Snowboarding Terms

Snowboard Terms

Do you think you have all of your snowboarding terminology on lock down? Or are you looking to pick up your first set up and want to be sure you’re ahead of the game when you take your first lesson? Maybe you want to impress a car full of teenagers as you’re giving them a lift to the hill. Regardless, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the most common words associated with snowboarding. Even for the veterans, you may pick up a few new terms, so check them out…

3, 5, 7, 9 – Acronyms for a 360, 540, 720 and 900 spin in the air.

50/50 – When the board rides straight down (nose first) a rail or box.

A

AASI – American Association of Snowboard Instructors.

Air – A jump or leap where the snowboard lifts off the ground.

Air-to-Fakie - A half pipe trick where the wall is approached riding forward, no rotation is made in the air, and the boarder lands riding backward (or fakie).

All-Mountain – Type of snowboard designed to ride any type of terrain – groomers, powder, park and half pipe.

B

Backcountry – Terrain outside of resort boundaries with no marked trails and natural obstacles like trees and cliffs.

Backside – A term originating from surfing, the direction in which you turn if you are traveling up a wave and turn so as you back faces the wave. In snowboarding, it is used to describe your direction of rotation in which the rider spins clockwise in the air if their left foot is facing down the hill (regular). It is the opposite of frontside.

Backside 180 – An aerial move where the rider makes a 180 degree rotatation off the jump leading with the heelside (clockwise for a regular stance and counterclockwise for goofy).

Backside Air – Any aerial maneuver performed on the backside wall of the half pipe

Boned Out – To straighten one or both legs during an aerial for extra style.

Baseplate - The bottom, flat part of the binding which includes the heel cup and fixes to the board via three or four holes. Burton also makes a a channel mounting system where the baseplate attaches with two screws on either side of the binding.

Base – The underside of the snowboard designed to glide across the snow. It is typically extruded or sintered.

Baseless Bindings - Snowboard bindings that don’t use a baseplate, so the boot sits directly on the snowboard. It enhances board feel and control, giving the rider a more natural foot-to-board feeling, similar to skateboarding.

Banked Slalom - A downhill slalom race course in which gate turns are set on snow banks. The Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom held every February is the most famous banked slalom course in the world.

Bevel- The angle of a snowboard’s steel edges. There are two bevels – the base bevel and the side edge bevel. The base bevel is the angle where the steel edge angles up from the flat base. The side bevel is is the angle the steel edge is tilted from the sidewall. The greater the base bevel, the faster the board.

Blindside - An advanced rotation in which the snowboarder is blind during takeoff or landing and must stretch to look over the shoulder.

Boardercross – A competition where participants race through turns, banks, obstacles and jumps in heats of 4-6 riders.

Bonk - To intentionally hit (or bonk) a non-snow object, like a tree stump, with the snowboard. A bonk is a type of trick.

Boost – To catch air off of a jump, half pipe or natural obstacle.

Butter - Leaning on the nose of the board (like a nose manual) and swing the tail of the board to the front.

Buttery – A term used to describe a snowboard with good flex.

C

Caballerial (Cab) - A halfpipe trick named after Steve Caballero (skateboard pro) which begins fakie, spins 360 degrees, and lands riding forward.

Camber - The amount of space beneath the center of a snowboard when it lays on a flat surface and its weight rests on the tip and tail. Camber gives a board spring and pop on groomed runs. Reverse camber or rocker is the opposite of camber where the weight rests on the center of the board, rather than the tip and tail when laying flat.

Cant - The angle at which either foot points inward or outward, which causes the knees bend toward or away from each other.

Carve – A perfect turn where the edge of the board digs into the snow, causing the rider to gain speed with each turn.

Centered Stance – A stance that is centered on the board when your bindings are mounted. The distance between the nose and the front binding is the same as that between the tail and the rear binding. A centered stance is preferred by riders who ride goofy and regular equally well.

Chatter - Vibration of the snowboard resulting from high speed, tight turns, and/or icy conditions. Chatter is undesirable and common with soft boards at high speeds.

Chute – A narrow strip of snow bordered by rocks, cliffs and tight trees.

Corduroy - The tracks left by a snowcat grooming a trail that looks like corduroy pants. Clean, fun turns are made on corduroy terrain.

Corkskrew – A an aerial fast and tight rotation in the half pipe or off of a jump.

Crail – A trick where the rear hand grabs the toe edge in front of the front foot while the rear leg is boned.

Crippler Air - A half pipe inverted aerial where the snowboarder spins a 180 degree flip. In other words, the rider approaches a halfpipe wall riding forward, becomes airborne, rotates 90 degrees, flips over in the air, rotates another 90 degrees, and lands riding forward.

Crossbone Method Air - A Method Air (front hand grabs heel edge between the bindings) where the back leg is boned.

Crooked Cop Air – Freeriding version of the mosquito air.

Cruiser Run – A mellow, smooth trail at a resort where the riders take it easy.

D

Dampening – Reducing chatter (vibration) to increase handling and control. Structural modifications can be made to a snowboard or bindings to increase dampening.

Delaminate - When the top sheet of your snowboard begins to chip or peel off typically resulting from a crash, long term use, a defect or poor care of the snowboard.

Detune - The process of dulling the edges of the snowboard. Most people detune the edges around the nose and tail so they do not catch in the snow.

Ding – A scratch or gouge in the base of the board. Dings can occur if a rider rides over a rock or hits a hard chunk of ice.

Directional Stance - A snowboard stance allowing one to ride differently in one direction than the other. In other words your bindings are mounted on the snowboard so the distance between the nose and the front binding is different from that between the tail and the rear binding. With your bindings set this way, you would ride more easily in your preferred direction (being goofy or regular).

Duckfooted – A stance angle in which the toes are pointed outward like a duck.

E

Edge – The smooth metal edges that run the perimeter of the snowboard.

Effective Edge - The length of steel edge on the snowboard that comes in contact with the snow when making turns. It is the effective part which is used to make a turn. A longer effective edge makes for faster riding, while shorter effective edge makes boards easier to turn and spin.

Eggflip - An Eggplant where the rider flips over in order to re-enter the pipe instead of rotating 180 degrees.

Eggplant - A 180 backside rotated invert in which the front hand is planted on the lip of the halfpipe wall.

Extruded Base - P-tex base of a snowboard created by extrusion of sheets. It is of lower quality, does not hold and absorb wax very well, and is less durable.

F

Faceplant – When a rider falls on his or her face.

Fakie – Riding backwards or with your non-dominant foot forward. Also referred to as ‘riding switch.’

Flail – A term used to describe out of control riding.

Flat Bottom - The flat area in a halfpipe between the two opposing transitional walls.

Flatland - Term used to describe tricks performed on a flat slope without obstacles.

Flex - Term used to describe the snowboard’s stiffness and pattern of how it flexes. It refers to longitudinal flex (flex of the length) and torsional flex (flex of the width).

Flying Squirrel Air - Bending at the knees and grabbing the heel edge of the snowboard with both hands with the front hand near the front foot, and the rear hand near the rear foot.

Forward Lean - The adjustable angle of degree to which the binding highbacks keep your ankles bent in a forward leaning position. Half pipe riders increase their forward lean to gain speed. Park riders prefer a more relaxed forward lean, if any at all.

Freeriding - Snowboarding on all types of terrain (groomers, powder, backcountry) for fun with contests or competitions.

Freestyle Snowboarding – Mostly associated with riding the halfpipe, but which may also be used to describe jumps, spins, tricks and riding on boxes or rails.

Fresh Fish Air - The backside version of the Stale Fish

Front Hand - The hand closest to the nose of the snowboard.

Front Foot - The foot mounted closest to the nose of the board

Frontside Air - An aerial maneuver performed on the toeside wall of a halfpipe.

Frontside Rotation – Rotating the direction your heel side is facing.

G

Goofy – Riding with the front foot forward or facing down the hill.

Grab – To grab either side of the snowboard in the air with the right or left hand.

Grommet (Grom) - Refers to a small, young snowboarder.

H

Haakon Flip - An inverted switch 720 invented by Terje Haakonsen. A halfpipe trick in which the rider approaches the backside wall riding fakie and rotates in the backside direction while going upside down.

Half-Cab - The freeriding version of the Caballerial in which one rotates 180 degrees from fakie to forward off of a straight jump.

Halfpipe - A U-shaped snow structure built for freestyle snowboarding with opposing walls of the same height and pitch.

Handplant - A trick where one or both hands are planted on the lip of the half pipe wall or obstacle and the rotation is either backside or frontside

Hard Boots – Similar to alpine skiing boots, hard boots are very stiff for maximum support in carving and racing.

Heel Drag (overhang) – When the bindings are placed too far toward the heel side, the heels drag in the snow while riding and interfere with turns. Heel drag can occur when the board is too small for a rider’s foot.

Heel Edge – The edge of the snowboard where the heel hits.

Heel side Turn – Turn made with the heel side edge.

High Back Bindings - A binding system which includes a piece that supports the ankle and calf and extends perpendicularly from the board. They provide support, especially for edging and turning on the heel edge.

Highway – A large grove made by repeated riding in the same spot in the flat bottom and/or up the wall of a half pipe.

Ho Ho – A two handed hand plant.

Hole Pattern – The number of holes in a snowboard in which the bindings mount to the board (3 or 4 hole pattern).

Hucker – One who uncontrollably throws himself into the air without any regard to personal or surrounding safety.

I

Insert - The piece of metal laminated within a snowboard in order to secure the screws that attach the bindings.

Invert - A trick where the head is beneath the level of the board and the snowboarder balances on one or two hands.

Inverted Ariel – When a snowboarder becomes airborne with the head below the board at any given time.

Inveted 180 – See Crippler Air.

Inverted 540 – See McTwist.

J

Jam Session – A competition in which all riders perform in the half pipe or park at the same time. One rider drops in after the next in no particular order.

Japan Air - The front hand grabs the toe edge in front of the front foot (mute grab), both knees are bent, the rear leg boned, and the board is pulled to the level of the head.

Jib  -Riding on something other than snow like rails, boxes, trees, garbage cans, logs, etc.

J-Tear – Invented by Mike Jacoby, an invert where the rider rotates roughly 540 degrees in a frontside direction while planting one or both hands on the lip of the wall.

K

Kicker – Large jump with a manmade or natural ramp.

L

Late – Putting an extra move in an aerial trick before landing.

Leash - A retention device used to attach the snowboard to the front foot so it won’t slide away while getting in or out of the bindings.

Lien Air – Named after skateboarder Neil Blender, the front hand grabs the heel edge and the body leans out over the nose.

Lien Method Air - A cross between a Method and a Lien.

Lip - The top edge of the half pipe wall.

M

McEgg - An invert where the athlete plants the front hand on the wall, rotates 540 degrees in a backside direction, and lands riding forward.

McTwist - Named after skateboarder Mike McGill, an inverted aerial where the athlete performs a 540 degree rotational flip. In other words, the rider approaches the halfpipe wall riding forward, becomes airborne, rotates 540 degrees in a backside direction while performing a front flip, and lands riding forward.

Melonchollie Air - The front hand reaches behind the front leg and grabs the heel edge between the bindings while the front leg is boned.

Method Air – With both knees bent and the heels rising toward the rider’s back, the front hand grabs the heel edge and the board is pulled to level of the head.

Miller Flip - An inverted aerial where the halfpipe wall is approached riding forward, the front hand is planted, a 360 degree frontside rotation is made, and the rider lands riding fakie.

Misty Flip - An inverted backside 540 performed off of a straight jump. It is the straight jump version of the McTwist. Therefore the approach is riding forward and the landing is fakie.

Mosquito Air - A trick in the half pipe where the front hand reaches behind the front leg and grabs the heel edge between the bindings. The front knee is then bent to touch the board tuck knee style.

Mute Air - The front hand grabs the toe edge either between the toes or in front of the front foot.

N

Nollie – Much like an ollie, except the rider springs off of the nose instead of the tail.

Nollie Frontflip - Springing off of the nose while going off of a jump while leaning forward, allowing you to do a frontflip.

Nose - The front end of the snowboard or tip.

Nose Bonk – To intentionally hit and rebound off of a natural or manmade object with the nose.

Nose Grab Air – During an aerial, the front hand grabs the nose of the snowboard.

Nose Poke Air - Any maneuver where you bone your front leg and “poke” the nose of the snowboard in a direction away from your body usually while grabbing.

Nose Slide - To press the nose of the snowboard while lifting the tail and sliding along the ground or an object.

Nuclear Air - The rear hand reaches across the front of the body and grabs the heel edge in front of the front foot.

O

Ollie - Borrowed from skateboarding, an Ollie is to get air by first lifting the front foot, springing off the back foot, then landing on both feet.

Overhang (heel drag) – When the heel drags off the end of the snowboard. Occurs if the bindings are set up incorrectly or if the board is to small for the rider.

P

Palmer Air – Named after Shaun Palmer, a variation of a method where the grab is near the nose, the board is pulled across the front of the body, and the nose is pointed downward.

Phillips 66 – Named after skateboarder Jeff Phillips, an invert where the athlete approaches the halfpipe wall riding fakie, plants the rear hand on the lip of the wall while doing a “front flip” and lands in the transition riding forward.

Pipe Dragon – A grooming device used to groom half pipes.

Poach – To ride closed terrain, like a roped off trail, the park or half pipe.

Polyurethane Injection Construction - Common in lower-priced snowboards, this snowboard construction is made by injecting Polyurethane foam into a mold to comprise the core. Such snowboards are usually lighter than wood core boards, but are also less durable and lose flex and camber after a hard season of riding. They have a much shorter life span than a board with a wood core.

Pop Tart - Airing from switch to forward in the halfpipe without rotation.

Poser - One who pretends to be something one is not.

Pro Jump - A drop off, usually two to four feet in a racecourse.

P-Tex – A brand of polyurethane used to form and repair the base of skis and snowboards. Although not all snowboards bases are composed of P-Tex, many riders often refer to any base material as P-Tex.

Q

Quadratic Sidecut - Sidecut design shape which is based on a quadratic formula rather than the arc of a circle. Such a design allows for camber and board flex to be integrated into the board construction.

Quarterpipe - A halfpipe with only one wall. It looks like a snow sculpted shape which contains a transition and a vertical, and is used as a jump to catch air.

R

Rail – 1. A snowboard obstacle resembling a hand rail for stairs. 2. The sidewall and an edge of a snowboard.

Railing - A term used to describe making fast and hard turns.

Rail Slide - To slide the rails of the snowboard onto almost anything other than a flat slope like a fallen tree branches, logs, coping of a half pipe or a picnic table.  other than a flat slope.

Rear Hand - The hand closest to the tail of the snowboard.

Rear Foot - The foot mounted closest to the tail.

Regular Footed - Riding on a snowboard with the left foot facing down the hill or closest to the nose.

Revert - To switch from riding fakie to forward, or from forward to fake typically while the snowboard is still touching the ground.

Rewind - Where a rotation is initiated, stopped, and its momentum reversed.

Roast Beef Air - The rear hand grabs the heel edge between the bindings while the rear leg is boned.

Rocker - The opposite of camber. When placed on flat ground, the center of the board between the bindings comes in contact with the surface while the board’s nose and tail rise off the ground. Often used on boards engineered for powder, park or beginners. Many variations of rocker exist.

Rocket Air - The front hand grabs the toe edge closest to the front foot while the back leg is boned. The board points perpendicular to the ground.

Rodeo Flip - An inverted frontside 540 off of a straight jump. In the halfpipe, it is more like performing a 540 degree rotation which is inverted and off-axis.

Rolling Down the Windows – When a rider is caught off balance and they
rotate their arms wildly in the air to try and recover.

Rollout Deck - The very top horizontal portion of the halfpipe wall where one can stand and look into the half pipe. Photographers often shoot from this point. It is used as a walkway in order to hike to the top of the halfpipe.

Run – A slope or trail.

Running Length - The length of the base of the snowboard which touches the snow.

S

Sad Plant – A hand plant where the front leg is boned out for style.

Sandwich Laminated Construction - Snowboard construction which is the most expensive and labor intensive to make. Either foam or wood core is used and typically provides the lightest weight and most lively flex.

Seatbelt Air – While the front leg is boned, the front hand reaches across the body and grabs the tail.

Segmented Edges - Steel edges which do not form one or two solid pieces around the edge of the snowboard. It costs less to product and is less durable, but is easier to replace than solid steel edges. Snowboards with segmented edges usually have many pieces around the nose and tail.

Shifty Air – When the upper torso and lower body are twisted in opposite directions and then returned to normal. Usually the front leg is boned and no grab is involved.

Shovel - The lifted or upward curved sections of a snowboard at the tip and tail.

Sidecut Radius - The measure (usually in cm) of the circle radius to which the sidecut of a snowboard corresponds. The smaller the number, the quicker and easier a board will turn. A higher number results in the rider’s ability to ride faster

Sideslip – Sliding sideways down a slope. Beginners often sideslip when they are learning.

Sintered Base - High molecular-weight base formed by the heating and compression of small fragments of P-tex. Sintered bases absorb and hold wax better and are more durable than extruded bases, i.e. they are faster.

Slob Air - The front hand grabs mute, the back leg is boned, and the board is kept parallel with the ground.

Slopestyle - A freestyle event in which the competitor rides over a series of various kinds of jumps, boxes and rails. He or she is then judged on the performance of tricks and maneuvers.

Smith Grind - A trick on the lip where the rider slides with the coping perpendicular to the snowboard, the front leg is boned, and the nose is oriented below the coping while the tail is above. This is typically a skateboarding trick, but snowboarders attempt it on snow.

Soft Boots - Snowboard boots designed for use in freestyle and freeride snowboarding. Boots are soft and pliable and allow a large range of motion while maintaining sufficient support.

Snurfer – The original snowboard made in 1965 by Sherman Popper. It did not have bindings or edges, but had a rope attached to the nose for steering.

Snake - A term used to describe someone who cuts in front of you in the lift line or drops in front of you in the half pipe or park.

Spaghetti Air – With the back leg boned, the rear hand reaches between the legs and behind the front leg to grab the toe edge in front of the front foot.

Speed Check – To slow down by make a few quick turns or sliding sideways when approaching a jump with too much speed.

Spin – To turn in the air.

Spine - A snow sculpted jump with two transitional walls coming together to form a spine. A rider may air off either side and land on the other.

Spoon Nose - A nose of a snowboard that is shaped so the edges curve up like a spoon. A spoon nose is helpful for buttering and jibbing, so as not to catch an edge at the nose.

Stale Egg - An eggplant with a stalefish grab. Refer to Eggplant and Stalefish.

Stalefish Air – With the rear leg boned, the rear hand grabs the heel edge behind the rear leg and in between the bindings.

Stalemasky Air - The front hand reaches between the legs and grabs the heel edge between the bindings while the front leg is boned.

Stalled - When a trick is performed and held still or ‘stalled’ for an extended period of time in the air.

Staircase - A series of ledges where the rider jumps down from one to the next.

Stance - The position of ones feet and bindings on the snowboard differentiated by angles and width.

Stick – Another name for a snowboard or a term used to describe a perfect landing by a rider.

Stiffy Air - Any trick in which both legs are boned and a grab is incorporated.

Stinky - Riding with the legs spread open and knees apart.

Stoked (slang) - An alternate term for the word psyched or excited.

Stomp - A term used to describe a good landing made by a rider.

Stomp Pad - The no slip pad attached to the snowboard with adhesive between the bindings. It helps in getting on and off the lift with the rear foot out of the binding on the stomp pad.

Suitcase Air - Similar to the Method Air except once the knees are bent, the front hand reaches under the base of the snowboard from behind to grab the toe edge.

Swiss Cheese Air – With the back leg boned, the rear hand reaches between the legs behind the front leg and grabs the heel edge in front of the front foot.

Switchstance (Switch) – Riding with your non-dominant foot forward. Also referred to as riding fakie.

T

Table Top - A jump in which the take off and landing is connected by a long flat surface. Ideally, the rider should clear the ‘table’ and land on the down slope.

Tail - The rear tip of the snowboard.

Tail Bonk - To intentionally hit and bounce off an object, either natural or manmade, with the tail of the snowboard.

Tail Grab Air - The rear hand grabs the tail of the snowboard.

Tail Poke – When the rear leg is bonedmaneuver where you bone your rear leg and “poke” the tail of the snowboard in a direction away from your body, usually while grabbing.

Tail Slide - To slide along the ground or an object solely on the tail of the snowboard with the nose lifted.

Tail Tap - See Tail Bonk.

Tail Wheelie - To ride solely on the tail of the snowboard with the nose in the air.

Taipan Air - The front hand reaches behind the front foot and grabs the toe edge between the bindings. The front knee is then bent to touch the board tuck knee style.

Toe Edge – The edge of the snowboard closest to the toes. Opposite of heel edge.

Toe Overhang/Drag – When the toe hangs off the edge of the board and potentially drags in the snow. Toe drags occurs if the binding is set up incorrectly or if the board is too small for the rider.

Toeside Turn - Making a turn on your toe side edge.

Transition (Tranny) - The radial curved section of a halfpipe wall between the flat bottom and the vertical.

Traverse - To ride perpendicular or diagonal to the fall line.

Tree Well – A hole in the snow surrounding a tree. Often times, tree wells are very difficult to see.

Tuck - A crouched position of low wind resistance used to attain higher speed.

Tuck knee - A technique where one knee is bent and the ankle bent laterally in order to touch the knee to the snowboard between the bindings.

Tweaked - Pulling the board forward or backward while preforming a trick in the air.

Twin Tip - A snowboard which has both nose and tail shaped identically. The flex is also mirrored throughout the board and it’s mean’t to have the same feel whether riding switch or regular.

V

Vertical (Vert) - The vertical top portion of a wall in a half pipe, which allows the snowboarder to boost into the air.

W

Wack – Something that is not good.

Wall – the transition and vertical section of a half pipe.

Waist – The narrowest part of the board in between the bindings.

If there are any snowboarding terms that we’ve missed, please let us know via the comment form below.  Thank you.

6 Responses to “Snowboarding Terms”

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  4. Pretty sure that is the only sport with such a strange language.

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  6. You left out “yard sale”
    Yard Sale – is a fall where someone’s equipment falls off. This equipment includes hat, goggles, gloves, skis, poles, or anything else. The equipment is scattered up the hill and whoever fell has to walk back up to gather it.

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