18 February 2020 from Nikki in General

Whether your teenage children have recently become snowboarding fanatics and you felt like you just spent your recent ski holiday with 2 foreigners who speak an incomprehensible language, or you just fancy changing snow sport next year and you don’t want to sound like a complete idiot as well as look like one, we’ve put together a list of snowboarding jargon to help you in either situation… If you were ever a skateboarder in your younger years, or have skateboarding fans around the house, then some of this terminology will sound quite familiar. If not, then read on to decipher this intriguing language…

Let's start with...

  • Air – you get air when you do a jump and your snowboard comes off the snow – hence the term "big air" - something which happens much, much later!
  • Airdog - someone who does a lot of aerial tricks and doesn’t spend much time on the snow!
  • Backcountry – off-piste terrain.
  • Backside 180 – an aerial trick when you make a 180 degree turn off the jump leading with the heel side of your board (clockwise for a regular stance and counterclockwise for goofy – see regular and goofy for definitions).
  • Bail – falling over or bailing out of a trick.
  • Betty – a female snowboarder.
  • Bone – straightening one or both legs while doing a half-pipe trick.
  • Booter – a big jump which needs lots of speed to get some air.
  • Bullet Proof – when the slopes are icy and/or are covered with hard-pack snow.
  • Bunk – bad news, like the best jump being closed.
  • C-Rail – a rail with a bend in it.
  • Cat-Track – a run which goes across to another run.
  • Crater – to have a bad fall.
  • Dailed – to be able to do a trick perfectly again and again without fail.
  • Drifter – a learner snowboarder who drifts from one side of the slope to another.
  • Drop in – to start a steep run, or drop into a half-pipe.
  • Duckfoot – the position of the bindings on the board with toes pointing outwards.
  • Fakie – riding a board backwards down the slope.
  • Fall line – the route directly down the hill.
  • Flat bottom – the bottom part in the half-pipe between the two walls.
  • Gnarly – something particularly tough but really rather good!
  • Goofy – you are “goofy” if you snowboard with the right foot going downhill first.
  • Grab – a certain part of the board you hold onto when do a certain trick
Laax freestyler
Performing a "grab" as the kids call it (Photo: © Weisse Arena AG)

  • Hot dog – a really talented female snowboarder.
  • Jib – a rail.
  • Kink – a bend in a rail or box.
  • Mistyflip – a front flip turning 180 degrees.
  • Pew Pew – a thin layer of powder on top of packed down snow.
  • Phat – very cool.
  • Plank – a snowboard.
  • Poach – to snowboard where you’re not supposed to – a closed run for example.
  • Poptart – a difficult half-pipe aerial turn.
  • Quarter Pipe (or QP) – half a half pipe, one wall where you can get a good speed to get some air.
Freestyle skier on jib
A rail, or "jib" (Photo: © Weisse Arena AG)

  • Rad – short for radical – in this case meaning totally awesome.
  • Regular – you are “regular” if you snowboard with the left foot going downhill first.
  • Rip – to snowboard extremely well.
  • Rodeo – a back flip with a spin.
  • Scope – to check something out before trying it.
  • Scorpion – when you fall on your face and your board almost (or does) hit the back of your head!
  • Shred the backcountry – do some extreme snowboarding off-piste.
  • Sick – really cool.
  • S-Rail – a rail with a bend in it, so if you look from the top it looks like a S!
  • Stack – to fall really badly and hurt yourself at the same time.
  • Stick – a snowboard (but when used in the plural form, refers to skis).
  • Stiffy air – a half-pipe aerial turn where a rider straightens both legs and grabs the snowboard's edge.
  • Snow bunny – a very attractive female snowboarder.
  • Swiffer – when you pull two turns in opposite directions forming an "S" shape in the air!
  • Tailslide – to slide on a box or other surface only on the tail of the board.
  • Taipan air – a rider reaches behind the front foot in this half-pipe aerial turn and grabs the toe edge then bends the front knee to touch the board!
  • Tight – also “sweet” – meaning just brilliant!

There are loads more terms and of course each group of snowboarders have their own “in jokes “and variations of the above, but this list should hopefully give you a good basic knowledge of the snowboarding language!

Being lucky enough to have parents who were crazy about skiing, my love for the mountains started when I was 4 years old on our first family ski holiday to Austrian ski resort of Obergurl. One ski holiday a year was never enough and tears rolled down my face as I looked out the back window of the car on the drive down the valley on the way home!