Sh** Skiers Say: A Double Diamond Primer
A few years back, I was writing a story about Warren Miller athletes, which involved heli-skiing in Iceland (it’s a tough job, I know).
I was walking through a moss bog to the heli pad, with the Arctic Sea shining in the weak winter sun behind it. Suddenly, pro skier Sierra Quitiquit, who had just skied the peak above us, popped over a berm, hip-length braids swinging under her helmet.
“Dude,” she said, “I just popped off this tasty nug and punted it!”
I blinked, and turned to look behind me. She was, indeed, talking to me.
Then, before hugging me hard, she gushed, “Sorry, I’m totally frothing out.”
I have been a skier all my life. So it goes without saying that if I don’t know what the hell this means, you probably don’t either. Which is why I’ve put together a little expert-level primer—we all know what “freshies” are—to help you decode what all the flat-brim (a type of cap) neckbeards (a skier with an un-groomed beard, typically local) in the gondy (gondola) are talking about.
*Tasty nug = originally a term for a nice nugget of weed, it can also mean a kicker, hit, or jump. Frothing out = extremely excited. Like a dog with rabies. See below.
Blood clot: Gathering of ski patrollers in red jackets.
Blunt grab: Tail grab with skis uncrossed.
Bro, Brah, or Bro-brahs: Generally late-teen to late-20s male who epitomize all they believe is cool in the skiing world. “Brah” likely borrowed from the late-80’s California surf scene.
Chicken heads (also "frozen chicken heads" or "death cookies"): Frozen clumps of snow. Typically found on groomed runs on spring mornings before the sun warms the snow. Caused by snow cats grooming warmed snow as it was re-freezing.
Chunder: Set-up snow that’s the consistency of frozen vomit.
Cinnabons: Wet snow rolls.
Colorado good: When bros from Colorado stand up in ski boots and go straight on their 120-mm fat skis fast down a groomer and think they’re rad.
Coral reef: When soft, warm snow freezes overnight into molar-rattling, knee-swelling formations.
Crème brulée: Breakable crust.
Cold smoke: Powder so light and dry it defies physical form.
Donger: A natural kicker-like feature, typically with a solid booter, formed by tree stumps, fallen trees, or rocks.
Double donger: Two of these features in a row.
First box to blower-town: First tram/gondy to pow-town!
Frothing out: Extremely excited. Like a dog with rabies.
Gripped or puckered: Terrified. (Like your butt is gripped/puckered from fear.)
Groms: anyone under the age of 12 who can ski confidently for their age.
Hot pow: Creamy, sun-warmed pow.
K-Fed: A rail slide followed by a frontside switchup and a continued spin 270 degrees out. Named after Britney Spears’s ex-husband (perhaps ironically, as this move takes talent).
Mank: Wet, sticky, slop that leads skiers to Dr. Steadman’s office for an ACL repair.
Nice turns: You may think no explanation is needed, but when said by a bro to a girl, the more nuanced translation is: “You rip, and I want to get into your long undies, no matter how sweaty they are.”
Nippled: Getting nipple-deep in pow.
Noodling (aka wiggle turns): When a skier makes turns with his or feet close together, resulting in a hip wiggle and wide-arm pole plant.
Pitted: To surf through extremely deep snow, as in, “I got pitted!” Origins may stem from “armpit-deep.”
Pump the blacks: Over-using effects on Instagram or Lightroom to make for a more compelling photo.
Punter: Anyone you don't know who cannot ski.
Sacked: Getting crotch (sack)-deep in pow. (Carries sexual connotations when used in other contexts.)
Safety meeting: Weed-smoking session, most often occurring in the trees.
Sastrugi: Firm wind-sculpted, wave-like formations in the snow. Mostly occurs on high-alpine ridges and wind-swept bowls. Impossible to ski gracefully.
Shussing: Skiing straight downhill without turning.
Skittle mafia: Groms in the park wearing bright colors.
Sleeping dragon: Persistent weak layer in the snowpack.
Super stacker: Large, stacked pillow line.
Steadman snow: Sticky, weird snow that leads skiers with ACL injuries straight to Dr. Steadman’s office.
Tele zombie: These are creatures of the night, known for getting first tracks at your favorite backcountry zone. They are typically old and have antiquated gear, and regardless of how many hours before sunrise you get to the trailhead, they beat you to the summit. Their natural in-bounds habitat is Alta, Utah.
Turkey tail: A sloppy kick turn that creates a fan rather than a clean angle.
Tasty nug: Originally a term for a nice nugget of weed, it can also mean a kicker, hit, or jump. Still, however, a term for a nice nugget of weed.
White dragon: Avalanche.
Wizard stick: Fallen tree that can be ridden and aired off of.
Now, dear readers, you are equipped with a working vocabulary. And when confronted with these terms, we strongly recommend you nod in understanding, throw out a term of your own invention, and see if it sticks. You know, like a ball of cheesy tots.
Frothing out about ski season? Get visually pitted here.
Less into culture, more into technical? We suggest starting here.
Article by Kimberly Beekman
Kimberly Beekman is the former editor-in-chief of the late, great Skiing Magazine (RIP), and a longtime editor of SKI Magazine before that. She currently uses the title of “freelancer” as a beard to ski powder all over the world. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her wonderful daughter and terrible cat.