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Powder Play

A highly abridged encyclopedia of skiing and snowboarding


The act of disengaging oneself from the snow to either jump or ride over an alien object, such as a log or stone.
No matter how proficient they are, chances are there will come a time in every slope slicker’s career when the cranium encounters an immovable object. Such a moment is, as a rule, made considerably more agreeable if a helmet is involved. For one thing, there’s less physical pain. There’s also the possibility that the right helmet will help diminish psychic pain—that is, your mortifying fail will be mitigated by the fact that you look good doing it. POC Sports’ Receptor Bug (starting at around $120), which comes in 10 colors, is big with tricksters because it’s a handsome helmet, yes, but also one that makes jibbing-related mishaps easier to bear. Plus, as a spokesman puts it, the Bug finally brings to an end “the constant conflict between ventilation and protection,” which will have important ramifications on your post-ski socializations, scent-wise.

Knuckle Dragger

A term used by skiers to describe snowboarders, referring to the crouched, loose-armed stance of these territorial rivals, as well as to their perceived lack of finesse.
Mad River Glen is like one of those general stores you still find in Vermont—the ones selling apple cider made by a local named Mavis. There’s a fierce dedication to tradition at this Fayston, Vt., resort, which opened more than half a century ago. The trails follow natural mountain contours and there’s very little snowmaking. You ski as nature intended, or not at all. And when we say “ski,” we mean just that: The resort isn’t open to snowboarders. As former owner Betsy Pratt reportedly sniffed, “Snowboarding on a ski mountain is like playing croquet on the 18th green. You can do it, but I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Lateral Bullet

A skier whose engagement with the forces of gravity and friction has gone so badly that he finds himself pinging across the slopes rather than down them.
For inexperienced skiers, there must be something comforting about heading for Diamond Peak, given that this Nevada resort is located in a place called Incline Village as opposed to, say, Plummeter’s Gulch. Fittingly, much of the resort is geared toward making the rookie’s cross-trail pinging as pain-free as possible. The slopes at this Tahoe favorite tend to be gentle and—most important—wide. The patrons, moreover, are not the sort given to providing spirited commentaries when you cut them off.

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