Glossary Of Snowboarding Slang And Terms Related To Winter Sports

Gareth Simpson

by Gareth Simpson

October 18, 2019

Snowboard Terms Glossary

The glossary was made using various sources such as books, instructional guides, dictionaries, and other specialized glossaries. The terms and slang found here are widely popular and used among members of the skiing and snowboarding community.


Aerial tramway – Also known as aerial tram, tram, or cable car.

Avalanche airbag – In case of an avalanche, the airbag is deployed and increases the chances for survival of the victim.

Avalanche beacon – Synonym for an avalanche transceiver, it transmits a rescue signal to the rescue teams.


Backcountry – An area that is out of the boundaries of the ski resort

Berm – a big pile of snow, either manmade or natural, often used for tricks and turns


Catching air – An aerial maneuver in which the skier or the snowboarder leaves the surface.

Cryosphere – place where water is frozen, including glaciers, ice, permafrost, and frozen ground.


Dumping – a term used to describe heavy snowfall.

Dust on crust – when there is a tiny layer of snow over a hardpack.


Eagle – An aerial move in which the skier spreads their arms and legs wide apart.

Eat shit –  Wishing to a skier or a snowboarder to crash hard.

Eat wood – Wishing to a skier or a snowboarder to crash into a tree


Face plant – When someone falls and lands on their face

Fakie – Backwards snowboarding or skiing

FIS – Short for  Fédération Internationale de Ski

First tracks – Being first on a pristine slope


Gaper – rookie snowboarder or skier that is so hapless that it stands out.

Garlands – a basic maneuver that leaves a pattern that looks like a Christmas garland.

Grab – Grabbing the edge of the snowboard with one or both hands while doing an aerial trick.

Grooming – Maintaining trails by evenly spreading the snow and taking care of the bumps. Usually, it includes using heavy equipment and snowcats.


Hardgoods – Term used to describe snowboarding and skiing equipment.

Heli-skiing – To access a terrain via a helicopter

Hot dog – Someone that likes to show off their prowess or aerial moves.


I love big dumps – An expression used to highlight someone’s passion for large snowfall events and powder days.


J-bar – surface lift where a snowboarder or a skier rests on a J shaped seat that is drawn uphill by a cable.

Jerry – Person who doesn’t know a thing about snowboarding or skiing.

Joey – Veteran snowboarder or skier with no fashion sense so ever.


Knuckle dragger – snowboarder that touches the snow while making a turn

Kodak courage – reckless skiing or snowboarding, especially when someone is filming


Liftie – someone that works the chair lift

Liner – a cushioned boot that is in the inside of the ski boot. It provides padding and support. If needed it can be either customized or removed.


Machine groomed – Term used to describe trails condition that has been treated by grooming machines or snowcats.

Mountain rescue dogTrained canines that can locate and dig out avalanche victims. They are also known by the name avalanche dogs.


Never call last run –  by announcing your last run you invite an injury. It is a popular superstition among skier and snowboarders.

Never-ever – Rookie snowboarder or a first-time skier.

No fall zone – Dangerous area where a fall can have grave consequences.


Off-piste – An area that is beyond the ski trails.

One-ski quiver – All mountain wide ski that is also known as mid-fat.


Packed powder – Snowfall that has not been groomed by machines, snowboarders, or skiers.

Pillow – A mound of powder created by the wind that is excellent for soft landings.

Phat – Awesome or great

Powderhound – Someone who is willing to travel long distances in order to find precious pow.


Quad – Chairlift that can accommodate four people.

Quiver – Personal collection of snowboards or skis


Racing skis – skis made for professional racing that are very stiff.

Rope tow – Also known as surface lift or a ski tow. The snowboarder or the skier holds on to the cable or the rope in order to be pulled up the slope.


Schussing – downhill skiing without doing any turns.

Short radius turns – Style that features quick turns that allow the snowboarder or skier to avoid obstacles or slow down.

Sick – It can mean either extremely fun or very risky

Sierra cement –  Heavy and wet snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Six-pack – A Chairlift that can accommodate six people.


Tomahawk – Also known as a rag doll. It means to flip over from a mountain and lose control.

Telemark – Style that is a combination of Nordic and Alpine skiing.

Terrain park – Place where snowboarders and skiers can do tricks on jibs

Tram – Also known as an aerial tram or a cable car.

Tree skiing – Snowboarding or skiing in a forest or a glade around the trees, and not into the branches.

Tree well – Big void or a hole formed around the base of some tree that can be the cause of a serious injury.


Untracked – Terrain that has new snow that hasn’t been spoiled by snowboarders or skiers.

Unweighting – Decrease the downward pressure on the snowboard or the skis with the purpose to make a turn.


Vertical drop – Term that describes the elevation difference between ski resort’s lowest and highest points.

Vorlage – When a snowboarder or a skier leans their forward. That’s typical before making a turn.


Waist width – snowboard or skis width at its narrowest point.

Wedge – ski move in which skis are in a V-shape position in order to slow down or completely stop.

Wolf Pack – A group of friends that ski or snowboard together


XC skiing – Stands for cross-country skiing


Yard sale – Huge crash in which the snowboarder or the skier loses their skis, snowboard, poles, or other stuff.


Zastrugi – Snow formation shaped by the wind that features irregular ridge and/or grooves.

Zorb – Type of orb made of transparent plastic that is big enough to accommodate at least one person and used to roll downhill.


180 – Half turn or 180 degrees spin in the air

360 – Half-turn, or 360 degrees spin in the air

720  – Air maneuver in which the snowboarder rotates two full turns or 720 degrees.

1080 – Air maneuver in which the snowboarder rotates three full turns or 1080 degrees

420 – Subtle code that signals it’s time for some cannabis

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