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Ski Slang 101

05 Jan, 2017 by Investors In Property

After we went back to basics for a look at ski jargon the other week, we’re taking things up a notch with the incomprehensible world of ski slang. Unlike the official jargon, these terms tend to vary slightly from resort to resort, so don’t be surprised if you encounter the odd curveball when you’re chatting with a local or a seasonaire.

So wherever you’re headed this winter, swot up on ski slang with this handy guide.


Air: achieving lift off, either on a kicker, roller, rail or just jumping while standing still. The holy grail for park rats everywhere


Bail: a falling over of any kind, e.g. “I bailed so hard on the moguls”
Bluebird: the perfect day. This describes the day after a huge snow storm, when you wake up and there’s fresh powder and blue skies outside your window
Bomber: a skier or snowboarder flying down the slopes at speed, wildly out of control. A danger to themselves and everyone else
Bulletproof: hard packed snow of the worst kind. This stuff is so tough it’s like falling on concrete


Crust: when the top layer of snow melts over the course of a ski day, then refreezes overnight, leaving a hard crust on top of powder
Crud: bad snow


Death Cookies: hard lumps of snow ploughed up by piste bashers, these are really common when it rains right before the temperature plummets. This is sometimes also called “golf balls”
Dump: a rare instance of this word being used in a positive manner. A dump refers to a huge snowfall


Face shot: when there’s so much new snow that you’re getting hit in the face with powder
Flat light: the sort of light that comes when it’s foggy or cloudy. Skiing in this light is harder than usual
Four-man: a four man chairlift. All chairlifts in ski resorts are referred to by the number of people they can carry, so expect to also see six-man, eight-man, three-man


Gnar: short for gnarly, this term means “high on the scale of dangerousness and coolness”. Not to be confused with G.N.A.R, which is Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness and is a different prospect entirely


Hero snow: These are the sort of conditions that make even the worst skier feel like Bode Miller. Often, it refers to perfectly groomed powder


Jib/jibbing: jibbing involves skiing anything and everything that isn’t snow. Jibbers live exclusively in the snow parks


Liftie: lift operator


Park rat: much like a Jibber, these guys are rarely seen outside the park. If you do spot them on the general mountain, they’ll probably be building a jump on the side of a run
Pizza/chips: slang terms for snowplough and parallel skiing. Snowplough being referred to as pizza, and parallel as chips
Pow: also known as pow-pow, this is shorthand for powder
Powder hound: someone with great skill at finding and skiing secret powder caches, wherever they are
Punter: a novice skier. Punters have all the gear, no idea. You might also hear these people called gapers (guaranteed accident prone on every run), especially across the pond
Punter gap: the gap between a helmet and goggles that punters tend to have. As above, this is sometimes known as a “gaper gap”


Ripper: a highly skilled skier


Shredder: a highly skilled snowboarder
Ski bum: a veteran seasonaire, who spends every winter in the mountains
Ski bunny: someone who is more interested in posing than skiing. As an aside, this term also inspired the nickname for beginner slopes (the bunny hill)


Tracked out: once fresh snow that has been skied repeatedly, meaning you have to go elsewhere to find good powder


White out: when it’s either too snowy or too foggy to see more than ten metres in front of you. Stick to tree lined slopes if there are any, and watch out for piste markers if not
Wipe out: a spectacular crash


Yard sale: the sort of crash that end with your belongings scattered across the mountain
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