Definition of couloir in English:



  • A steep, narrow gully on a mountainside.

    • ‘This technique will get you down a couloir no wider than your skis, allow you to climb - albeit strenuously - without skins, and save you from all manner of hairy situations.’
    • ‘Under a bluebird sky, he stood staring at 5,000 vertical feet of untracked powder, which disappeared down a steep-walled couloir that hadn't been touched all winter.’
    • ‘He is known for skiing big alpine faces, couloirs, and even serious ice climbs, from the Alps to the Himalayas.’
    • ‘‘Those couloirs have been there forever,’ says Dawson, ‘and we've had athletes capable of skiing them for 20 or 30 years.’’
    • ‘‘No guts, no glory’ is the motto here and the 2,500 skiable acres of the resort includes innumerable chutes, bowls, faces and couloirs with legends of die-hards and desperadoes and near-death experiences attached to them.’
    • ‘Shorter skis weigh less, are easier to carry on a pack, and will turn with ease through the tightest trees and narrowest couloirs.’
    • ‘We dropped our packs and did a fast recon up to the base to find our line: a steep couloir to a knife-edge ridge to the summit.’
    • ‘They were not roped together at this point, and Doug decided to scout a way across the rock face into another chimney, or perhaps to a couloir they could use as a way down.’
    • ‘Coated with tasty Utah powder, the narrow couloir below us was nothing less than a 2,000-vertical foot statement of nature's perfection.’
    • ‘About two hours after departing the lodge, the group reached the bottom and entered the west couloir.’
    • ‘But at its narrowest the couloir is about two ski lengths wide.’
    • ‘So they turned their attentions to climbing a neighbouring couloir (a gully up the side of a mountain) which they completed in eight hours the following day.’
    • ‘We pick a line of lesser resistance, but nonetheless find ourselves perched above a steep couloir.’
    • ‘Unless you plan on climbing steep couloirs at over 40 degrees, or ice climbing, use one of the super-lightweight axes now available.’
    • ‘The mountain is rife with couloirs, spikes, boulders, cornices, and knobs, and a majority of its leaps are manageable by most advanced skiers.’
    • ‘My board takes a real beating as I exit the couloir.’
    • ‘Now, in a region better known for radical couloirs than radical causes, air quality has moved to the top of the agenda.’
    • ‘The group threaded its way up treacherous couloirs and 50-degree snow slopes, cutting steps with ice axes.’
    • ‘Above them, a giant serac - a hanging block of glacial ice - had collapsed and was tumbling down the couloir.’
    • ‘Under his wing, the full range of skiing opportunities became apparent: within the space of two days we tried everything from the easiest green runs to double black diamond couloirs.’
    gorge, abyss, canyon, ravine, gully, gulf, pass, defile, crevasse, cleft, rift, rent
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Early 19th century: French, ‘gully or corridor’, from couler ‘to flow’.