Snowboarding Terminology

Ever been snowboarding and heard strange words you never heard before? Now here's your chance to learn some snowboarding terminology. 


Air: Any jump or leap where the rider lifts off the ground; alternately called an aerial.

Air-to-Fakie: Any trick in the halfpipe where the wall is approached riding forward, no rotation is made, and the boarder lands riding backward.

Alley-Oop: Any maneuver in the halfpipe where a boarder rotates 180° or more in an uphill direction by rotating backside on the frontside wall or rotating frontside on the backside wall.

All-mountain: Snowboards designed for exploring any terrain, from groomed runs to powder to park and pipe.

Asymmetrical Board: Board with unmatched sides designed for regular or goofy stance.

Asymmetrical Sidecut: A board that has a different-size sidecut on either side. In a shifted asymmetrical sidecut board, the center of the heelside radius is shifted back farther than the toeside radius to compensate for uneven weight distribution between the 2 edges.

 Avalanche: A large snow slide that is often the result of heavy snowfalls, high winds, warm temperatures or human activity.

Avalanche Transceiver: A radio transmitter/receiver worn by riders in avalanche-prone terrain; its signal aids rescuers in locating buried avalanche victims.


Backcountry: Unpatrolled wilderness terrain with unpredictable topography, random natural obstacles (trees, cliffs) and no marked trails; detached from resort amenities. Also known as off-piste terrain.

Backfoot: The foot closest to the tail of the board.

Backside: The area behind a rider's back in a halfpipe or during a trick off a wall. Also, the spot where heels rest on a snowboard.

Backside Air: Any air performed on the backside wall of the halfpipe.

Backside Handplant: A 180° handplant where the rear hand or both hands are planted on the lip of the wall and the rotation is backside.

Backside Rotation: A rotation in which a rider's back is the first thing to cross the vector a board is traveling. It is clockwise for regular riders and counterclockwise for goofy riders.

Backside Turn: A turn on heelside edge of the board with the rider's back uphill.

Bail: To intentionally abandon a maneuver and fall. Also, a clip on older-style plate bindings.

Banked Slalom: A slalom race course in which gate turns are set on snow banks.

Base: A snowboard's underside designed to glide across snow. Most bases are either extruded or sintered.

Baseless Bindings: Snowboard bindings without a base plate, leaving the boots in direct contact with the top of the snowboard and as close to the snow as possible.

Bevel: The angle of a snowboard's edges. Racing boards should have a greater bevel than a board for a halfpipe.

Blindside: Any rotation in which the snowboarder is blind during takeoff or landing. A clockwise rotation for regular riders and a counterclockwise rotation for goofy riders.

Board: Snowboard.

Boardercross Competition: A race course in which gates have been set up in an obstacle course. Snowboarders in groups of 4 to 6 race in heats through jumps and turns. The top 3 advance to the next round.

Boned: A straightened leg during a jump.

Bonk: Hitting a nonsnow object with the snowboard.

Boost: Catching air off a jump.

Bumps: Moguls or snow mounds.

Burger Flip: A halfpipe trick in which the rider goes into the backside wall riding fakie, rotates 180° in the air, and then reenters the pipe doing a McTwist.

BX: Boardercross.


Caballerial (Cab): A trick where the rider starts by riding switch, spins 360° and lands in the original stance.

Camber: The curved or arched shape built into a snowboard, which gives it spring and pop on groomed runs. When placed on a flat surface, a cambered snowboard rests on its tip and tail, and the center is raised. The opposite of this design is reverse camber, or rocker.

Canadian Bacon Air: A trick in which the rear hand reaches behind the rear leg grabbing the toe edge between the bindings and the rear leg is boned.

Cant: Refers to the angle of the feet, side-to-side, which causes knees to move inward or outward.

Cap Construction: Board construction in which the topsheet wraps around to the edges, providing increased torsional rigidity.

Carve: A turn using the edge of the snowboard.

Cat Tracks: Trails used or made by snowcats.

Centered Stance: Mounting the bindings on a snowboard so the distance between the tail and the nose is the same, proving a rider with equal control when riding regular (forward) or switch (backward).

Chatter: Snowboard vibration experienced at higher speeds and during turns.

Chicken Salad Air: With the leading leg straight (boned), the rear hand reaches between the legs and grabs the heel edge between the bindings. The wrist is rotated inward to complete the grab.

Chute: A narrow strip of snow bordered by rocks and cliffs.

Chunder: Irregular, sometimes large clumps of snow such as snowcat debris. Sometimes also called chunk.

Control Gate: A plastic pole around which racers must maneuver.

Coping: A rounded lip (usually made of metal, concrete or plastic pipe) at the top of a ramp or obstacle.

Corduroy: Ribbed snow surface left by a snowcat after grooming a slope.

Corkscrew: A fast and tight rotation, while either freeriding or in the halfpipe.

Cornice: An overhanging lip of wind-packed snow on a wind-prone mountain ridge.

Couloir: A steep, narrow gully on a mountain.

Crail Air: The rear hand grabs the toe edge in front of the front foot while the rear leg is boned.

Crippler Air: A halfpipe inverted aerial where the snowboarder performs a 180° flip and then goes forward to the halfpipe, grabs air, rotates 90°, flips over in the air, rotates another 90° and lands riding forward.

Crossbone Method Air: The front hand grabs the heel edge, the legs are boned, and the board is pulled to head level.

Crooked Cop Air: Freeriding version of the mosquito air.

Crud: Heavy, thick snow that is uneven in consistency and depth, making turns difficult.

Cruiser Run: A relaxed and mellow run or a fast run on a smooth trail or slope.

Crust: A hard layer of snow on top of softer snow.


Damp: The use of structural modifications to reduce vibrations in a snowboard, boosting its performance and handling at high speeds. Preferred over "dampening."

Delaminate: Separation or peeling of the layers of a snowboard.

De-tuning: Dulling the edges of the snowboard so they do not catch in the snow.

Ding: A scratch or hole in the base of a board.

Directional Stance: Stance on a snowboard that causes you to ride differently in one direction from the other.

Disaster: A halfpipe lip trick where the boarder lands with the coping perpendicular to the snowboard.

Double Grab: Going off of a jump, grabbing the board one way, then grabbing it in another way, then landing.

Double-Handed Grab: Simultaneously grabbing the snowboard with both hands while in the air.

Duckfoot: An angled stance with toes pointing outward like a duck.


Edge: Sharp, smooth metal strips around the bottom perimeter of a board.

Effective Edge: The length of a snowboard edge's that contacts snow during turns; excludes edges on tip and tail. A longer effective edge boosts stability and grip, good for boarders who ride fast on groomed runs. A shorter effective edge makes boards easier to turn and spin.

Eggflip: An eggplant in which the boarder flips over instead of rotating 180° to reenter the pipe.

Eggplant: A 180° backside rotated invert where the front hand is planted on the lip of the halfpipe wall.


Face Plant: When a rider falls on his or her face.

Fakie: Backwards, as in "riding fakie;" however, "riding switch" has become the new-school term for backwards riding.

Fall Line: The path of least resistance; the line of gravity down a slope.

Fifty-Fifth: Sliding with the board parallel to the coping.

Five-Forty (540) Air: The boarder rotates 540° in the air and lands riding switch.

Flail: To ride out of control.

Flat Bottom: The area in a halfpipe between the 2 opposing walls.

Flex: A snowboard's receptiveness to twisting along its length (longitudinal flex) or across its width (torsional flex).

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

Food Trick: Any aerial maneuver where the rider grabs an edge of the board.

Forward Lean: The angle of highback soft bindings that keeps a rider's ankles bent in a forward, leaning position.

Frontside: Any maneuver using the toe edge of the board.

Freeride: Primarily riding powder, through trees and in backcountry terrain; secondarily, riding fast on groomed runs.

Freestyle: Performing jumps, spins and tricks; riding on rails, boxes and in the halfpipe.

Fresh Fish Air: Backside version of the stale fish.

Front Hand: The hand closer to the nose of the snowboard.

Front Foot: The foot mounted closest to the nose of the board.

Frontside Air: Air performed on the toeside wall of the half-pipe.

Frontside Handplant: A 180° handplant where the front hand is planted on the lip.

Frontside Rotation: The direction of a rider's rotated front heel.

Frontside Wall: The wall a rider faces when riding straight down a halfpipe.


Gap Jump: A jump with empty space between the takeoff and the landing.

Glide: Sliding straight without using the board's edges.

Goofy: Riding with the right foot forward (as opposed to regular, or riding with the left foot forward).

Grab: Using 1 or both hands to hold either edge of the snowboard.

Gradient: The measure of a slope's steepness.

Grind: To slide with the board parallel to the coping.

Grommers: Marked routes at resorts that have been smoothed and compacted by machines (usually snowcats) for comfortable riding.

Grommet (Grom): A small, young snowboarder.


Haakon Flip: The freeriding version of the caballerial. A 180° rotation from switch to forward off of a straight jump.

Half-Pipe: A U-shaped trench with walls of the same height and size on both sides. Used for performing freestyle tricks.

HP: Abbreviation for halfpipe.

Handplant: A halfpipe trick where the rider does a handstand on 1 or both hands.

Hard Boots: Stiff boots similar to alpine ski boots designed for carving and racing.

Hardpack: Firm, almost icy, fast snow.

Head Wall: A flat area on a hill where a road cuts across a ski run.

Heel Drag (Overhang): Drag caused when the heel hangs off the edge of a board.

Heel Edge: The edge where the heels rest.

Heelside: The edge of the board closest to the rider's heels.

Heelside Turn: A turn made on a rider's heelside edge.

High-Back Bindings: Bindings with rear braces that extend vertically and support the rider's calves.

Highway: A large groove in the flat bottom or up a halfpipe wall.

Hit: The takeoff point on a half-pipe or jump.

Ho Ho: Any 2-handed handplant.

Hole Pattern: The way holes are patterned on the snowboard for attaching bindings.

Hucker: A rider who goes airborne in a wild or uncontrolled manner without regard for personal safety.


Iguana Air: Using the rear hand to grab the toe edge near the tail.

Indy Air: The rear hand grabs between the bindings on the toe edge while the rear leg is boned. The board position is higher than the rider's head.

Indy Nose-Bone: The front leg is extended, the rear leg is bent, and the rear hand grasps the frontside edge.

Insert: A piece of metal with a threaded hole laminated to a snowboard and used to screw bindings to the board.

Invert: When a snowboarder balances on 1 or 2 hands with the head beneath the level of the board.

Inverted Aerial: When a snowboarder becomes airborne and upside down at any given moment.

Inverted 720 (720 McTwist): The snowboarder approaches the wall riding forward, goes airborne, rotates 720° in a backside direction with a front flip, and hits the ground riding switch.


Jam Session Halfpipe Competition: A competition in which all riders perform in the halfpipe at the same time.

J-Tear: An invert that is rotated about 540° in the frontside direction while planting 1 or both hands on the lip of the wall.

Jib: Riding on a surface other than snow.


Kicker: Jump ramp.

Kink: Contacting abnormal or rough surfaces, either in a halfpipe or while performing a jump.

Knuckle-grabber or knuckle-dragger: What pinheads sometimes call snowboarders.


Late: Putting an extra move into a trick before landing.

Layback Handplant: A 180° handplant using the frontside for rotation while the rear hand holds the wall lip behind the takeoff point.

Lead Hand: Hand closer to the front of the board.

Lead Foot: Foot closer to the front of the board.

Leash: A safety strap that connects the side of the front binding and the boot.

Lien Air: The body leans out over the nose, and the front hand grabs the heel edge. The backside edge is grabbed with the rear hand and the body is bent backwards toward the backside edge.

Lien Method Air: AA cross between a method and a lien.

Line: A rider's chosen path.

Lip: The top edge of the half-pipe wall.

Lip Trick: Trick performed near top of the wall of the halfpipe.


McEgg: An invert where the rider plants the front hand on the wall, rotates 540° in a backside direction, and lands riding forward.

McTwist: The snowboarder rides forward to the halfpipe wall, goes airborne, rotates 540° in a backside direction with a front flip, and then lands riding forward.

Mellow: The front hand grabs the backside edge, usually between the bindings.

Melonch Ollie Air: While the front leg is boned, the front hand reaches behind the front leg and grabs the backside edge in between the bindings.

Method Air: Both knees are bent, the front hand grabs the heel edge, and the board is pulled level with the head.

Miller Flip: The halfpipe wall is approached riding forward, the front hand is planted, a 360° frontside rotation is made, and the boarder lands riding switch.

Misty Flip: An inverted backside 540 performed off a straight jump.

Moguls: Large bumps and mounds in the slope, sometimes tightly spaced.

Mosquito Air: The front hand reaches behind the front leg and grabs the heel edge between the bindings while the front knee is 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.


Nine Hundred (900) Air: The snowboarder rotates 900° in the air and lands riding switch. In the halfpipe, the rider approaches the wall riding forward, rotates 900° and lands riding forward.

Nollie: An ollie springing off of the nose instead of the tail.

Nollie Frontflip: Springing off the nose while going off a jump and leaning forward into a front flip.

Nose: The front tip of the snowboard.

Nose-Bone: Jumping with the front leg straight and the rear leg flexed.

Nose Bonk: Hitting an object with the nose of the snowboard.

Nose Grab Air: Grabbing the nose with the front hand.

Nose Poke Air: Boning your front leg and poking the nose away from your body, usually while grabbing it.

Nose Slide: Sliding along the ground on the nose of the board.

Nuclear Air: Reaching the rear hand across the body and grabbing the heel edge in front of the front foot.


Off Piste: Unmarked, potentially unstable backcountry terrain without lifts, patrols or other resort amenities. Piste is a French term for a marked trail.

Off the Lip: A turn rendered on the crest.

Ollie: A jump into the air without assistance from a jump; often executed by lifting first the front foot and then the rear foot while springing off the tail.

One-Eighty (180) Air: Rotating 180° in the air and landing riding switch. In the halfpipe, the boarder approaches the wall forward, rotates 180°, and lands riding forward.

Overhang (Heel Drag): Drag caused when the heel hangs off the edge of a board.


Pack: A crash or fall.

Palmer Air: Grabbing near the nose, pulling the board across the front of the body, and pointing the nose downward.

Phillips 66: The boarder approaches the halfpipe wall riding switch, plants the rear hand on the lip of the wall while doing a "front flip" and lands in the transition riding forward.

Pinhead: A telemark skier.

Piste: A packed and groomed trail.

Pipe Dragon: A grooming machine that shapes the walls of a halfpipe.

Plate Binding: Also called "hard," a binding system used with hard-shell boots.

Poach: To ride the park when it's closed or roped off.

Pop Tart: Getting air from riding switch to forward in the halfpipe without rotation.

Poser: A person pretending to be something he or she is not.

Pro Jump: A 2- to 4-foot-high drop on a racecourse.

P-Tex: A specific brand of polyethylene (PE) used to form and repair the base of skis and snowboards; not all snowboards bases are composed of P-Tex, though conversationally boarders often refer to any base material as P-Tex.


Quarter-Pipe: A halfpipe with only 1 wall.


Rail: 1. A piece of wood embedded along the lip of a halfpipe. 2. The sidewall and edge of a snowboard.

Railing: Making fast, hard turns.

Rail Slide: To slide the rails of the snowboard onto anything other than a flat slope.

Ramp: A natural or artificial structure for jumps.

Rear Hand: The trailing hand (whichever is closer to the tail).

Rear Foot: The foot mounted closer to the tail.

Regular: Riding with the left foot forward (as opposed to goofy, with the right foot forward).

Revert: Switching from switch to forward or from forward to switch while the board is on the ground.

Rewind: Where a rotation is initiated, stopped or reversed.

Roast Beef Air: While the rear leg is boned, the rear hand reaches between the legs and grabs the heel edge between the bindings.

Rocker: Opposite of camber; sometimes called reverse camber. When placed on flat ground, a rockered board's tip and tail rise off the ground while its center touches it (much like the curved floor rails of a rocking chair). Often used on boards engineered for powder. Many variations of rocker exist.

Rocket Air: The back leg is boned, the front hand grabs the toe edge in front of the front foot, and the board points perpendicular to the ground.

Rodeo Flip: An inverted frontside 540 off of a straight jump.
Rolling Down the Windows: When an off-balance rider rotates arms wildly, trying to recover.

Rollout Deck: 1. A walkway used to get to the top of the halfpipe or to exit it. 2. The upper, level part of the wall that looks down into the halfpipe.

Run: A slope or trail.

Runout: Flat area at the bottom of a slope.

Running Length: The length of the snowboard base that touches the snow.


Sad Plant: Handplant where the front leg is boned for style.

Scoop: Raising the nose.

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

Segmented Edges: Steel edges pieced around the edge of the snowboard. They are less durable, but easier to replace than solid steel edges.

Seven-Twenty (720) Air: The boarder goes forward to the wall, rotates 720° and lands riding switch. Or rides switch, rotates 720° in the air and lands riding forward.

Shifty Air: Usually the front leg is boned, with the upper torso and lower body twisting in opposite directions before returning to normal.

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

Shred: To ride fast and stylishly.

Sidecountry: Backcountry terrain that lies just outside of resort boundaries. It is usually accessed through marked gates. Following a descent, snowboarders often must hike back to a lift.

Sidecut: The inward arc or curve created by the edges of a board.

Sidecut Radius: Think geometrically: If a board's sidecut was extended, it would eventually form a circle. A line drawn from the center of that imaginary circle is known as that board's sidecut radius. It is usually measured in meters. The smaller that number, the quicker and easier a board will turn. A higher number suggests the board is better equipped for speed.

Sideslip: Sliding sideways down a slope.

Sintered Base: A stronger, faster, lighter more durable version of polyethylene applied to more-expensive snowboards; requires regular waxing to keep pores filled with wax. The alternate: an extruded base.

Sketching: Riding precariously, barely in control; alternately, when a board slips out from beneath a rider after a jump or turn.

Slam: To crash.

Slob Air: The back leg is boned, the front hand grabs the toe edge either between the toes or in front of the front foot, and the board is parallel to the ground.

Slopestyle Competition: A freestyle event with a series of different jumps. The boarder is judged on the performance of tricks and maneuvers.

Smith Grind: A lip trick where the rider slides with the coping perpendicular to the snowboard, the front leg is boned, the nose is below the coping, and the tail is above.

Snurfer: The original snowboard that had no bindings or edges and had a rope attached to the nose. Made in the 1960s by Sherman Poppen.

Snake: Someone who cuts in front of you in the lift line or drops in front of you in the halfpipe.

Spaghetti Air: While the back leg is 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: Sliding sideways to slow down.

Spin: Turn.

Spine: A snow-sculpted jump with 2 transitional walls coming together to form a spine.

Spinal Tap: A hard backwards fall (sort of a reverse face plant) after a rider catches a heel edge.

Spoon Nose: Nose of a snowboard shaped so edges curve up like a spoon.

Stale Egg: An eggplant with a stale fish grab.

Stale Fish Air: While the rear leg is boned, the rear hand grabs the heel edge behind the rear leg and in between the bindings.

Stalemasky Air: While the rear leg is boned, the front hand reaches between the legs and grabs the heel edge between the bindings.

Stalled: When a trick's point of emphasis is held or "stalled" for an extended period of time.

Staircase: A series of ledges where a snowboarder jumps down from one to the next.

Stance: Position of the bindings on the board.

Stance Width: The distance between the bindings and the center.

Stance Position: The distance between the stance center and the board center.

Step-In Binding: A binding system for soft boots that you simply step into. The step-in binding must match the manufacturer's step-in boot.

Stick: Another name for a snowboard or a term used to describe making a good landing.

Stiffy: Jumping with both legs straight while grabbing the frontside.

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

Stoked: To be excited.

Stomp: A good landing.

Stomp Pad: The nonslip, traction-boosting pad between the bindings (usually nearer the rear foot) to assist a rider when gliding off a chairlift (with the rear foot out of the binding).

Suitcase Air: Like the method air, but the front hand does not reach under the snowboard base to grab the toe edge until the knees are bent.

Switch: Riding while facing backwards. A more contemporary term for riding fakie.


Table Top: A jump where the takeoff and landing is connected by a long, flat surface.

Tail: The rear tip of the snowboard.

Tail-Bone: Jumping with the rear leg straight and the front leg flexed.

Tail Bonk: Hitting something with the tail of the snowboard.

Tail Grab Air: The rear hand grabs the tail.

Tail Slide: Sliding on the tail of the board.

Tail Tap: Tapping something with the tail of the snowboard.

Tail Wheelie: Riding only on the tail 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.

Terrain Park: An area of a resort set aside for freestyle (tricks, jumps and spins).

Three-Sixty (360) Air: Rotating 360° in the air and landing riding forward.

Toe Edge: The edge of the board where the toes rest.

Toe Overhang/Drag: Drag caused when the toes hang over the edge of the board and catch the snow.

Toeside Turn: Making a turn on the toeside edge.

Torsional Flex: The amount of twist a snowboard exhibits across its width (edge to edge).

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

Traverse: To ride diagonally or perpendicular to the fall line.

Tree Well: A hole in the snow surrounding a tree.

Tuck: A crouched position used to reach higher speed and lower wind resistance.

Tuck Knee: One knee is bent and the ankle is bent sideways to touch the knee to the snowboard between the bindings.

Tweak: Pulling a board forward or backward while in the air.

Tweaked: A word used to explain the emphasis of style in a trick, an injury, or someone who is not quite right.

Twin Tip: A snowboard's nose and tail are shaped identically.

Twist: Rotation of the lower half of the body during a jump.


Vertical (Vert): The vertical top portion of a wall in a halfpipe.


Wacked: Something not so good.

Wall: A vertical section of a halfpipe.

Waist: The narrowest point in the middle of a board. Narrower waists are easier to turn and are often preferred by novices and freestylers.

Wipeout: A big fall.


Christie Tran
Christie Tran