Know the Slang: A Guide to Snowboard Lingo

Published on 12/30/2023 · 5 min readGet up to speed on the lingo: Snowboard Expert Justin Velasquez runs through snowboard slang terms you may hear out on the slopes.
Justin Velasquez, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Justin Velasquez

Winter is a magical time for us snowboarders, but with all the awesomeness, there can be some confusion around the language that we use. Once winter rolls around, our vocabulary changes, which can confuse beginners and expert riders alike.

This is why we’ve created a guide to snowboard slang terms. We’ll go over some common snowboarding terms you’ll hear thrown around at ski resorts to help get you up to speed!

  • Après: This is the phrase that you will hear and see a LOT at ski areas. Aprés literally means anything that takes place after a day of snowboarding. Resorts will often host Après-Ski events after the lifts close; it is highly encouraged to attend them! Grabbing drinks after a long day of skiing or riding with friends is especially epic.
  • Ski Season/Snow Season: The months of winter when people are able to ski/snowboard.
  • Riding/Rider: Another term for snowboarding or snowboarder.
  • Shredding: When you are riding hard, going fast, and having fun! This is a pretty versatile term that can be used in a lot of situations.
  • Terrain Park (Park, Freestyle Park): Any place with features not commonly found on the mountain, like jumps and rails. Terrain parks can be dangerous if you don't ride within your ability, so take it slow and be safe when first starting out with park riding.

Aerial view of a terrain park. Photo by Merkushev Vasiliy

Parks and park riders have their own lingo that sounds even more foreign than regular resort terms. Below we will define some terrain park terms so you can hold a conversation with that park rider who you are stuck next to on the lift.

  • Park Rat: A snowboarder who almost exclusively rides the park.
  • Brain Bucket: A common term for a helmet.

A brain bucket like this one keeps you safe on the slopes! Photo by Anton Kositcyn

  • Jib: A jib feature is anything that you can slide on with your snowboard that is not snow: rails, boxes, and even trees that have fallen down.
  • Jibbing: The act of sliding/grinding on a jib.
  • Kicker, Booter: Another word for a jump.
  • Half Pipe: A U-shaped structure of snow that is shaped just like its name, half a pipe. This is an advanced feature and should only be used by experienced riders.

A snow cat grooming the half pipe! Photo by Marko Cermak

  • Stomp: When you land a trick off a jib or jump flawlessly.
  • Clean: Similar to stomp, a landing that is nearly flawless.
  • Sketchy: Refers to when you land a trick, but it isn’t clean.
  • Wash Out: When you can’t quite land a trick and your board skids to one side. Washing out can also be considered sketchy.
  • Slam, Eat It: Another word for fall.

This guy took quite the slam! Photo by Flystock

  • Yard Sale: A particularly hard slam where at least one piece of your gear flies off your body and ends up somewhere on the mountain, like your goggles or helmet-mounted GoPro.
  • Send It: Attempting a trick; this term is used mostly for bigger features and harder maneuvers. For example, looking at a large jump and saying, "Send it, dude!".

Next, let's check out lingo related to snowboard stance, chairlifts, types of terrain, and riding styles.

  • Goofy: A snowboard stance where you ride with your right foot forward.
  • Regular: A stance where you ride with your left foot forward.
  • Chairlift: The chairs that take you up the mountain!

Time to get off the chairlift! Photo by scottshoots

  • T-Bar Lift: These are different than chairlifts and aren't usually as long. The chairs are replaced by T-shaped bars that riders put between their legs. You don't need to unstrap to take a T-bar.

T-Bars aren't as common as chairlifts but you'll still see them at a lot of resorts! Photo by pigl3t

  • First Chair: When you are lucky enough to ride the first chairlift of the day up the mountain!
  • First Tracks: When you are the first rider on any given trail. Getting first tracks is common for early risers who catch the first lifts and backcountry riders. There's nothing better than being the first person to touch fresh powder.
  • Pow (Powder, Pow Pow): The sweet fluffy fresh snow that all riders crave. This deep snow is created after heavy snowfall and is incredibly fun to ride. Powder days are the best!

An awesome powder run! Photo by Wlad Go

  • Face Shot: When you are riding through deep snow, and it sprays up on your face, or when your prankster friend stops close to you and sprays snow in your face.
  • Switch: When you are snowboarding down the slopes in your opposite stance, so your front foot is now your back foot. If you naturally ride regular, goofy will be your switch stance.
  • Catch an Edge: Every rider’s worst nightmare. When you're riding and your edge catches on the snow, resulting in a hard slam.
  • Chatter: The feeling of your snowboard vibrating/rattling when riding. Usually caused by higher speed or rough terrain. A stiffer board can reduce chatter at high speeds, and is typically recommended for advanced riders.

Trails are the areas on the mountain that you can ride. There are several different types of trails which we will define below.

  • Green Circle: The easiest terrain to ride on the mountain, also called bunny slopes.
  • Blue Square: Intermediate trails; a little steeper and more challenging than green circles.
  • Black Diamond: Hard trails; they are usually very steep and may have some moguls.
  • Double Black Diamonds: The hardest trails the mountain offers. For expert riders only!

The names of the runs are noted next to their difficulty rating! Photo by iofoto

  • Groomers: Trails that have been maintained by a resort’s groomer machines.

These two snowboarders are shredding up this groomer. Photo by Dmitry Molchanov

  • Corduroy: The pattern of what freshly groomed trails look like. Riding this type of snow first thing in the morning is epic!

Some beautiful corduroy. Photo by YRABOTA

  • Glades/Trees/Woods: Sections of the resort that have trails carved out through the trees. This terrain is usually for more advanced riders. It's not recommended to ride glades alone.

Awesome looking tree run! Photo by Parilov

  • Backcountry: On- or off-resort terrain that is not marked or monitored by ski patrol. Some mountains have dedicated backcountry terrain. Like glades, going into backcountry terrain is for advanced riders and should never be done alone. You should always check in with ski patrol and plan your backcountry sessions ahead of time.

Backcountry snowboarding requires specialized gear, like this splitboard! Photo by Lilkin

  • Last Run: This is the last run you take of your day.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, a solid understanding of snowboard lingo will keep you and those around you safe. If you want to talk snowboarding terms or have any questions, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations. Be prepared and have fun!

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