Once you’ve bought the equipment and hit the slopes for the first time, the next step to becoming a true snowboarder is to learn the lingo.
Just like surfing, skating, and pretty much all other major sports, surfboarding has its own community and its own way of speaking.
There are terms and phrases that you won’t hear anywhere else and while they can seem a little confusing at first, you’ll be speaking like a pro snowboarder before long.
The bindings of a snowboard are what keep your feet attached to the board.
They come in a variety of styles but they all serve the same purpose.
Front Foot and Back Foot
The front foot is the one that is closest to the front (the nose) of the snowboard.
The back foot is the one closest to the tail.
If you adopt a “regular” stance, your left foot will be your front foot.
If you adopt a “goofy” stance, your right foot will go forward.
The stance is determined by your dominant foot, which should always be the back foot.
The term “wipeout” is also used in surfing and it has the same meaning here.
It refers to a big fall, usually one that occurs in the middle of a jump or trick.
The terrain park is a section of a resort designed for freestyle boarding.
This is where you should head if you want to try some jumps, spins, and other snowboard tricks.
Toe Edge and Heel Edge
The toe edge of the board is the one closest to the toes while the heel edge is the one closest to the heel.
The edge itself is defined as the sides of the board, as opposed to the nose or tail.
Snow Powder (Pow)
Snow powder or “pow” is freshly fallen snow that snowboarders love to ride.
It’s smooth and soft, and you’ll often hear boarders talk about a “sweet powder” ride or day.
Crud is often considered to be the next stage of “pow”.
It’s snow that has become packed and may also be piled in certain areas. It’s not as fun as snow powder but it’s not terrible, either.
Slush is melting snow.
Unlike powder, it’s not dry, crisp, or smooth and can make for an unpleasant snowboarding experience.
It’s not a complete disaster, though, and you can still have some fun on slush.
A yard sale is a bad wipeout in which you lose some of your equipment.
You lose your balance, fall hard, and before you know it, your hat, goggles, and/or board are lying several feet away.
A traction pad that sits between the snowboard bindings and helps the rider to maintain their grip when using a ski lift.
Backcountry is an area of wild terrain that is unpatrolled and literally “off the beaten track”.
It’s unpredictable and doesn’t have any marked trails to make life easier for the snowboarder.
Other Snowboarding Terms
The snowboarding terms above are the most important and the most commonly used, but there are others, including:
- Fakie Riding: Also known as “riding switch”, it refers to riding backward, with the snowboarder “switching” their stance.
- Steez: Another word for “style”.
- Gnarly: A word used to mean “awesome” or “amazing”.
- Chatter: The shakes caused by a snowboard as it goes over the snow.
- Crunchy: Another word for “cool”.
- Air: A jump where the snowboard leaves the ground and cuts through the air.
- Kicker: A snowboarding jump.
- Crust: Hard snow that forms on the top of softer snow, creating a literal crust.
- Gaper: Someone who is new to the mountain and just stares (slack-jawed and amazed) at what are actually relatively simple tricks.
- Face Plant: When a snowboarder falls on their face.
- Flex: The flex of a snowboard describes how it responds to torsion along the width or length. Different levels of flex are suitable for different styles of snowboarding.
- Grab: A trick whereby the rider leans over and grabs the board. Most grabs are performed on the toe edge or heel side edge between the snowboarder’s legs.
- Slam: Another word for “crash”.
- Freestyle: A trick-heavy style of snowboarding whereby the snowboarder will perform spins, flips, grabs, and rail tricks.
- Half-Pipe: A U-shaped snowboard jump used to perform a variety of tricks.
- Lift: A ski lift/chair lift that takes riders to the top of the mountain. Although these lifts are easy to handle on skis, they can be tricky for new boarders.