Ski Slang You Should Know Before Hitting the Slopes

Once you’ve booked your dream ski trip, it’s time to brush up on your ski slang. After all, nobody wants to look like a gaper – or novice – out on the slopes, and nothing will give you away faster than not understanding the local ski-speak. So dust off your ski pants, break out the fresh goggles, and take a few minutes to brush up on the lingo you’re going to need to come off like a brah.


Any true ripper has hopes of making first tracks on the milk run – the first ski of the day. Beating your fellow skiers to the fresh powder and making the first tracks offers a special sense of accomplishment only a ripper could understand. (In fact, posting a picture is the proof of the pudding.) Once the snow is overused and just plain tracked out, true rippers feel nothing but remorse.

As far as the powder itself, champagne powder is a dry, light snow, and the ultimate dream of every skier and rider. More seasoned skiers and boarders might shorten this term by referring it to pow pow, which may also refer to freshly fallen snow. Of course, any true powder hound can easily sniff out the freshies – the newest, softest powder stash on any run. Face shot, anyone?

Those new to the sport are encouraged to begin on the bunny slope, where they can take the magic carpet conveyor belt safely up the hill, rather than angering the liftie by wiping out while trying to slide off his ski lift, and causing a pileup before even hitting the trail. This is where newbies will be taught to snowplow, bringing the front tips of the skis together while pushing the tails apart, and putting pressure on the inside edges in order to slow down. (In other words, one of the first techniques a skier needs to learn to progress in skiing…and living.)

Legitimate rippers and shredders (rippers’ snowboarding counterparts), are always on the lookout to smash some trails, offering the most extreme, amazing, and even radically dangerous experience around. Even serious rippers and shredders might hold off on the freestyling on these slopes, and save the tricks and heart-stopping shenanigans for the kickers and fun boxes in the park.

Now that you’re an expert with the jargon, get your ski ready and wait for the next big dump (of snowfall, that is),  put on that brain bucket, and don’t lose consciousness when wiping out on those pesky death cookies that form through making and primping the snow.

And of course, don’t forget the après-ski activity; after all, once the day is over, the night life and opportunity to exchange stories with fellow plankers and knuckle-draggers is every bit as important as the downhill experience itself.