"working on my faults and cracks..."


for lack of a better adjective

I don't understand winter sports. Winter mentalities. Winter people. Now that Spring's subjective arrival is finally upon the city, and the clean, symmetrical office landscape is no longer punctuated by fat twintips and slender tellys leaning against every other cubicle, I'd like to take a moment to look back on this past winter, and the alien species I spent it with. Our differences were immeasurable; when I was strapping on fenders and cursing the skies, they were already long gone--juiced on coffee and red bull, skipping work in the frozen pre-dawn drag race to the mouth of Little Cottonwood. And when I was leaning the wheeled, cro-moly popsicle against my desk, scraping brown sludge from the calipers and seatstays, and chipping layers of ice from my very god-forsaken bone marrow, they were already barefoot, lounging around the office in their poly baselayers and basketball shorts, comparing shred stories from the morning's many trips up and down the mountain--trips whose overall success would be based proportionately on their chronological proximity to first tram, amount of snow/ice frozen to one's beard, and/or the starkness of skin contrast from one's own goggle tan.

Perhaps by studying their native dialect I might learn more about what drives the deranged mind of someone batshit insane enough to actually pray for snow. I already have a foreign language degree--through a process of total immersion, another would be painfully simple. And so began a careful inventory on all the completely foreign vocabulary I was able to glean from time spent in close conversational proximity with this small army of skiers--an indigenous tribe of fascinating, yet generally unhinged "winter people:"

* freshies: fresh, untracked powder
blue bird: phenomenon describing a day in which everyone in the office skips work to catch first chair/freshies
* pow: short for 'powder,' ie: of the light and fluffy variety
mank: the antithesis of pow; most commonly, the heavy, icy, cruddy, slushy, and/or buzz-killing snow unfit to ski on
* gnarpow: still powder, but of significantly 'gnarlier' properties; ie: lighter, fluffier, or of generally gnarlier potential, etc.
* fluffulence: quality and/or 'fluffiness' of powder, with particular regard to lake effect snow

* shred the gnar: to vigorously ski fresh powder to the fullest of one's ability
* schralp the gnar: east coaster equivalent of gnarpow shredding
gnarnia: pristine, white aftermath of an incredible storm
face shot: upward spray of fresh powder into one's face; an otherwise euphoric side effect of aggressive turns in deep, untracked powder (see also full facial)
* whiteroom: repeated, consecutive, and/or unrelenting face shots
 * hucking the salami: willful disregard for personal safety and hurling oneself off a jump/ledge/cliff, or down any significantly steep incline
* afterbang: harsh impact after a particularly irresponsible huck; particularly where one's knees come up and strike the chin or forehead
* afterbung: past tense of the aforementioned
getting ignorant: the act of reckless skiing, albeit with complete, and total disregard for one's own safety, usually with copious amounts of salami-hucking, and otherwise gnar-shredding
* yard sale: complete loss of gear (skis, poles, hat/helmet, jacket, etc.) after a particularly horrific crash

* beater: fair-weather ski tourist of significantly inferior skiing ability and/or experience; easily spotted wearing jeans, using old rental gear, or searching out missing skis/poles after epic yard sale
* beatering out: entanglement or entrapment of said beater, in their own gear; most usually a result of improper technique, overestimation in personal ability, or just a general lack of common sense (see also: gaping it up)
* shitshow: blanket statement for any generally unfavorable situation (ie: long tram lines, poor weather and/or risky avi conditions, unnecessary closures, etc. (see also, junk sha-sha-show)
* steez: incredible style, executed with incredible ease
* steeze exhaust: consistent and/or repeatedly outrageous displays of steez (ie: to 'ride,' or to 'blow on' the steez exhaust)
steezus christ: king of steez, lord of gnarpow, savior of the beaters, inventor and frequent rider of steez exhaust

A half a year spent in the trenches, learning the tongue of these mentally fractured prophets of pow, and what is my great dissertation? Not much, actually, beyond what I already suspected:

~ winter is still unequivocally miserable, and those who voluntarily enjoy it are fundamentally broken. They just have cooler vocabulary than the rest of us summer schleps.

2 contributions to this piece:

m said...

i seem to recall one involving a nun...i think more research is required. call scoot.

Dagbert said...

Better judgement kept that one off the list. This may be the internet, but even I have standards.

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