundrum, an epic investigation that has resulted in Odlo Evolution thermal underwear ($105– $130), which promises to find an in-trouser balance between Arctic Circle and Amazon rain forest.

Anyone who’s subject to nosebleeds or vertigo will probably want to steer clear of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. Some 90 percent of the slopes surrounding this French resort town—which, unsurprisingly, is crawling with mountain climbers during the summer—are located 6,500 feet above sea level. It boasts one of Europe’s highest cable cars, which rises to 12,000 feet, the starting point for a 13-mile descent on demanding, unmarked trails. Its Grands Montets slopes offer an altitude of 10,700 feet (or more, if you decide to climb up to the observation platform). From here, there’s a world-beating, quadbusting uninterrupted vertical drop of about 7,000 feet—part of that on a glacier. As one skiing enthusiast puts it, “Your legs are happy when you finally reach the lower gondola.”


A condition in which various permutations of airborne moisture make for poor visibility, the worst examples of which deter all but the most intrepid/stupid skiers.  

When the squalls set in and it becomes impossible to see the tips of your skis, let alone the winding trail in front of you, your thoughts may, understandably, wander to the sandy shores of a tropical island paradise like the Bahamas

or Turks and Caicos. While Idaho’s Silver Mountain Resort doesn’t have gently swaying palms or drinks served in coconut shells, it does have surfing. Among the a ractions at Silver Rapids, the resort’s 44,000-square-foot indoor water park, is a “continuous surf wave” upon which you can wipe out to your heart’s content in carefully calibrated summertime temperatures. There’s also a more sedate wave pool, a lazy river, a warm spring, a whole bunch of slides and, of course, a

poolside bar. With a li le imagination and a rum-based cocktail or two, you could almost be in the Caribbean. (As for that scary, incessant howling you can hear outside—well, that’d be the humpback whales, singing to each other as they frolic in the turquoise waters just offshore. )



X-C (or Cross Country)
A form of skiing whose gentle pace fools people into thinking it’s a gentle pursuit, a misconception that invariably leads to leg cramps, lung seizures and bickering of the “Slow down, will you!” variety.

So you want a change of pace and have decided to give crosscountry skiing a shot. Wonderful. First, you’re going to need the right equipment— because while you are unlikely to suffer serious injury engaging in this low-velocity activity, shin splints are a constant threat. Fischer Cruiser cross-country skis ($190) are lightweight and durable, and bristle with special features: “wide-body technology” to keep you upright and a “single/double crown climbing system” to keep you moving. They also boast a “bulletproof” surface, presumably for those cross-country moments when skiers get really, really frustrated with their lack of progress.

Yard Sale
A phrase that smug bystanders tend to call out when a particularly spectacular fall leads to a skier’s hat, gloves, skis, poles and dignity being sca ered down the mountainside.

Zipper Line
The fastest route down a trail of moguls, the traversing of which requires that a skier will deliberately negotiate perilous bumps in the pursuit of peer approval.

For most, Switzerland’s Zermatt needs no introduction. It boasts some of the highest, most adventurous and most diverse trails on the planet. It also tends to attract those who like their slopes bumpy. Zermatt is where the big-time mogul skiers come to train and race. There are 23 miles of knee-jerking, teeth-rattling trails here—about 10 percent of the resort’s total—and they are not a good place to be if you don’t know your stuff. Zermatt spokeswoman Lorena Donnabella, revealing a wonderful flair for understatement, says that these slopes “are not usual,” that “you will find some difficulties” and that “you should be a good skier or snowboarder if you’d like to enjoy the mogul piste.” Got that?

When you finally come to rest at the bottom of the slope, sans gear and resembling a powdered doughnut, conventional wisdom suggests collecting your belongings and strapping in for another go. You don’t want to be a noob forever, right? But for those of us who’d rather nurse our sore limbs and ego with a massage, a soak and, say, a traditional Japanese meal and a smoke in a Havanainspired cigar lounge, there are places like the stately Alpina Gstaad, which debuts Dec. 1 as the first five-star property to open in the ultra-exclusive Swiss Alpine village of Gstaad in 100 years. Here, the luxurious off-mountain amenities will alleviate any feelings of inadequacy. After a markedly dramatic spill, there’s the 4,300-square-foot Panorama Suite, complete with private spa treatment room, outdoor hot tub and sweeping balcony from which you can heckle your former detractors between sips of cognac as they hobble off the mountain at the end of the day.



Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful