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Ski Slang: Help a Europhile Out

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
Yesterday, as I was making my way through some heavy, wind-affected powder, I began mentally composing an email about my day to a skier friend back in the US. It dawned on me, though, that whatever terminology I had to describe the experience risked being out of date. This got me thinking about ski slang and how it's changed since I last lived in the States about 12 years ago.

For example, when did the term gaper show up? When I was a ski bum at Snowbird in the late '80s, we called them "beaters." And what about bootpacking and post-holing? When did people start saying that? I remember just saying "hiking." When did skiers start talking about frontsides and backsides of mountains? Outside of Mt Bachelor, which has a recognizable front and back, I don't remember this distinction when I skied in the States. When did rip enter the lexicon? And when did the bro movement begin? Anyone?
post #2 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
Yesterday, as I was making my way through some heavy, wind-affected powder, I began mentally composing an email about my day to a skier friend back in the US. It dawned on me, though, that whatever terminology I had to describe the experience risked being out of date. This got me thinking about ski slang and how it's changed since I last lived in the States about 12 years ago.

For example, when did the term gaper show up? When I was a ski bum at Snowbird in the late '80s, we called them "beaters." And what about bootpacking and post-holing? When did people start saying that? I remember just saying "hiking." When did skiers start talking about frontsides and backsides of mountains? Outside of Mt Bachelor, which has a recognizable front and back, I don't remember this distinction when I skied in the States. When did rip enter the lexicon? And when did the bro movement begin? Anyone?
Welcome back, Rip. (as in Rip Van Winkle ) Did you have a nice nap?

Gaper is many years old... probably pre-turn-of-the-century. Doesn't THAT phrase make you feel old?

Bootpacking sounds way more core than hiking, and post-holing is just boot-packing where you go in up to your crotch.

Frontside and backside are just shorthand for inbounds and near-resort out-of-bounds, but also can be shorthand for on-piste and off-piste.

Rip came along, well... see above. (A good skier in North America has been a "ripper" for many years. It's ALMOST as old as "shredder".)

And the bro movement probably morphed from the surfer/skateboard crowd to the snowboarder crowd and eventually to the Powder Mag/TGR forum crowd.

Does that help?

Now you can go back to sleep and just ski.
post #3 of 86
Thread Starter 
I should also add that no one was saying core back when I lived in the States...
post #4 of 86
gaper .... just an evolution of the word "tyro" that was the dominant and more polite term when Bob and Yuki started skiing ...

A description of the look on their faces .... "agape, to stare in awe with open mouth ... "

bro .... My guess would be the MLK speeches .. "my brothers and sisters" stuff, later shortened to "bro" .... "yo, bro" .... and then adopted by the boarder "wigger" crowd who seemed to gravitate toward the "banger" bad boy image .... "sno-bros" ...

PS ... spend more time sliding and less time thinking whilst wrangling your way through powder of any sort. Here, the grass is greening and I may have to pull the mower out.
post #5 of 86
"Bro," as it is used by the ski/snowboard community, now seems closely connected to the TGR Maggot scene. But, even there, there is some discussion by the PMGear folks and others to change the name of the Bro Model skis. The argument being that to outsiders, i.e. non-core potential customers, the name sounds dated and pretentious, not to mention sexist.
post #6 of 86

Confessions of an Old Fart

Though I have spent a fair amount of time in a (admittely Canadian) ski town over the last 20 years, I did not know the terms "gaper", "steaze" and "fartbag" till I found this forum and TGR a year or so ago....

Then I had to find Wilikpedia to determine what these terms meant!:
post #7 of 86
Nevermind anglo stuff, tell us about some of the edgy lingo and practices in skiing/boarding in the Alps. Also, how do Euros feel about Bode's performance in the Olympics and his strong start this season?
post #8 of 86
Thread Starter 

Dimmi quando, quando, quando...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
Nevermind anglo stuff, tell us about some of the edgy lingo and practices in skiing/boarding in the Alps.
I can really only speak one Alpine language, Italian, well enough to parse ski slang. Here's a sampling:
  • Instead of "powder", which would be polvere, Italians say neve fresca or "new snow", the idea being that any snowfall is welcome, let's not quibble about the quality. However, heavy spring snow is "rotten snow" or neve marcia.
  • The "gaper" concept is caught rather inelegantly as sciatore della domenica, or "Sunday skier", a bit of snobism linked to the conceit that serious skiing is done in full weeks by those who own homes in the mountains. This expression also predates two-day weekends. Saturday is a traditional workday here.
  • A faceplant is simply a volo or "flight", which works well after you've fallen. Ho fatto un volo or "I took a flight" makes you sound like a jetsetter rather than some snow-covered loser.
  • A lot fewer people here ski offpiste or fuori pista than in North America, and I'm amazed at how many skiers tell me non sono capace or "I don't have the capacity" to ski powder... and that they don't want to try. This is linked to Italians' unwillingness to be seen looking awkward, to fare la brutta figura, which means more powder for the rest of us.
  • The word for "trail", as many of you may know, is pista, but you probably are not aware that this also means ashtray, or at least that's what I gather from all the cigarette butts I see on any trail unfortunate enough to be under a lift.
  • Oh, and the word for an all-out, no-holds barred scrum is coda, which is best translated as "tail", but people here seem to use the word when referring to the area in which you would expect to see a liftline.
In response to some of the other posts, I was actually looking for timing rather than definitions. I kind of know what all the terms mean, just wondering how long they've been in use... and who wants to date themselves by remembering exactly when people started using them.
post #9 of 86
My guess on the timing for rip would be from the late 60's and the evolution of the shorter and lighter surfboards that allowed for a much more agressive style ....

The cut you made on the face of a wave was a "rip" as if you had slashed it.

bro ... a shortening from the urban black movement also of the late 60's
post #10 of 86

as long as the dictionary is open....

maggot?? jong??
post #11 of 86
Maggots are to TGR as bears are to the epicski crowd here.

Jong would be a "jerk-off/jack-off-newbie-gaper". Used to describe a clueless new skier.
post #12 of 86
What is 'barking bear' anyways?
post #13 of 86
I always thought that "Maggot" referred to Powder Magazine chat board members. That is, Maggot derived from "magazine". Well, maybe I just made that up to myself....

Gapers: Definitely, guys who do not belong in the BC. Oops!... BC = Backcountry.
post #14 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

1. Gaper is many years old... probably pre-turn-of-the-century. Doesn't THAT phrase make you feel old?


2. Frontside and backside are just shorthand for inbounds and near-resort out-of-bounds, but also can be shorthand for on-piste and off-piste.
1. I don't think so.

2. Uh...what? According to whom?
post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool View Post

1. I don't think so.
I'm not sure about the reference here. You don't think the word "gaper" is many years old, or you don't feel the phrase "before-the-turn-of-the-century" makes you feel old?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSchool View Post

2. Uh...what? According to whom?
Me.
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
gaper .... just an evolution of the word "tyro" that was the dominant and more polite term when Bob and Yuki started skiing ...

A description of the look on their faces .... "agape, to stare in awe with open mouth ... "


bro .... My guess would be the MLK speeches .. "my brothers and sisters" stuff, later shortened to "bro" .... "yo, bro" .... and then adopted by the boarder "wigger" crowd who seemed to gravitate toward the "banger" bad boy image .... "sno-bros" ...

PS ... spend more time sliding and less time thinking whilst wrangling your way through powder of any sort. Here, the grass is greening and I may have to pull the mower out.
You're on your own with that bizarre MLK bit :, but just a note about the word in red here: it exists purely as a reference to what Americans so preciously call "the N-word".

So, if you're not going to use "the N-word", don't use "the W-word".

Besides the very concept is ridiculous and racist - hiphop culture is the dominant force in current youth culture.

To label and therefore criticize white kids for being part of their own culture simply because most of the originators of the music are black is a racist double-standard that doesn't bear the slightest scrutiny.

Flaviaman - "Steeze" is from the abovementioned hiphop/rap culture. It means "style". Two "e"'s.
post #17 of 86

Gaper

I first started hearing the tearm "gaper" at Big Sky in the early 90's.

A lot of people use the term too widely - basically to describe anybody who is below their skill level. I use it to describe someone who has no common sense, like guys who stop right in the middle of a traverse or on a run-out track. Everyone's a flailing beginner at some point, but it takes a special kind of moron to be a gaper.

Oldschool - thanks for the PC update.
post #18 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
I first started hearing the tearm "gaper" at Big Sky in the early 90's.

A lot of people use the term too widely - basically to describe anybody who is below their skill level. I use it to describe someone who has no common sense, like guys who stop right in the middle of a traverse or on a run-out track. Everyone's a flailing beginner at some point, but it takes a special kind of moron to be a gaper.

Oldschool - thanks for the PC update.
Definitly agree with you. Gapers can even be good skiers/boarders. People that huck things blindly without checking to make sure the landings clear=gaper. That kind of behavior could hurt someone else.

And I think that bootpacking/postholing are just more descriptive words for hiking. Bootpacking comes from skiing BC where you are ussually skining. In my mind bootpacking is on something too steep to skin, and ussually involves kicking steps into the snow as you go up. Maybe thats just me though.
post #19 of 86
Funny thing back before I was an avid skiier my brother and I used the term gaper quit often but it was short for gaping-a$$-hole. If the guy was an over the top a-hole, then he would be a ripped-torn-gaping-a$$hole. Gaper as we use in skiing would be a poseur back in my BMX days basically a dude with cool gear all outfitted but clueless as how to actually use it.
post #20 of 86
OldSchool ..... The man had questions on the origins of the words. The word "wigger", is not a substitute for "nigger". The term originated as comment about white kids who adopted the "hip hop" style of dress and speech.

Going back, my first association with the term was from a friend who coaches an all black JC basketball team in Washington DC, his son (white), who practiced with the team and adopted the dress was called a "wigger" by the black kids ..... "a white boy who wants to be a nigger" (their term for Jake) and not said in a way of disrespect to him as an individual but I suppose it can be.

Many of the civil rights speeches of the early 60's had reference to brothers and sisters .... probably in a general way, but later became the provence of the black community in general speech, a term of affinity and solidarity .... along with "right on" ...

I guess you had to be here and living in the cities for that part of the experience. Vancouver???

Seems you are looking for issues instead of listening to honest answers ... I know a few nice windmills that need slaying ...
post #21 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
OldSchool ..... The man had questions on the origins of the words. The word "wigger", is not a substitute for "nigger". The term originated as comment about white kids who adopted the "hip hop" style of dress and speech.

Going back, my first association with the term was from a friend who coaches an all black JC basketball team in Washington DC, his son (white), who practiced with the team and adopted the dress was called a "wigger" by the black kids ..... "a white boy who wants to be a nigger" (their term for Jake) and not said in a way of disrespect to him as an individual but I suppose it can be.

Many of the civil rights speeches of the early 60's had reference to brothers and sisters .... probably in a general way, but later became the provence of the black community in general speech, a term of affinity and solidarity .... along with "right on" ...

I guess you had to be here and living in the cities for that part of the experience. Vancouver???

Seems you are looking for issues instead of listening to honest answers ... I know a few nice windmills that need slaying ...
uh oh, you said the N word in a completly abstract way, talking about others using it, and not directing it towards anyone, you must be a rascist huh?
post #22 of 86
Thread Starter 
Wow, who knew we'd go off in this direction. But thanks Jer for your timing on the term "gaper". By the way, do US skiers still say yardsale after a fall in which the skier loses all his gear? I used to love hearing that at Waterville or Cannon, with the New Hampshire accent (yahd sale!).
post #23 of 86
In reference to all this "wigg(er)in' out"...

The use of terms like "brother" and "sister" in public and ordinary speech within a discourse community hardly originated with Black Americans involved in the Civil Rights movement. In fact, it's quite ancient and pervasive through human culture.

Where did skiers get it? Surfers seem to be the likely origin. When was the last time you heard the crowd in a long liftline suddenly break out in "We Shall Overcome"?
post #24 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
Nevermind anglo stuff, tell us about some of the edgy lingo and practices in skiing/boarding in the Alps. Also, how do Euros feel about Bode's performance in the Olympics and his strong start this season?
After the italian crash course, here's the french one :
  • powder = [neige] poudreuse. Pow would be 'peuf', slough = 'sluff' (phonetics actualy), crud = 'trafolle' or 'neige trafollée'.
  • "gaper" could be translated simply as 'touriste', or 'parisien' (parisian, actualy a very useful dismissive expression for every kind of human behavior...)
  • A faceplant, as in italian, is a 'vol'. Or a beautiful 'pelle'.
  • Off piste = hors-piste (duh) or 'free-ride'. Touring / skinning = 'randonnée' ('rando'). If you spend too much time off the lifts, doing 'rando', chances are you're a 'barbu'. (bearded)
  • Various colloquialism expressing the idea of a nice crash : 'se bourrer', 'se planter', 'se crouter', 'un carton'...
  • To rip = 'tracer', 'bourrer' (again), [tout] 'déchirer', 'avionner'...
(Neither of this is really 'edgy' though. I'm a little old for that...)
post #25 of 86
I can assure you that as very active member of the surf/skateboard community in the early 60's and 70's ...... we didn't use the term "brother".

"Word" ....

always wondered about the brand name "Dakine" ..... since we did copy pidgeon Hawaiian ..... "da kine" .... meant that kind .....
post #26 of 86
I can assure you that as a reasonably active member of the surfing community on three continents in the 80s, "bro" and "brah" were *very* common in those days. Granted, after "the movie" it was used sort of ironically, except by poseurs of course.

I think you're right about Dakine, BTW. I've heard that before.
post #27 of 86
faber, that is exactly my point ... it becomes the language of one group and then is adopted by another at a later point.

got that "gremmie" .... ??? What movie?

bring back ..... "stoked" ..
post #28 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
always wondered about the brand name "Dakine" ..... since we did copy pidgeon Hawaiian ..... "da kine" .... meant that kind .....
I always thought it was a reference to kine bud. Huh.
post #29 of 86
Yuki,

My point was simply that the use of "brother"/"sister", and their derivitives, did not begin with Black Americans during the American Civil Rights Movement nor did skiers get the term from them.

You're right: language, semantics, and usage does move from group-to-group over time.

The "movie" was "North Shore." After that came out, everyone was all "Hey, brah, are you goin' shreddin' today? Hang loose, dude." It was kinda funny.

"Stoke" is still around, albeit in a nominalized form (used as a noun), so is "gnar."

Cheers, all
post #30 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
OldSchool ..... The man had questions on the origins of the words. The word "wigger", is not a substitute for "nigger". The term originated as comment about white kids who adopted the "hip hop" style of dress and speech.

Going back, my first association with the term was from a friend who coaches an all black JC basketball team in Washington DC, his son (white), who practiced with the team and adopted the dress was called a "wigger" by the black kids ..... "a white boy who wants to be a nigger" (their term for Jake) and not said in a way of disrespect to him as an individual but I suppose it can be.

Many of the civil rights speeches of the early 60's had reference to brothers and sisters .... probably in a general way, but later became the provence of the black community in general speech, a term of affinity and solidarity .... along with "right on" ...

I guess you had to be here and living in the cities for that part of the experience. Vancouver???

Seems you are looking for issues instead of listening to honest answers ... I know a few nice windmills that need slaying ...
I know the origin and I didn't say it was a substitute, I said it can only exist in reference to the other...as evidenced by your quotation of the basketball kids.

As far as some black kids using it - what does that matter? It doesn't matter if it is or can be said without disrespect.
Did Jake return the favour? Wonder why?

Don't get me wrong - and don't label me what Americans mistakenly call a "liberal" - I'm all for widespread acceptance of the "N-word".
And it looked, in the mid-nineties, like that might happen - but then date-rapist Bill Cosby and never-been-elected-to-anything Jesse Jackson screwed that up.

A recent example of how that works is how the gay community took all of the negative power out of "queer" and "gay". The black community should have done/should do the same.

Widespread acceptance of the "N-word" would dilute its racist power, and maybe race relations in the US could actually make some progress.

I agree with your assesment of the civil right era's use of the terms "brother" and "sister'. I thought you had been saying that MLK was the originator. My mistake.

And no, Vancouver wasn't part of that - wrong country. We had a degree of racism but nothing like the horrors that went on/go on here. (I'm living in the US right now - Texas, specifically.)

btw - "mad props" for using the "W-word" and the "N-word" in equal measure. You walk it like you talk it, it seems. Very refreshing.
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