what is gaper gap?

What Is A Gaper Gap? Avoid This Major Skiing Mistake!

by Fraser

The gaper. A skiing (and snowboarding) phenomenon born in the last decade. What started as a cruel insult has become an iconic winter sports look. But what is a gaper gap? 

Let’s discuss the definition and whether you’re taking the right steps to avoid joining the gaper gang!


What Is A Gaper Gap?

A gaper gap is the space between your helmet and goggles. This exposes your forehead when skiing or snowboarding and can lead to sunburn, windburn or frostbite. A small gap is normal, however larger gaps are commonly associated with inexperienced or uncoordinated riders. 

Unfortunately, the term has evolved to be somewhat of an insult. You really don’t want to have a gaper gap if you can avoid it! 

As a rule of thumb… if you can easily fit your thumb between your goggles and helmet then you’re rocking a gaper gap. 

This isn’t just a fashion no-no. You’ll soon find that the exposed skin becomes very cold and you’re left with harsh red lines once the helmet is removed. On particularly sunny days, the area can also burn leaving a slightly hilarious outline. 


What Is A Gaper?

The word “gaper” has taken the winter sports world by storm. It’s now become a descriptive term, used in resorts around the globe. Let’s take a look at the definition of a gaper. 

A gaper is a skier or snowboarder who is particularly uncoordinated, with minimal insight into their poor sporting abilities. Gapers have a tendency to wear eccentric or unfashionable clothing and maintain a pronounced gaper gap. Often described as “the dorks of the mountain”, gapers have the ability to take any trick and spoil it for the whole winter sports community. 

Gapers can often be spotted doing the following: 

  • Sitting on the landing spots of jumps. Maybe even taking their time to adjust their gear or eat a sandwich.
  • Showing off the infamous gaper tuck: hunching over like a ski racer, but with their ski poles incorrectly pointing straight up at the sky. They will often do this on flat sections whilst moving at the pace of a small snail. 
  • Riding across the middle of a run, without looking up or downhill. 
  • Sending it off big jumps… extremely slowly and crippling their knees on the table top. 
  • Wearing fluorescent onesies from the nineties. 


What Is Gaper Day?

Gaper’s have been embraced around the world. So much so that there is now an entire day dedicated to gaperdom! But what is gaper day?

Gaper day is a North American ski and snowboard tradition during which people are encouraged to dress in eccentric and embarrassing outfits. This is often done to mark the last day of the season and is seen as a bit of fun and frivolity. 

Gaper day Whistler is probably the most famous example, with a huge annual turnout. Check out the retro vibes on the last day of the 2021-2022 season. 

gaper day whistler

Is Gaper An Offensive Term? 

I mean… yeah it is. The term gaper started out as a fairly mean slang term for beginner skiers. Fortunately, I have personally never heard anyone use it in a mean-spirited way against inexperienced skiers. 

Whilst I may have gotten into the gaper bashing a little in this article, I assure you it’s all done in good fun. I’ve been a gaper myself at times and I’m pretty certain I’ll be called one again this season. 

Think of the term as a light-hearted jibe that you might use on your friends when they’ve done (or worn) something particularly stupid. 

Final Thoughts

That’s it for now my gaper guys and gals. 

Happy riding!


Recommended further reading:

  1. Do Snowboarders Ruin Snow? Confessions Of A Snowboarder. 
  2. Wearing Snowboard Goggle Straps Under Your Helmet – Debate!
  3. The 9 Best Snowboard Gadgets Ever!

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