(Last Updated On: March 1, 2016)

No one wants to sound as if they just stepped off the plane or stumbled out of their car after a cross-country road trip. Every place has their own lingo and quirky nicknames and phrases. Breck is no different. Here are some tips on how to sound more like a local and how to translate some of the local lingo while you’re in Breckenridge, otherwise known by residents as “Breck.”

1. In fact, our number one way to sound like a local is to refer to the towns and resorts in the area by their local nicknames. Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Town of Breck are both typically referred to as “Breck.” Nearby resorts are “The Basin” or “A-Basin” (for Arapahoe Basin which most locals don’t bother saying) and “The Beave” (for Beaver Creek).

2. Locals get pretty darn excited about skiing and riding. So much so that there are a handful of ways to describe your excitement. Here are a few terms to try out and to listen for while in Breck:

  • Epic: As in, “It’s going to be epic!” These days it seems as if everything is epic, including the Vail Resorts season passes and burgers at the on-hill restaurants. Yes, you can get an Epic Burger. Just beware, you might get a few epic eye rolls if you use this term and especially if you over-use this term.
  • Sick: As in, “That trick was so sick.”
  • Stoked: As in “I’m so stoked.” You’ll hear every pro skier and rider use this term at least 10 times after landing a “sick” trick.
  • Ripper and Grom: If you rip on your skis or snowboard, you’re a ripper. That means you’re super awesome. And, if you’re a little ripper, you might hear someone refer to that “ripping grom,” which is short for a kiddo or grommet who rips.

3. You’re in the Rocky Mountains, it makes sense to learn the names of the surrounding peaks. Here are a few:

  • Baldy
  • Quandary
  • Red
  • Buffalo
  • The Ten Mile Range – Breck Ski Resort has Peaks 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

4. Snow. That white stuff falling in the air and covering all those ski trails is called snow, simply snow. Right? Wrong. Studies have shown that the Inuits have more than 50 words for snow. Breck locals have their own ways to describe the snow and the on-mountain conditions. Here are a few:

  • Bad snow has been referred to as “chunder” (refrozen spring snow) or “dust on crust” (a very small amount of snow that falls on hard snowpack)
  • Good snow is anytime it snows a lot. This is usually called powder. Here are some other terms you might hear:
    • Pow, freshies, pow day, big dump, face shots (this is the magical thing that happens on a deep pow day when you are floating along and the snow flies into you face), blower pow, cold smoke pow
    • You might also hear people say, you’re entering the “white room” or “white out”
    • Then, there’s the “Powder day flu” that suddenly debilitates you, rendering you useless to go to work but perfectly capable and eager to ski and ride powder all day long
    • Once the fresh, untracked powder is skied, it’s “tracked out”
    • Your goal is to ski untracked, “fresh lines” all day long
    • In the spring, when you hear the term “mashed potatoes” don’t think it’s time for dinner. It’s time to ski and ride warm, soupy snow at the base of the mountain with the consistency of, you guessed it, mashed potatoes
    • In the spring, you’ll also get a taste of “Slush bumps” and “corn snow”

5. Ullr! Ullr! This is a chant you’ll hear throughout town in January during Ullr Fest, an event to honor the Norse God of snow. Ullr is pronounced “OO-ller” and locals and visitors alike pay homage to Ullr with a parade, bonfire, the World’s longest shot ski and other shenanigans to ensure more pow and freshies.

6. When you’re skiing, you’re not just skiing, you’re shredding. There are a myriad of terms for the act of shredding, such as:

  • “Shred the gnar” which means you’re going to ski some “gnarly” or difficult terrain.
  • “Yard sale” happens when you take an epic fall and everything scatters, flinging your helmet, skis, poles across the trail.
  • French fries and pizzas are how kiddos, their parents and ski school coaches coax the little “groms” into skiing straight (Be a French fry) or slowing down and stopping (Be a pizza. Pizza!)
  • Then there are the various terms for tricks and spins in the terrain park. For spins, you’ll hear: 360, 540, 720, 1020, 14s and other variations.

So, now that you can talk the talk, it’s time to “shred the gnar” on an epic pow day. You can thank us and Ullr for being so stoked in Breck.