Excerpts from POWDER’s soon-to-be-released reference, Snowmenclature: A Modern Ski Glossary.
ag•gres•sive stand•by: What an AK heli guide says to clients to imply there is a chance the weather will clear and they will fly. Exactly the same as “standby,” just more dynamic sounding. “How’s it going with Cindy?” “A little epic. Aggressive standby.”
beat•er: Anyone who isn’t one of your breaux.
breaux: Plural form of “bro” in France and parts of Switzerland.
chun•der: Vague, distinctly non-optimal snow surface condition and/or existential state. Chunder can originate as cold or warm snow, be tracked or untracked, wind effected or not. You just know it when you ski it. Chunder may also be used to describe anything metaphorically tracked-up, wind-fuggled, or sun-baked: the chicks at Taco/Tequila Tuesday, traffic, whatever.
cus•ties: What guides call clients when they aren’t around. It can be used derisively, but part of that is sheer jealousy. While many think it would be cool to be a guide, most experienced guides would rather be a custie because being able to turn your brain off and ski luxury laps is way more fun than guiding. So don’t get all bummed out when you finally save up enough money to go heli skiing and you overhear the guides talking about dumb stuff that custies do. You may be a beater, but you’re a beater that’s winning. Tell them to ski-cut your line and give you some candy, and look lively about it.
de•scent: A pretentious word for “run.” Skiers used to ski sweet runs; now they mission epic descents.
dou•ble-e: Simultaneously releasing from both bindings. Also applies to any abrupt exit, nasty breakup, surprise job downsizing, etc.
ep•ic: At one point it implied multi-year odysseys, adventures, wars, sorceresses, unexpected twists and turns, privation, loss, and hard-earned lessons. These days a bowl of cereal can be epic.
Face•book: If a skier skis something and doesn’t post it on Facebook, did anything actually happen? What’s the point of Killing It if nobody knows about it? Screw the fact that they’re collecting all your personal data and giving the FBI your password. If I can’t look at video of someone jumping into a flaming alligator pit on my coffee break, I get chapped. Next season you’ll be able to livecast your helmet-cam stream to the Facebook. Then I won’t have to ski at all.
Garre•d up: The state formerly known as “fired up,” re-nomenclatured in honor of the late great Kip Garre. The opposite of neinshredkampf. “I was all Garred Up to mission this mysto new sector when they put us on aggressive standby.”
get shack•ed: Skiing deep snow in such a way that you become enveloped in snowy roost. Related to getting tubed and/or pitted while surfing. Primarily used in ski photography, where it is one of three possible activities that photographers will tell skiers to perform—sending, slashing, and getting shacked. “Just send it off the nose, then slash one on that sunny spine, and get all shacked.”
hill•bang•in’: Jackson Hole local Chris Denny’s term for in-bounds, lift-served lapping. “Hey Jaded, I know you just got out of Granite, but you want to get in a little hillbangin’ before après?” Alternate definition: An activity performed in the trees.
junk•show: Perhaps the greatest of Teton Gravity Research’s many innovations, the junkshow can start with a poorly-packed bag on single trip, and then progress like a cancer until it takes over your entire life.
mis•sion: (verb) Like epic, mission has degraded over time from a noun that meant a noble task performed under enemy fire to a verb that applies to pretty much anything that requires stepping away from Facebook. “I was missioning for a sixer…”
nein•shred•kampf: German-sounding word I made up to describe the dark chundery state of the soul when you can’t ski.
pro•gres•sion: The process whereby the entire sport is improved when a skier manages to add another 180 degrees of rotation to a spinning trick in front of a camera, which is known as progressing the sport. You can actually feel a gentle tingling wave of progression wash over you whenever Tom Wallisch puts his boots on—chairlifts suddenly accelerate, the snow stabilizes, a new chick moves to town, and old Gore-Tex becomes waterproof again.
o•b lap: Elicit indulgence in Good Times on the wrong side of the rope. Like quantum physics, O.B. laps operate under seemingly paradoxical laws where the very act of observation changes the observed. This is known as the New Jersey Rule: if nobody saw it, nothing happened…
ro•tor wash: The snow and ice chunks blasted through the air and into your face by the helicopter. Like chunder, rotor wash can also be used to describe non-heli-skiing scenarios that involve blasting you with cold misery, such as realizing that your girlfriend may have taken an O.B. lap while you were gone on that three-week roadtrip to B.C. Also see: Roost, Snowmobile
sec•tor: Area that you’re “working”, “accessing”, or “hitting.” Can vary widely from glacier systems or entire mountain ranges to the area of the bar directly in front of your seat. Also see: Zone
shrap•nel: The blackened smithereens that lie in the wake of a junkshow. Also see: Local, Jaded
six inch•es: Actual measurement of a number of things that are frequently reported to measure eight, ten, even twelve inches. Also see: Colorado Powder Day
so sick/a lit•tle var•i•a•ble: The only two possible responses when you ask someone how their B.C. mission went. “So Sick” if there was anything more than three contiguous turns on decent snow, “Kinda Variable” if it was epic chunder T to B.
two weeks: The amount of time you can leave town without your girlfriend starting to think about taking an O.B. lap or two.
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