Snowboard Lingo Guide [The 81 Best Snowboarding Terms]

by Fraser

Snowboarding terms sometimes sound like a whole new language. With words like gnar, Jib and bomb-hole, it’s no wonder you might be confused!

I’m fluent in snowboard lingo and even I get confused sometimes!

So I put together a list of top snowboarding phrases. The terms most commonly used by the snowboard community. I hope it helps!

But first, a taster of some of the most-used terms…

The Snowboard Lingo Top 10:

  1. Stoked
  2. Groomer
  3. Jibbing
  4. Carving
  5. Powder
  6. Huck
  7. Switch
  8. Gnarly
  9. Shred
  10. Buttering

There are a whole lot more than that!

Read on to discover more… including the meaning behind these sacred snowboard terms.

Snowboard Lingo

Après-ski

Party time. The drinking and partying that takes place after a long day of skiing or snowboarding.

Backcountry

The undeveloped, unmarked and unpatrolled areas of a mountain. These are a true snowboarding playground, but they require specialized gear and training. Make sure you have an avalanche beacon!

snowboarding terms - backcountry

Bail Out

When you purposely back out of a feature or trick mid-way… usually because it’s not going to plan!

Bail

To fall while snowboarding (in a less-than-graceful manner). 

Bomb Hole

Exploding a powdery landing zone by taking a bail or heavy fall. This will ruin the landing and hinder your filming efforts. Read more about bomb holes.

Bombing

Riding down a slope at super high speeds!

Bonk

To tap a feature with your board – such as a tree, obstacle or rock.

Boot pack

Basically when you have to hike to reach your line. Usually on a trail or area that’s only accessible by walking, typically because there is no lift or groomed trail.

Booter

A jump that’s been built up nice and high, usually into powder. 

Box

A terrain park feature. These are usually flat and narrow, usually made of metal or plastic.

snowboard lingo - the snowboard box

Butter

To spin and slide on the tail or nose of your board. I discuss buttering in more detail here

C-box

A terrain park feature shaped like the letter “C”. These are notoriously tricky and can be ridden in a variety of ways.

Carve

To turn sharply on one edge (heel-side or toe-side) while maintaining speed and control. Learn to carve here. 

Cat track

A wide, groomed trail used to access different parts of the mountain. These are usually formed by snow cats and snow groomers. . 

Chicken salad

A trick where the rider grabs the heel-side edge of their board, through their legs, using their trailing hand.

It’s super similar to the roast beef grab. The difference is in the wrist rotation. 

Chunder

Rough, uneven snow conditions. These make for a bumpy ride.

Corduroy

A trail that’s been groomed into small ridges, resembling corduroy fabric. Only early-risers will ride these!

snowboarding terms - corduroy

Cork

A spinning trick that involves twisting the board and the body in opposite directions. For more information, check out my other article about the cork

Dirty South

A frontside 180 with a grab between the rider’s legs.

Donkey Dick

An awkward metal “bulge” at the bottom of some grind rails. These are notoriously hard to master.

Drop In

Entering a halfpipe or other feature by dropping in from the top. This includes the aforementioned “booter”. 

Drop

To jump off a feature or cliff. For example, “sending a cliff drop!”

Euro-carve

A deep, hard turn where the rider leans into the carve and extends their back leg.

Euro-carvers will often have their elbow flat to the ground – some can even lie their body flat to the slope. 

Face plant

To fall forward and bury your face in the snow.

Face shot

When you take a turn in deep powder and snow explodes in your face. Bliss!

Fakie

Riding backward with your opposite foot forward. This is technically a skateboarding term. The snowboarding term is ‘Switch”. 

Flat Basing

Riding with your board completely flat on the snow, without either edge engaged.

Flat Light

When the lighting conditions on the mountain are poor and it’s hard to see the terrain changes or bumps.

Freshies

Fresh tracks in untouched snow.

Gaper

A derogatory term for a beginner or tourist who sticks out like a sore thumb… usually due to their gear or lack of skills. You can find a full gaper definition here.

Gnar-Gnar (Gnarly)

Extremely gnarly terrain or features.

An extension of this is “Shredding the Gnar“, whereby you ride a particularly hard feature or slope. 

Goggle Tan

Fairly self-explanatory. The goggle tan is a badge of honor for dedicated snowboarder’s. If you ride more than 20-days per season, it’s going to happen!

Halfpipe

A U-shaped feature in the terrain park which is used for tricks and maneuvers. I discussed halfpipe snowboarding in a separate article. 

Handplant

A trick where the rider places their hand on the lip of a halfpipe (or other feature) and briefly holds themselves up before riding back down. 

Huck

To attempt a big jump or trick.

“Huck it!”

Hucker

A rider who goes for big jumps or tricks without proper technique or caution. We all know one of these!

Indy Grab

To grab the toe edge of your board with your leading hand. A true Indy grab must be held between the feet. 

Japow

Powder snow in Japan. Legendary!

Jib

To ride, tap or slide on a non-snow surface, such as rails, boxes, or logs.

Knuckle Drag

To lean over so far in your turns that your hand touches the snow.

Skiers have also adopted the nickname “Knuckle-Draggers” to describe snowboarders. Charming!

Knuckle

The raised, sometimes icy, edge at the top of a jump landing. If you undershoot the jump and “knuckle it”, you’re in for a very bumpy ride. 

Lifty

A chairlift operator. 

Lip

The upper edge of a halfpipe or other feature.

Method

An absolutely classic snowboard trick.

The rider grabs the heel-side edge of their board, with their front hand. The back hand extends into the air. The more tweak you can get, the more stylish your method. 

Natural Terrain Park

A park built entirely out of natural features like logs, rocks, and snow formations. Super fun.

Nose Grab

Grabbing the front of your board with your leading hand.

Nose Roll

A buttering trick where the rider rolls the nose of the board around on the snow while spinning.

Nose/Tail Press

A trick where the rider leans forward (nose press) or backward (tail press) on the board while riding.

Off-Piste

Riding outside of marked trails or groomed areas, also known as backcountry riding.

Park Rat

A rider who spends most of their time in the terrain park.

Pillow Line

A series of soft, pillowy bumps in deep powder that you can jump and land on.

Piste

A trail that has been groomed or maintained for skiing or snowboarding. Also known as groomers.

Pop

The ability to jump or ollie with your board.

Pow Slash

A deep powder turn where you cut hard and spray snow high into the air. Usually requires kicking your back-leg out more aggressively than normal. 

Pow

Short for powder. Fresh snow that’s fluffy and deep. Many of us will spend our lives chasing it!

Powder Hound

A rider who seeks out and loves riding deep powder. Guilty!

Powder Panic

The feeling of panic or anxiety that occurs when riding in deep powder, especially for beginners or those not used to it.

Rodeo

A type of spin that involves flipping your board and rotating your body. Check out the video below for more details.

Rooster tail

A huge spray of snow that shoots up behind a rider on a hard turn or jump. Also happens to skiers. 

Shred

To snowboard with style and skill. “Shredding” implies riding hard and fast. 

Side Hit

A small jump or feature located on the side of the run or terrain park. Extremely fun.

Skier's Left/Right

The left or right side of a trail or mountain as viewed from the perspective of someone skiing downhill.

Slash

To cut through snow on a sharp turn, creating a spray of snow behind you. Similar to the pow slash, except it can be done in the pipe or on groomers. 

Sluff

Loose snow that is set in motion by a rider and moves downhill. “Sluff management” is required when riding steep alpines lines. Otherwise you can be caught up in it’s flow. 

Slush Cup

An end-of-season event where riders attempt to ride across a pool of slush. I included a video of it here

Snake Bite

When a snowboard catches an edge and causes you to fall. Ouch!

Snow Bunny

An attractive woman who skis or snowboards.

Snow Snake

A bump or obstacle hidden under the snow, causing you to crash. Often invisible when investigating post-crash! 

Spine

A natural feature or man-made jump that is shaped like a halfpipe, with a spine-shaped roll in the middle.

Stalefish

A trick where the rider grabs the heel edge of the board with their back hand, reaching behind their back. One of my personal favorites!

Stepdown

A jump where the landing is lower than the takeoff.

Stoked

To be excited or pumped up about something. Snowboarding and surfing are all about the stoke!

Stomp Pad

A stomp pad is a small, textured pad on the top of a snowboard. These help with traction when getting off a lift or skating the flats. 

I listed the best stomp pads here in a dedicated article. Worth checking out if you don’t have one. 

Stomp

To land a jump or trick cleanly and solidly. Similar to landing “bolts” in skateboarding. 

Switch

Riding with your opposite foot forward from your normal stance. Switch snowboarding is challenging but enables spins and other freestyle tricks. 

Tail Grab

To grab the back of your board with your trailing hand.

Tindy

When the rider reaches behind them to grab the tail of the board. An unholy combination of Indy and Tail grabs. Considered very bad form!

tindy grab - snowboarding terms

Tree Run

Riding through a forested area with trees on either side.

Wind Lip

A natural jump formed by windblown snow. Can also be an avalanche risk.

Yard Sale

A yard sale is a spectacular wipeout where the rider loses most or all of their gear (gloves, hat, goggles, etc.)

This ends up scattered across the slope… like a yard sale.

11 Things Snowboarders Say

After a long list of snowboard lingo, let’s finish with a few infamous phrases… things that snowboarder’s say: 

  1. “The mountain is my happy place, except for the lift line.”
  2. “If in doubt, just send it!”
  3. “I’m not sure what’s more dangerous, the mountain or the après-ski.”
  4. “I don’t always fall, but when I do, I make it look epic.”
  5. “I’m not sure what hurts more – my body or my pride.”
  6. “My life motto: Eat, sleep, shred, repeat.”
  7. “Why walk when you can ride?”
  8. “Snowboarding is not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”
  9. “I have a love-hate relationship with the moguls – they’re like a bad ex you just can’t quit.”
  10. “I’m not addicted to snowboarding, I can quit anytime… just after one more run.”
  11. “I’m going to carve this mountain like a Thanksgiving turkey.”

Conclusion

You made it to the end! 

As you can imagine, there are hundreds more snowboarding terms that could have made the list. 

Do you have any snowboard lingo of your own?

Can you think of any vital snowboarding terms I’ve missed out?

Let me know in the comments below!

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2 comments

Sam 07/08/2023 - 7:43 pm

Novyny

Reply
Fraser 07/08/2023 - 11:54 pm

Novyny??

Reply

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