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What does 'gaper'mean?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
I don't normally admit my own ignorance...but..
Every now and then I read the word 'gaper' on this and other US ski sites, but I can only half-guess at what it means.
Is it an insult?
Are people who use the word superior (from their point to view) to 'gapers'? (whatever they are)
Is it likely that I was a gaper at one time?
When was the word first used?
Do we have permission to use the word 'gaper' here in the UK?
post #2 of 35
You need to post this question at powdermag.com. Those guys really know their stuff.
post #3 of 35

\Gap"er\, n.
1. One who gapes.


\Gape\, n.
1. The act of gaping; a yawn. --Addison.
2. (Zo["o]l.) The width of the mouth when opened, as of
birds, fishes, etc.

<hr noshade size="1">

<a name="4"></a>

n 1: an expression of open-mouthed astonishment
2: a stare of amazement (usually with the mouth open)
v 1: look with amazement; look stupidly [syn: goggle, gawp, gawk]
2: be wide open [syn: yawn, yaw]

Hope that helps.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 14, 2002 05:41 PM: Message edited 2 times, by JimBobBubba ]</font>
post #4 of 35
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Bridgeman:
You need to post this question at powdermag.com. Those guys really know their stuff.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That might be.
post #5 of 35
Hello David,

You are correct in the fact that it would be an insult to be called a "gaper". It could be compared to "loser" or "nerd". A person who does not know what is "hip or cool".

You could also here someone say, “that person has a gaper gap". That is when they have a big gap between their helmet and their goggles showing their forehead.

Hope that helps.
post #6 of 35
I'm pretty sure I'm a gaper.

Fortunately, I'm entirely to shallow and self-centered to care.
post #7 of 35
I'm not sure whether I totally agree with you, or totally disagree.
I don't care what others think of me, or what label is the current fashion for describing me, because I know who I am, I know what I'm like, and that's what matters.
Oh, and I don't understand American culture/language, so I'll just put it down as another Americanism. [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #8 of 35
A gaper is someone who really struggles and is often falling in the most akward ways. A lot of people act better then the gapers but we all started one day too. Tourists may get a lot of shit from the locals on the lifts but they are the reason the whole industry exists, dont forget it.
PS im called GAPer because I ski in Garmisch- Partenkirchen (GAP) not because I cant stand on my skis
post #9 of 35
Gaper is a name that you earn.
post #10 of 35
OK, a gaper isn't just a beginner on skis. Falling down, having cheap equipment, or sticking to easier runs does not make you a gaper. A gaper is someone's who is skiing, but isn't really interested in skiing, and hasn't done any homework. They tend to be ignorant of ski etiquette, and just in general fail to think (it's almost as if their brains turn off when they see snow).

Examples of gaper behavior:
- Asking the management for a refund because it was cold and snowy (happens in SoCal)
- Asking the management to turn off the snow making equipment because they left their goggles at home
- Asking where they put the snow over the summer
- Stopping in the middle of the road on a steep hill to install chains
- Being more interested in the resteraunts on the mountain than the trails.
- stopping to discuss dinner plans in the lift line blocking everyone else.
- Taking their never skied before friends to the top of the mountain because "skiing is easy, I learned last week."
- Attempting to ski terrain that's WAY beyond their level

Some resorts are more prone to gapers than other. Vail and Aspen are two big ones that come to mind, many resorts in the midwest (busloads of middle schoolers tend to have lots of gapers), and Southern California are also gaper magnets. Some states are also known for producing large numbers of gapers (Texas, or really anywhere in the South).

The term comes from the fact that gapers will often be seen standing somewhere in the way with their mouths wide open (gaping) staring at something that amazes them (mountains are often the subject of their stares). Not that it's bad to enjoy the scenery, but it tends to cause problems when you're standing in a walkway with your skis carried so they block everyone (apparently NYC also attracts gapers, who stop in the middle of the sidewalk).
post #11 of 35
i'd guess that 'gaper' originally referred to somebody who would stop in the middle or top of a run and 'gape' at the difficulty, obstructing the flow of skier traffic... in this light it's understandable how 'gaper' would be construed as negative. it's not a superiority thing, it's callin it like it is. it's since taken on a much broader meaning.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 15, 2002 01:05 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Auxcrinier ]</font>
post #12 of 35
now i know why milesb calls me a gaper. or is it just my "gaper jacket"?
post #13 of 35
It's the Levis and Nascar jacket. Oh, and the WWF headband.
post #14 of 35
Decide carefully who you call "gaper" on the basis of clothing.

A few weeks ago, I spotted this huge black dude repeatedly skiing a novice lift wearing a FEDEX jacket one day, and a pro football team jacket the next. Obviously a gaper, right?

Well, he obviously had his hands full with the spring slop, but wasn't falling, and he was making it down the hill in control.

Later, I had a chance to chat with him and found out that:

1) These were his first two days on skis - EVER;

2) He weighed 275 lbs;

3) Without his jacket on, he was obviously about 1% body fat and probably could bench press an Abrams tank;

4) He's a pro football player. (I'm intentionally witholding his name to protect his privacy).

If any of you want to call him a gaper because of his jackets, be my guest .

Tom / PM
post #15 of 35
At least tell us what team. I'd love to take the Bus skiing. I bet he'd be good as he certainly has good balance.
post #16 of 35

in the standard contract between the major league baseball players association and the owners, alpine skiing is disallowed, along with a looooong list of other activities, and a player injuring himself skiing risks losing plenty. very surprised if the NFL doesn't have the same contract. (still, i have no idea.) so, just surprising to hear of a current player out on skis. (though perhaps it is NOT a breach of contract, as, if it were, surely the player wouldn't be unwise enough to be featuring his team's jacket.)


uh oh.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 16, 2002 07:19 AM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #17 of 35
But he is still a gaper :
post #18 of 35
I think : should be renamed :gaper
post #19 of 35
ryan - Your guess about the rules for pro football players makes sense.

FWIW, a couple of instructors that I rode up with had heard about this guy (he took a lesson one day) and that he was (claiming to be) this pro player, so he certainly wasn't keeping it a big secret.

Maybe he was BS'ing everyone and giving the name of a pro that he looks like. However, just in case he was legit, I'm not going to get him in possible trouble by disclosing his name or team, but I will try to find his picture and see if it looks like the guy I met. Report to follow.

Tom / PM

PS - pro or not, I still wouldn't want this guy to hear someone call him a "gaper" - grin.

PS#2 - What's with the "POP!" line in your message?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 16, 2002 09:09 AM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
post #20 of 35
the POP was the beautiful and luscious sound of an anterior cruciate ligament saying Bye Bye in its own sweet way.

the UH OH was the sound of the player's thought as he visualizes millions cruising down the fall line, over the side of the trail, into the woods and down a tree well.

you won't know/remember/care but a mlb pitcher, big in the 60's, blew out his knee skiing. basically, end of career.

i agree, by the way, that : is becoming conveniently synonymous with things gaper.
post #21 of 35

post #22 of 35
ryan - re the skier who claimed to be a pro football player:

FWIW, I just went to the team website and found his pix, ht, wt, home town, etc. All the data matches exactly, and the guy in the picture is so close to the one I met, I can't see any difference. I'm going to have to say that it almost certainly was him. He was really quite a nice guy in person.

Tom / PM
post #23 of 35

i have no doubt. besides, the nfl contract structure is such that players tend to get big chunks of the cash up-front, in signing bonuses. that's money they have forever. (or until the 6th bentley is paid off.)
post #24 of 35
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by irul&ublo:


No, no. He just hit a gapper, probably.
First place for the Sox.
post #25 of 35
gaper, redux

and, just 4 U, Blo...

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 16, 2002 12:56 PM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #26 of 35
Thanks Ryan. Here's one for your collection:

post #27 of 35

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 16, 2002 01:26 PM: Message edited 1 time, by ryan ]</font>
post #28 of 35
My fav 'gaper' expression is of course heard on the Chicago morning traffic report. The term Gaper's delay would apply to having to sit in your car in traffic while the fool gaper's slow down to stare at whatever it is they find interesteing to 'Gape' at instead of driving past. By the way, the no skiing rule for NFL players as well as for many other Pro-sports players is a negotiable item not a blanket item. My wife and I used to water ski with a pro footabller while we were trapped in the mid-west. Thank the heavens we have left the mid-west and Gaper's delay behind! There's still 185" at the top of hood meadows! Winter's been berry, berry good too meee!
post #29 of 35
In NZ (well in parts I suppose) we generally refer to the gapers as 'punters'. But it is an endearing term, which is easily applied to oneself in moments of disaster on the slopes. A group of friends and I refer to the masses in big learner areas as the 'Happy punters', because they are generally having a great time learning and flailing as the come to grips with their technical deficiencies.
post #30 of 35
Gaper in car = rubber-necker

Chalet staff in Europe refer to their customers as punters, as do many businesses. But the ski staff take it one step further, the gapers are called Billies.

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