Words to the Wise

A guide to skiing lingo.

In the shop, lodge, or liftline, there are words being thrown around at ski areas that, frankly, don’t exist. Seriously. Skiers and snowboarders just make shit up all the time. It’s ridiculous. So check out the list below to get up-to-date before you look, like, totally ignorant, bro.

Bomb Hole
A deep impression in the snow produced by landing a big air. Also a deep impression in the snow produced by one of the hundreds of actual, exploding, kill-you-dead bombs used each season by ski patrol. 

A tasteless euphemism for skiing full-speed into a tree, originating from the accidental death of crooner Sonny Bono. Also, the arrogant and self-important single-word moniker chosen by Paul David Hewson, the lead singer for the most overrated band ever. 

A pattern of small hills and troughs made when skiers repeatedly turn in the same place. Also an indicator of supreme status in business, which is how many Yellowstone Club members perceive themselves. 

A nearly frictionless and secure-feeling turn produced when the tail of a ski follows exactly the same path as the tip. Also an unfairly characterized “old-man’s” pastime, best enjoyed around a woodstove whilst chewing tobacco and lamenting about “kids these days.” 

Chinese Downhill
Race where everyone starts together with few, if any rules. Or a race where there are no winners or losers (nor purpose), because in Communism everyone finishes exactly equal. 

Chocolate Chips
A cluster of rocks poking out of the snow. In other words, Big Sky.

Steep, narrow run, usually higher on both sides. Also a category of gravity-assisted slides, including laundry, trash, mail, and, of course, poop. 

Shallow parallel grooves in the snow made by grooming machines. Also a type of super-comfortable pants favored by serial killers, the homeless, and college professors. 

Death Cookies
Firm or frozen clumps of snow, and those nasty, dried-out holiday cookies made by your elderly neighbor that taste like pantyhose and lavender mixed with sadness. 

Fall Line
The path taken by a large ball rolling down a slope. Also the path taken by a large, ball-shaped tourist from the Upper Midwest rolling down Bronco Face. 

Frozen Chicken Heads
What you get when spring slush freezes. Also what you get when severed chicken heads freeze. Both make poor surfaces for skiing. 

Very challenging conditions. And a rare and beautiful tusked whale that frequently appears in arctic waters and acid flashbacks. 

Rich but ragged ski bum, pretending to be poor. Upon discovery, popular rule dictates unyielding harassment and bar-tab abuse. 

Kodak Courage
False confidence inspired by the presence of ski magazine photographers. Not to be confused with Cocaine Courage, which is inspired by doing lines with a Trustafarian at Big Sky. Both are kinda fun, but generally end with a bloody nose and compromising photographic evidence of one kind or another. 

Skiing outside of resort boundaries in uncontrolled (and untracked) terrain. Also, what ski areas appear to hate most, considering their insatiable appetite for developing it (we’re lookin’ at you, Bridger). 

Screaming Starfish
Someone cartwheeling downhill while yelling for help. Also a rare Polynesian aquatic echinoderm that emits a high-pitched scream before eating your face. 

Skis. Also the most delicious variety of processed fish. 

Skiing across the fall line. Public-service announcement: putting in unnecessary traverses from the Slushman’s Lift at Bridger is grounds for a life-threatening beatdown. Ski the fall line! 

Very impressive or good. Kind of like Outside Bozeman. “It’s a sick-point-sick on the sickter-scale, brah!” 

A small, fast-moving, loose-snow avalanche. Also describes the painful process that affects your intestinal walls after eating at Chipotle.