What we really mean when we say…
- Skiable line – Any line with enough snow – or ice – coverage that we think we can probably negotiate it without getting a core shot or wrecking our edges. A skiable line might require hops over gaps in the cover, or it may have cover thin enough to be scraped off after only one run.
- Skiable rock – A large, semi-exposed rock or boulder that’s smooth and glazed with thick enough ice to consider it a terrain feature, rather than an obstacle to avoid. You can turn on those suckers. NOTE: A dark spot in the snow where a rock is hiding under the surface is just called “snow.”
- Skiable ice – All ice is skiable – you just may not be able to do anything but go straight until you get to the other side. (See “carvable ice”)
- Carvable ice – Ice that’s soft enough that you can use sharp edges to change your trajectory. NOTE: Any surface on which you can change your trajectory enough that you’d maybe consider it a turn is just called “snow.”
- Snow – Any frozen or semi-frozen substance covering the ground that will allow you to maneuver your skis in a controlled fashion.
- Cover – A subjective calculation of risk relating the amount and consistency of the snow and/or ice on the ground to an individual’s tolerance for potential damage to equipment and self. Good cover: can be skied without much risk of encountering obstacles protruding through thin spots in the snow. Thin cover: must watch out for and avoid obstacles that would not be hazards if the snow were deeper. Bad cover: there are enough areas without any skiable substance that you’d better be on your rock skis.
- Rock skis – The old, beat-up skis you take out when you just don’t want to have to worry about whether or not you’re going to wreck the bases or edges of your skis. NOTE: We’re always impressed when we visit Mad River Glen, where folks seem to think every rock is a skiable rock and rock skis are just called “skis.” (Fuck my skis!)