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Powder Play

A highly abridged encyclopedia of skiing and snowboarding

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 scattered down the mountainside.
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 Havana-inspired 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.

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?

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