Insight Update

Bizarre skiing idioms from around the world

VIP SKI reveals the ski slang lost in translation

Leading luxury ski holiday company, VIP SKI, reveals the weird and wonderful ski idioms you can expect to hear on the slopes around the world.

From snow sharks to yard sales and frozen chicken heads, VIP SKI scoured the internet to find the strangest idioms related to skiing and snowboarding.

Collating a variety of common and lesser-known idioms, VIP SKI uncovered amusing literal translations. With 53% of ski enthusiasts preferring to learn the basics of a language before visiting a country (YouGov Profiles), VIP SKI is keen to help winter holidaymakers understand the slang on the slopes in different countries.

Just some of the idioms discovered included:

  • French – On se pèle les miches – we are peeling our buttocks – it’s very cold
  • Italian – Pennellare le curve – to brush the curves – to corner perfectly
  • English – to find snow sharks – to find rocks under the snow
  • French – Il n’est pas venu acheter du terrain – he didn’t come here to buy the land – to ride at full speed
  • Norwegian – et bakgårdssalg – yard sale – a spectacular wipe out that results in a trail of debris
  • French – On dérape – we slip – we are going to the snow park
  • English – to get a mackerel smack – a hard snowboard forward fall
  • Finnish – Suksia kuuseen – to ski up a fir tree – go away

VIP SKI then worked with an illustrator to visualise the most unusual idioms to help skiers and snowboarders get to grips with slope slang. The full list of bizarre ski idioms and their meanings can be found on the VIP SKI blog.

Nicola Hardy, Marketing Manager at VIP SKI, said: “It’s fascinating to see all the weird and wonderful phrases people use when they ski or snowboard. Whilst we may be more familiar with some of the English slang phrases, European and North American phrases have proved to be just as colourful. The ski community is such a rich and diverse mix of cultures and nationalities, it’s great to be able to immerse yourself in the action and take home a phrase or two. It’s no wonder so many of us like to brush up on these common phrases before our holidays.”

Ski Slang Terms and Glossary | VIP SKI (

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