Life Hacks
August 25th, 2018

Sledder Slang 101 – Part I: Snow and Riding Conditions

Within every sport there evolves a lingo, and mountain sledding is no exception. To the inexperienced ear, sledder slang may sound like pure gibberish. But knowing these words and phrases is important. Use a term the wrong way and you can easily be identified as a “newb”.

Don’t want to be mistaken for a rookie? Then this list is for you. Here are some words that will help you understand and talk like a seasoned veteran sledder.

Featured image by Kirsten Armleder


Sledder Slang 101


Here are a few general terms to get started. These are basic words that describe our sport.


Sledding (Usually pronounced sleddin’): A term riders that came up with the ’80s which means the act of riding a snowmobile.

Snowmachining: What our neighbours to the extreme north call riding a snowmobile.

Sled: Because “snowmobile” is two syllables too long.

Ski-Dooing: What your non-sledding buddy calls riding a snowmobile.


Part I: Snow and Riding Conditions

23 Terms That Describe Snow and Riding Conditions

Pow: Newly fallen snow that is light and fluffy.


Sledder Slang 101

Gotta love those pow days!


White Gold: Another term for fresh, untracked snow. Also the name of a mountain sledding webisode series.

Hero Snow: This usually occurs in the spring, when the snow hardens so that your sled says on top, allowing you to go anywhere. Remember: What goes up, must come down.


Sledder Slang 101

You can go just about anywhere in hero snow. Photo: Kirsten Armleder


Bluebird: Sunny, cloudless weather. If you’re lucky, a bluebird day will occur on a Saturday, right after a storm on Friday night.

Gnarly: When the weather, terrain or both create riding conditions that could also be described as challenging, ugly or requiring a high level of skill—craziness.

Gnar: Shortened form of gnarly, because using two syllables seems like a lot of work.

Bony: A thin snowpack in which you can see rocks and stumps or feel them hidden just below the surface of the snow.

Landmines: Rocks, stumps or other obstacles that are hidden just below the surface of the snow, lying in wait to take out an A-arm. Beware bent tunnels and cracked bulkheads!

Balls Deep: Very deep fresh snow = fun all day.


Sledder Slang 101

Tits deep! Yeah! Photo: Kirsten Armleder


Tits Deep: Very, very deep fresh snow = stuck all day.

Flat Light: When overcast clouds or snow compromise visibility, making it difficult to see variations in the terrain.

Socked In: Heavy clouds or a dense fog that hangs in the air.

Inversion: A dense layer of cold weather that is trapped under fog or low-lying clouds. Above the inversion, it will be sunny and warm.


Know Your Sledder – Don’t Sound Like a Kook!

Sick: Awesome, amazing, incredible, almost unbelievable.

Pow Stoke: Intoxicated by fresh snow. Pow stoke usually happens to riders who haven’t seen powder in days or weeks, due to life obligations or periods of drought.

Dump: When Old Man Winter releases a foot or more of fresh snow on the mountains.


Sledder Slang 101

Nothing beats a huge dump!


Mashed Potatoes: Heavy, soggy and extremely wet snow conditions that occur during an unusually warm spell.

Reset: When terrain that has been previously tracked out gets another good dump of snow.

Blower Pow: Light, dry powder that, ideally, floats over your shoulders as you ride through it.

Whoops: Medium- to large-sized bumps on the trail, which at the end of the day’s ride will have you hating life.

First Tracks: When you’re the first one in a zone after a recent snowfall.


It’s a great day when you can score first tracks in a zone!


Tracked Out: When you don’t get your lazy butt out of bed early enough to beat the crowds and the snow is chewed up by the time you get there.

Zone: A distinguished riding area.


Not all zones are as distinguished as this one.


Epic: When conditions are the best they ever get. To be used sparingly.

Now, put it all together: After an epic tree sesh, our stoke factor was so high we decided to poke up a gnarly climb where we found a new zone. It must have been dumping in there for days because the pow was balls deep. See? Easy!


Stay tuned for Sledder Slang 101 – Part II: Riders and Techniques!


– Kirsten

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