Glossary Of Terminology
We understand that terminology can sometimes be very confusing when comparing different activities and equipment. Here is a glossary of some of the regularly used terms. Sometimes terminology will be used differently by different people, what we have included here is how we define the terms for use in our desriptions.
Alpine Ski Touring - Using skis and ski skins to travel. For Alpine ski touring the skis will have bindings that lock your heel down when skiing down and then release your heel allowing you, with the use of ski skins to travel upwards.
Ski Mountaineering - Very simillar to ski touring but travelling in environments which require mountaineering skills such as moving on glaciated terrain, abseiling and using crampons and ice axe. Broadly speaking if you are using rope work skills, you're ski mountaineering.
Freeride Skiing - We use this term to describe off piste skiing using the lift systems in and around ski resorts. In Freeride skiing the emphasis is on the down but Freeriders will often skin or hike from the top of the lifts for up to an hour or two in order reach untouched snow or interesting lines and may have to skin or hike to get back to the resort after.
Day Tours - Ski touring but going up and coming back down to the valleys in a day. Day tourers will often use the lift systems for part of the up, when they can, but they will spend more time skinning. We often say as a rule of thumb that if you're spending more than a couple of hours on the way up you're on a day tour. Day tours don't always come back down to the valley they started in but they will come back to 'civilisation'.
Multi day tours - A series of day tours sometimes using one valley as a base and sometimes traveling from valley to valley.
Hut to hut tours - As the name suggests this is ski touring travelling between mountain huts. Often over the course of 3 - 5+ days this is generally what people think of when talking about ski touring.
Telemark Skiing - We use the term Telemark to refer to Alpine Telemark skiing, not Nordic or Cross Coutry skiing. Often used to travel on steeper terrain than Nordic or Cross Coutry skiing, Alpine telemark skiing uses alpine skis with a side cut (radius) and plastic boots with Alpine Telemark binding systems which attach your boot at the toe but keep your heel free whilst skiing. Discussons will rage on about what is true Tele Skiing!
Resort Skiing - Skiing in and around the ski resorts on and off the piste but just using the lift system to get back up.
Ski Skins - Traditionally made from seal skins, modern ski skins are fabric strips with adhesive backs that get stuck to the bottom of the ski when you want to travel up or along the flat. The skins are covered in fibres which are all alligned so as to allow the ski to slide forward easily but grip on the snow and stop the ski sliding backwards. Available in many types, shapes and sizes. (see the ski skin section for more).
Flex or flex index - Ski boots flex forward when we ski, allowing the skier's shin to move closer to and further away from the toes. Manufacturers grade the forward stiffness by using the flex index. This runs from around 60 up to 130+ The flex "index" is not a universal, calibrated, scale, and it is best seen as a general guide to the relative stiffness of boots within a range.
AT Flex - AT Flex refers to the stiffness of boots with a walk mode, it is different to the normal flex index. Remove 15-20 from an AT flex number to get a 'normal' flex index figure. Very confusing system.
Performance - when we refer to performance in relaton to skis and ski boots, we usually mean how well a ski, binding or boot (or the combination of all three) behaves when skied in difficult terrain or by a strong skier. Torsional stiffness (the extent to which the ski, boot or binding twists) is the biggest single element for increasing perfomance. Practice and training (physical and mental) are even more valuable!
Power Strap - velcro and webbing strap around around the cuff of a ski boot. The power strap is tightened or loosened to alter the stiffness of the boot to change the boots skiing characteristics.
Stand Height - Used when comparing bindings. The height of your boot sole measured from the deck of the ski.
Tech Bindings - also called pin bindings. These are lightweight ski touring bindings which require special inserts in your ski boots.