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Snow Words, Dude
Each winter, many media features claim Inuit/Eskimo languages have hundreds of words for snow while English has but a few. But hang around winter-sport venues, and you will hear this is truly lame.
Talk to two-plankers, even those on skinny skis, or freeriding Boarders, and hear what terms have entered the snowcabulary. But don't waste a bluebird day collection your data.
While Inuit recognize pukak, as crumbly, ice crystal snow, plankers call it sugar powder derived from powder, a light, dry, fluffy snow.
Then we have champagne powder, very dry snow so light it can't be made into a snowball. Mashed potato is mushy, wet snow so heavy a shovel stands up in it. Boilerplate or bulletproof describes-hard, dense icy snow, often created by a thaw or rain, and not to be confused with corn, spring snow that forms into small, light pellets, or frozen chicken heads which forms when spring slush freezes.
Newly fallen snow can be the freshies, Sierra cement, granular, or hardpack, but the best fresh new stuff leaves The Goods or a White Room on the slopes and not white asphalt, breakable crust, or New England ice. And heaven forbid groomed slopes have crud, chowder, or Death Cookies on them. Light snowfall on icy hills is dust on crust.Not only are there special ski words for the snow, but they have special terms for different weather conditions. For example, a bluebird day refers to the most gorgeous day imaginable. A bluebird day is a bright, sunny day after a fresh snowfall the night before, and often the sky, and mountains, are a deep bluebird-blue hue. One the other side of the coin is vertigo where foggy conditions make it it very easy to lose your sense of balance.
Schussers and shredders are not the only ones with special English snow words. In Alaska, termination dust is the season's first light dusting on the mountain tops that warns big snow is just around the corner.
American skiers have been credited with more than 70 new snow words and the list continues to grow as new slang emerges into popular usage. So be bodacious; be bent to invent, and add to that list. That would be phat!
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