[Editor's note: ...And my boyfriend wonders why I won't go skiing with
A Skier's Dictionary
Condensed from "Skiing: A Skier's Dictionary"
Henry Bread and Roy McKie
Alp: One of a number of ski mountains in Europe. Also a shouted request for
assistance made by a European skier on a U.S.mountain. An appropriate
reply: "What Zermatter?"
Avalanche: One of the few actual perils skiers face that needlessly
frighten timid individuals away from the sport. See also: Blizzard,
Fracture, Frostbite, Hypothermia, Lift Collapse.
Bindings: Automatic 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, and so on and
on, eventually causing the entire slope to be protected from serious
Bones: There are 206 in the human body. No need for dismay, however: TWO
bones of the middle ear have never beeen 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 isn't skiing. See Cross-Country
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-sculped drift.
Exercises: A few simple warm-ups to make sure you're prepared for the
* Tie a cinder block to each foot with old belts and climb a flight of
* 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.
Gloves: Designed to be tight enough around the wrist to restrict
circulation, but not so closefitting as to allow any manual dexterity; they
should also admit moisture from the outside without permitting any dampness
within to escape.
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. See Inertia.
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
* 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 irrestible force meets an immovable object, an unethical
lawyer will immediately appear.
Prejump: Manuever 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. Another warning skiers should be familiar with is "Avalanche!" -
which tells everyone that a hill is coming down the hill.
Skier: One who pays an arm and a leg for the opportunity to break them.
Stance: Your knees should be flexed, but shaking slightly; your arms
straight and covered with a good layer of goose flesh; your hands forward,
palms clammy, knuckles white and fingers icy, your eyes a little crossed
and darting in all directions. Your lips should be quivering, and you
should be mumbling, "Why?"
Thor: The Scandinavian 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.