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Help for all us Newbies

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
i was wondering if any of you out here in cyber space could help some of us newbies to enjoy the passion of skiing, sometime i have no idea what seasoned skiers are talking about. Knuckle dragger? Crud? Hardpack? i figured some of it out. but that leads one to wonder is there a web site someplace that explains Skiing Lexicon? or maybe someone could post a reply with the most common ones, on behalf of all newbies it'd be greatly apprecated.
post #2 of 53
Actually, there's a "humor" book that covers a lot, you can find it at Amazon or most book stores: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
post #3 of 53
Here's a free one that covers a lot:

P.S, saw a good one on there that I'm surprised no one has used as a handle yet: Carvaholic - {Skier or snowboarder addicted to the sensation of carving}.
post #4 of 53
""cyber space"" I haven't heard anyone use that phrase for ages
post #5 of 53
"Knuckle dragger" One of many insulting Skier names for Snowboarders.

"Crud" General name for the various degradations that "Powder" snow is heir to - all difficult to ski to various degrees: chopped up by skiers (Chop); partly melted so it becomes heavy and soggy (Porridge or Slush); refrozen after surace melting, so it has a crust on top (Breakable Crust- the most difficult to ski); or powder snow partly settled with time, losing much of the air in it and thus heavier and harder to turn in (can't think of a word for that).
Sun-crust too thick to break through isn't crud any more.

"Hardpack" Snow that has been pressed flat by skiers and/or Piste-bashers and general degredation so you don't sink into it at all, but you can still get an "edge" in it, it hasn't become ice.
("Edging" Tilting the ski so the edge cuts into the snow)

"Spring Snow" or "Corn" Formed when hardpack or sun-crust, too thick to break under the weight of the skier, has had its surface repeatedly melted and frozen over several days and nights, creating, when the sun melts the top layer, lovely large loose crystals which are a joy to ski. However if you ski sun-crust of this kind too late in the day you sometimes break through into the softer snow below and it becomes a horrible kind of breakable-crust.
Later in the day when melt water has percolated down this can cause wet-snow avalanches (slower but more deadly than dry snow avalanches).

"Wind-slab" A layer of snow which has been blown in a heap by the wind, degrading the crystals by breaking off their points. It collects on the lee side of slopes and makes a firm layer which behaves differently from other snow, never adhering properly to it. It often ends up with a hollow between which you can detect when it breaks under the ski. The cause of the majority of fatal avalanches.

"Champagne Powder" really, really light powder with loads of air in it. Devoutly to be wished. Inevitably it packs down with age but lasts longer (as does all powder) when it is very cold and on shaded, north facing slopes.

"Sastruggi" Hard, wind created ripples and crests on the surface of snow crust. (Is there a coloquial term in the US?)

"Slough" A very small avalanche of loose, surface snow only, which normally peters out.

"Piste" ("Trail" in the US?) A marked, patrolled, graded - route down the mountain: generally machine "Groomed" (US) or "Pisted" (Europe) so it is usually Hardpack and then becomes a "Groomer" (US term). Always marked on the resort "Piste map" (Europe) or "Trail map" (US)

"Off piste" anywhere that is not Piste.

"Carve" Put the ski on edge so that it bends in such a way that the ski follows the arc of the bend through the snow without skidding sideways, leaving tracks like tram-lines. You can have much more control than with a skidded turn (and, of benefit for racers, the ski can accelerate out of the turn and loses less momentum in the turn).
Much easier with modern "carving" skis which have a narrower waist (almost all skis are wider at the ends than the middle).

"Traverse" (noun or verb) travel (mostly) accross the slope rather than down it.

"Angulation" the tilting of the body sideways relative to the legs (normally outwards when traversing and inwards towards the centre of a turn)

"Din settings": A scale used on ski bindings that grades the force needed to release the ski from the boot - the front one allowing for sideways twists and the rear one for forwards forces.

"Telemark skis" (used by a "Telemarker" or "Free-heelers") Skis with bindings which do not fix down the heel. They pivot forward only, around the toe and are turned by going down on one knee and steering the forward ski. The earliest ski style and loved by those who want to make things harder for themselves and go back to skiing's roots.

Not to be confused with ski bindings used in "Touring" which have a free heel for walking uphill but can be fixed for skiing downhill in the normal way. Normally used with "Skins" to walk uphill (originally made of seal-skin but now synthetic). These are normally hooked over the tip of the ski and "glued" onto the base using the tacky surface on one side. The hairs on the base point backwards, allowing the ski to slide forwards but not backwards.

"Transceiver" radio beacon carried by skier to allow him to be found under an avalanche, which can be switched to receive the signal by those searching. Can be analog (older types) or digital (eg the Tracker)

Any more?

God, why have I written all this - have I nothing better to do? Yes, I do.
It was compulsive, I kept going back and adding another.
post #6 of 53
"Sastruggi" Hard, wind created ripples and crests on the surface of snow crust. (Is there a coloquial term in the US?) Moon craters, wind scallops.
A few more for the list,
Slab: cohesive layer of snow. Usually associated with avalanches (slides), think layer cake
Sluff: See slough. A small surface slide, usually teardrop shaped. Can cause (trigger) a slab slide to happen.
Settling: As the snowpack ages, it deforms and moves downhill. The result of gravity constantly pulling on the snow. Sort of like what happens to us as we age.
Creep: 1.See settling 2. the skier/boarder who just hit you (just kidding)
And my all time favorite
Face shots: snow that billows up and hits you in the face as you ski powder.
post #7 of 53
Ah, face shots. Not had many experiences of powder that light in Europe.
post #8 of 53
What is a 'newbie' ?
post #9 of 53
Yesguy, I can't believe that someone hasn't yet mentioned our own Bob Barnes' "Encyclopedia of Skiing". :. IMHO, this book is required reading for any advanced skier.


The current edition is out of print, and Bob is working on a new edition, but I believe that a CD of the current edition can be purchased here:


There are also numerous previous posts on Epic about ski slang, as well as other general instructional material such as videos that might be of interest to you. A search on Epic should turn up oodles of interesting reading for you. Here are just a few examples that showed up by searching on "Encyclopedia of Skiing".

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=27428&highlight=Encyclopedia+Skii ng

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=25314&highlight=Encyclopedia+Skii ng



Tom / PM
post #10 of 53
Snowball, 'sastrugi' and the set of similar shapes, with no specific reference to their origin as they might just be the frozen tracks of a grooming machine, are sometimes referred to as 'coral reef'
post #11 of 53
Mashed potatoes. Heavy, soft snow that has been pushed up into piles throughout the day. As in "I almost got stuck in the mashed potatoes!"

Death cookies. Pieces of hard snow or ice that have frozen on top of the suface. As in "I got knocked on my ass by a death cookie!"

Concrete. Mashed potatoes or other soft snow that has frozen up as temperatures drop back below freezing. As in "I was having fun until that crap turned into concrete!"

Corduroy. The grooved surface left behind on the slopes by the grooming machine. Also called fresh corduroy first thing in the morning. As in "Man, these skis eat corduroy for breakfast!"

Wet powder. A figment of the taped ski reporter's imagination and an oxymoron. As in "the current conditions are wet powder with an 18 to 36 inch base." Sometimes we suspect that the measurements were really in centimeters, but we can't prove it.

Whales. Long mounds of snow created on the hill. Oriented lengthwise from top towards bottom. As in "hey dude! Did you catch some air off the whale?" There are also rails, boxes, table tops, etc. If you need additional explanation, dude just ask.

Rollers. Mounds of snow, almost like dunes that go across the hill side to side. As in "those rollers are fun even for us old guys!"

Toboggan ride. The fateful trip that an injured skier takes to the Ski Patrol room. As in "did you see that guy take out the sign for Willie's Bistro? They took him away in a tobbogan!"

Mercy Flight. That sound that makes you think of the opening credits for M.A.S.H. As in "uh oh...sounds like Mercy Flight. That can't be good."

I'm sure I'll think of some more.
post #12 of 53
Some good ones I forgot there: but over here we call the tobbogan the "Blood Wagon"
post #13 of 53
Nice, nice thread!!!!
post #14 of 53
I'd suggest quitting your job and moving to a resort. You'll learn them really quick.
post #15 of 53
Thread Starter 
Man i would love to!! My dad moved to Calgary last year thats 1.5 hours from banff. he said if we wanted to move there we could stay with him until we got settled. Alas the wife won't do it, she wants to stay close to her family
post #16 of 53
As near as I can tell, "chicken heads" are a somewhat larger version of "death cookies".
post #17 of 53
How about these:

Peanut butter (about the same as mashed potatoes): snow so warm that it melts the wax off of the ski tips and causes unexpected forward lunging as it sticks to the bases of your skis.

Chicken heads: small chunks of snow that begin to melt, then, after refreezing, become like, well, frozen chicken heads.

Jibbers: another term for snowboarders.

Launched: an emphatic mode of "jumped", such as: "Dude did you see those tracks, somebody launched off 'Idiot Rock'!"

Zipper line: skiing straight down the fall line through moguls

Hucking: akin to launching, with emphasis on reckless abandonment of fear of injury, and seeking liberation from gravity.

Torched: the burning sensation, felt particularly in the quadricepts, due to zealous skiing fatigue.

Boilerplate: a sheet of blue ice

Yard sale: ski gear scattered down the slope after a big wipe out.

Sitzmark: the hole people leave when they fall in deep snow.

Hollow and rotten: when snow, due to rain or warm weather, melts from the bottom, creating pockets which collapse when skied over.

Zamboni: when inexperienced snowboarders sideslip their way down the slope turning powder into hardpack.

Boar's Back: ridgelike outcroppings of rock that love to hide beneath powder and rip grooves in your brand new powder skis.

Hat Hair: the horrible sweaty matted mess that developes under ski hats and helmets, and inclines people to keep their hats and helmets on in the lodge, even in when it's toasty warm inside.
post #18 of 53
Fall Line: (perhaps we shouldn't assume newbies know this one)
The most directly downhill line (may not be the same as the direction of the trail).
post #19 of 53
Originally Posted by Snowball
Fall Line: (perhaps we shouldn't assume newbies know this one)
The most directly downhill line (may not be the same as the direction of the trail).
You're right, and I actually thought of that when describing "zipperline" but forgot about it by the time I finished writing it. Thanks.
post #20 of 53
By the way, Volantadict I ski Volant Chubbs, what are yours?
post #21 of 53
Originally Posted by Snowball
By the way, Volantadict I ski Volant Chubbs, what are yours?
'00/'01 188s. I love 'em. I got them used (about 1 season from the looks of them) with Look TX11s for $103 on ebay back in early February.
post #22 of 53
how about this one...


stupid person on rental eqpt

or this one?


skier capable of ultimate damage (often also a s.p.o.r.e)

post #23 of 53
OMG, how has no one defined JONG?

Jaws Open, Newbie Gaper (there is an NC-17 version of the J and the O as well...)

Usage: Who's the friggin' JONG that started this thread?

Example: See, "Gonzostrike" :
post #24 of 53
Originally Posted by Latchigo
What is a 'newbie' ?
I first heard that word in the Army when I got drafted in 1972. When you went overseas for your tour of duty, you were a newbie for I don't know, two to three months, or at least until you figured out how to keep a low profile. The term came "back to the world" along with the soldiers that used it and gradually worked its way into general use, at least here in the states.

The Marines in Vietnam used a similar term, shitbird, but I think it just applied to a soldiers who were general f*ckups and not necessarily newbies.

Other ski-related terms:

Steeze -- undefinable (that helps, right? ). You'll have to browse a few Teton Gravity Research threads for a while to get a sense of how it's used. It's sort of like Mojo, which itself can be defined as generalized steeziness.

Dump -- big storm.

Permagrin -- what you get when you ski during a dump.

Dust on crust -- just what it sounds like. a dusting of power on a hardpacked, crusted over, or frozen surface.
post #25 of 53
Death Cookies: annoying little frozen marbles (often from groomers)
Chicken Heads: Larger versions, worse than annoying
Small Appliances: don't try to ski on those!!!!
post #26 of 53
Originally Posted by volantaddict
'00/'01 188s. I love 'em. I got them used (about 1 season from the looks of them) with Look TX11s for $103 on ebay back in early February.
Good deal. I ski mostly off-piste and love the way my Chubbs smash through Crud. (Newbies see "Crud") However mine are starting to delaminate for the second time and I agreed a price several weeks ago with Utah49 to buy his (hardly used). But I can't seem to raise him by email or PM: (Anyone know where he is?)
post #27 of 53
Originally Posted by firstracks
how about this one...


stupid person on rental eqpt

or this one?


skier capable of ultimate damage (often also a s.p.o.r.e)

Next news item: Bush and Blair claim Iran has s.c.u.d.s!
post #28 of 53
HAHAHAHAH, S.P.O.R.E., hahahaha.

Gotta love them death cookies.
post #29 of 53
Originally Posted by sibhusky
As near as I can tell, "chicken heads" are a somewhat larger version of "death cookies".
More often than not, chickenhead is a term used to describe a fellatious woman.
post #30 of 53
Originally Posted by Forrester
More often than not, chickenhead is a term used to describe a fellatious woman.
Fellatious???? Wasn't there a porn star by that name: Fellatious Alger? Even if it's not a real word, you're stil a cunning linguist, Forrester.
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