Snowboarding is a unique sport that comes with its special blend of slang and terminology. Many of the phrases and terms you’ll hear on the slopes are based on easily recognizable words, while others sound like a completely different language.
I’ve been snowboarding for nearly my entire life, so I’m well versed in the rider lingo. I know how to put this vocabulary to use on the mountain and consider myself fluent in the language if you want to call it that.
I wanted to compile an extensive list of this snow-related jargon to give you a better understanding of what the words mean and show how you can work them into your everyday discussion.
Whether you are new to the sport or have been riding for years, I’m sure there are at least a few words or phrases you’ll find here that you didn’t know beforehand.
Time to start the lesson.
Chapter 1: The Basics
Rider: A snowboarder – it doesn’t matter what style or ability level, we all ride.
Shred/Shredding: The act of riding. It doesn’t matter what type of terrain or conditions you are in. If you are having fun, you are shredding.
Stoke: A general description of the feeling one experiences when snowboarding. It can apply to other extreme sports as well.
Dump: The act of snowing, typically said when it is really coming down or when you ask the winter weather gods for a gift.
Gnarly: A common term used to describe all things good, bad, and ugly relating to riding. If you had a great run, you could call it gnarly. If you almost went off an unexpected cliff, also gnarly.
Pow: Otherwise known as powder or even pow pow, this is the stuff snowboarder’s dreams are made of. It translates into fresh snow and lots of it.
Crew: A group of friends who you ride with or want to ride with.
Epic: Another common term with a broad definition. It can mean amazing, awesome, fantastic, unreal, or any other term that captures a truly, seriously magical moment on the mountain.
Plank: A snowboard. Sometimes used as a derogatory term by jealous skiers.
Session: A way to classify a specific section of your daily riding. You can have an awesome session in the park or a killer pow session.
Chapter 2: Riders & Styles
Noob/Newbie: Any new snowboarder who obviously hasn’t developed a lot of skills in the snow.
Shredder: An experienced rider who has excellent abilities and displays advanced-level skills.
Grom: A young kid or child on a snowboard.
Snow Bum: Someone who lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps for the snow. This could be a snowboard bum or board bum, and the bum name is also used in many other sports.
All-Mountain – A versatile style of riding and snowboarding equipment that blends elements of all styles, including freeriding, freestyle, and powder.
Carve: A sweeping turn that occurs when you are riding. Often refers to a well-executed turn on a technical slope.
Freeride: A style of snowboarding that involves challenging and technical terrain with a focus on big-mountain and backcountry lines.
Freestyle: The type of riding done in the terrain park and any sort of snowboarding emphasizing tricks, whether that’s in the air or on natural and manufactured features.
Boardercross: A popular freestyle competition that is now an Olympic event. It involves riders racing simultaneously down a course that has turns, jumps, and other features.
Powder Hound: A rider who lives for fresh snow and is always on the hunt for powder and lots of it.
Park Rat: Someone who spends nearly all of their time in the terrain park. A freestyle rider to the max.
Liftie: The lift operators who work at the resorts.
Regular: Snowboarders who ride with their left foot forward.
Goofy: Snowboarders who ride with their right foot forward.
Chapter 3: Snow/Terrain/Conditions
Backcountry: Any area where you go snowboarding that isn’t at the resort. This is a style of riding as well as a physical location.
Corduroy: Refers to the snow ridges left after a sno-cat grooms a run at the resort. It looks exactly like corduroy fabric.
Chatter: When your board starts to shake or vibrate due to icy or otherwise poor snow conditions.
Cruiser: A resort run that isn’t extremely technical but allows you to go as fast as you want to.
Chute: A narrow, tight, and often technical run or line that involves going in between two natural features, whether they are rocks, cliffs, or trees.
Bowl: A natural, wide-open feature on a slope, typically found near the peaks of mountains.
Booter: A natural or man-made jump or launching point.
Kicker: The manicured jumps you see in the terrain park. They can come in different shapes and sizes.
Line: A chosen route or run down any given trail. Some riders pick out their line on the mountain before heading downhill, and others improvise as they go.
Tree Well: A ditch, hole, or moat-like area surrounding a tree buried in snow. These can be dangerous.
Traversing: Going from one side of the slope to the other in a drawn-out fashion rather than carving and turning downhill. Often done when the terrain is sketchy or a rider is out of their ability level.
Bluebird: A blue sky day of riding where the sun is shining, and the snow is still of high quality.
First Tracks: When you are the first rider to go down a run with fresh snow on it.
Poaching: Riding out of bounds in an off-limits area at the resort. This is dangerous, but some riders see it as a right of passage.
Icephalt: An extremely icy run that is so hard and unfriendly, it resembles asphalt.
Chapter 4: Tricks/Skills
Stomp: When you land a trick or maneuver perfectly.
Bail: When you decide against completing a trick or don’t land it.
3,4,7,9,10: Refers to the degrees of rotation in an aerial spin—an abbreviated version of 360, 540, 720, 900, and 1080.
Air: Any trick or maneuver where your board comes off the ground.
Ollie: One of the most basic tricks involves jumping up to get your board into the air.
Nollie: An ollie where you initiate the jump from the board’s nose rather than the tail.
Nose Slide: A trick that involves pressing the snowboard’s nose onto a feature while the tail remains up in the air.
Boardslide: One of the most basic tricks on a rail or box – when you slide your board perpendicular to the feature.
50/50: Riding straight over a rail or box – another simple freestyle maneuver.
Bonk: Running into a tree or other feature intentionally with your board. The goal is to tap it without falling.
Butter: Leaning on the nose of the board and then bringing the tail around. Similar to a manual on a skateboard.
Flying Squirrel: A grab trick where you use both hands to grab heelside near the feet.
Frontside/Frontside Air/Frontside Rotation: Refers to any turn, trick, or maneuver that you initiate on the toeside of a board.
Backside/Backside Air/Backside Rotation: Refers to any turn, trick, or maneuver that you initiation on the heelside of your board.
Halfpipe: A manmade snow structure in the terrain park that allows you to get big air off the steep walls.
Handplant: A common halfpipe trick where the rider plants a hand on the edge of the lip with their legs above their head.
HoHo: A handplant done with both hands at the same time.
One-Footy: Going off a feature or completing any trick with only one of your feet strapped into a binding.
Indy Grab: A grab trick done in the air where your hold onto the frontside edge of the board between the bindings.
Invert: Any trick where your feet go over your head.
Underflip: A backflip maneuver that includes a toeside rotation of at least 180 degrees.
Tweak/Tweaked: Any time a rider pulls the board slightly when doing any aerial maneuver.
Jib: Riding or grinding on rail-like features that aren’t covered in snow. This can include trees, stumps, rails, or boxes.
Corkscrew: A very tight aerial rotation of a large jump or in the halfpipe.
Rodeo Flip: A backflip with a 540-degree rotation or twist.
Misty Flip: A front flip with a 540-degree rotation or twist.
Michalchuk: A backflip with a 540-degree rotation in the halfpipe.
Chapter 5: Phrases
Shredding the gnar: Basically refers to any good day of riding. If you’re out there on the mountain having fun, you are shredding the gnar.
Riding switch. Any time you ride with your unnatural foot forward. This can occur during everyday riding situations or when you are doing tricks in the terrain park.
Ya smell me?: Do you understand?
In the white room: A long powder session.
Yard sale: A nasty fall or wipe-out. Sometimes called a garage sale. It refers to when your gear goes flying as you tumble down the mountain.
Throw down: To do a really awesome or impressive line or trick when you are riding. To truly throw down, you’ll need witnesses.
Rolling down the windows: When a snowboarder loses their balance either when riding or while in the air and their arms start to flail.
Casing a landing: When you land on a flat part of a manmade jump instead of on the downhill slope. Casing a landing can hurt.
Chapter 6: Compliments/Insults
Jerry: Anyone on the mountain who obviously doesn’t know what they are doing based on their riding abilities or choice of clothing and equipment.
Snowsniffer: Someone who stops right before the takeoff of a big jump and doesn’t commit to going off it.
Steeze: A way to describe a rider’s style. Someone can have a unique steeze that expresses their personality when they ride.
Two-Plankers: Skiers. Often used as a derogatory name by snowboarders.
Fruit Booter: Another not-so-friendly term for skiers.
Swoof: A beginner rider who doesn’t know what they are doing on a more technical line.
MooMoo: A rider who wears oversized clothing that is way too big for them.
Wetmore: Someone is too large and awkward to snowboard well.
Yuppies: City slickers who have all the fanciest and most expensive equipment but can’t ride very well.
Hucker: Someone who goes huge without regard to their physical wellbeing or whether they land properly. It can be both a good and bad term.
Muppet: A friendly insult usually said between friends.
Gaper: A snowboarder who acts cooler than they are and pretends to be a better rider than they are.
Snake: Someone who cuts you off as you are approaching a line. Usually said in the terrain park.
Chapter 7: Equipment
Twin/Twin Tip: A reference to a mostly symmetrical snowboard shape. This is a common freestyle shape because it allows you to ride switch easily.
Camber: A reverse banana type of snowboarding profile that gives the board power and added response.
Rocker: A banana type of snowboarding profile that increases float and results in playful characteristics on the snow.
P-Tex: A type of plastic that is used to repair a snowboard’s base. Many riders keep this material in their tune-up kits.
Nose: The front area of a snowboard, also often called the tip.
Tail: The back area of a snowboard.
Highback/Hi-back: The section of snowboard bindings that rise up the backside of your boots. These give you the necessary support for turning and control.
Flex: The amount of stiffness in a board, boots, or bindings. Stiffer flex is better for advanced riders who want increase amounts of power and response. A softer flex is better for beginners and for freestyle riding.
Forward Lean: The angle at which binding highbacks are set to keep the legs at a certain angle. This angle can be adjusted to match various riding styles and purposes.
Edge: The metal outside section that runs along the entire length of a snowboard.
Effective Edge: The part of the edge that comes in direct contact with the snow and allows you to make turns and remain in control.
Bevel: The angle at which the edges are sharpened. This can affect speed and performance.
Tune: The process of sharpening the edges of a board and waxing the base to keep it in good shape for riding. You can tune a board on your own or take it to the shop and have it done professionally.
Detune: Deliberately making the edges surrounding the nose and tail of a snowboard to prevent edge catches.
Delam/Delaminating: When a snowboard starts to come apart and separate. This exposes the inner layers of the board and is typically a sign of extreme wear.
Baseplate: The bottom part of a binding that comes into contact with both the board and the boot. This is the piece of equipment that mounts directly to the board by using hardware such as screws.
Base: The bottom of a snowboard that slides on the snow. The two types of bases are extruded and sintered.
There you have it, a comprehensive list of snowboarder slang and common terms used in the sport and industry. There seem to be new words every season, so this list will constantly be evolving.
Do you know of any good slang terms I didn’t mention or important equipment or tricks other riders should know about? Let me know in the comments below!About Lorraine