Meaning of couloir in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkuːlwɑː/

See synonyms for couloir on


  • A steep, narrow gully on a mountainside.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘Shorter skis weigh less, are easier to carry on a pack, and will turn with ease through the tightest trees and narrowest couloirs.’
    • ‘Unless you plan on climbing steep couloirs at over 40 degrees, or ice climbing, use one of the super-lightweight axes now available.’
    • ‘Coated with tasty Utah powder, the narrow couloir below us was nothing less than a 2,000-vertical foot statement of nature's perfection.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But at its narrowest the couloir is about two ski lengths wide.’
    • ‘We pick a line of lesser resistance, but nonetheless find ourselves perched above a steep couloir.’
    • ‘The mountain is rife with couloirs, spikes, boulders, cornices, and knobs, and a majority of its leaps are manageable by most advanced skiers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘About two hours after departing the lodge, the group reached the bottom and entered the west couloir.’
    • ‘Above them, a giant serac - a hanging block of glacial ice - had collapsed and was tumbling down the couloir.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The group threaded its way up treacherous couloirs and 50-degree snow slopes, cutting steps with ice axes.’
    • ‘Now, in a region better known for radical couloirs than radical causes, air quality has moved to the top of the agenda.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My board takes a real beating as I exit the couloir.’
    gorge, abyss, canyon, ravine, gully, gulf, pass, defile, couloir, crevasse, cleft, rift, rent


Early 19th century French, ‘gully or corridor’, from couler ‘to flow’.