Local Lingo: A Ski Town Dictionary

By Jenna Mahaffie

The other day, I told my friends from college that the Superbowl LIII halftime show was effectively “clapped,” — aka messed up, bad, a proper disaster. I  got nothing but crickets until one person responded, “what’s clapped?”

It occurred to me then that not everyone speaks the lingo of a ski town. I mostly use the word clapped to describe snow conditions. Example: when it hasn’t snowed for days on end and we’ve been going through a thaw-freeze cycle, the village becomes clapped. Or, when thousands of Ikon pass users flood the RFID gates and force the gondi line down to the hill, well, that’s clapped!

In order to prevent awkward looks, head tilts and incorrect usage, we’ve compiled a dictionary of sorts to help you navigate the ins and outs of local lingo. Commit them to memory and then apply them on your next packed Gondi (Gondola) ride and see what happens…

  • Casper Beach: I started off writing this as a specific physical location in the Casper area of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but realistically, Casper Beach is just a term for those amazingly warm, sunny days when all you really want to do is break out the skinny skis and chill on Casper with your friends. In the spring, pick up some fries and a jello shot from Casper lodge and indulge responsibly in between hot laps (see hot laps below).
  • East Jackson / West Jackson: While the directional term here isn’t necessarily super accurate, the term East and West is often used to describe the neighborhoods located in the town of Jackson. East Jackson primarily serves the Redmond Street corridor and everything surrounding it, and West Jackson is used to describe the streets past the Virginian and Scott Lane. Everything in the middle? People who live there like to call it “Midtown” to make it sound more hip than it is.
  • Gaper: Celebrated every year on Gaper Fool’s Day (on or around April 1), a gaper wears retro one-piece ski suits unironically. They’re new to the sport, and haven’t clued in to the style rules or shrediquette. A “gaper gap” refers to the space between the top of your goggles and the bottom rim of your helmet—it’s not something you want. Mind the gap. (See also: Jerry)
  • Hot laps: Quick, fun ski runs (often on Casper, considering the terrain lends itself to short trails).
  • Jerry: Someone who is generally– for lack of a better term – clapped. Maybe you lack ski steeze and are wearing jeans on a powder day, or rocking a full-face helmet. Or maybe you’re a seasoned vet of the ski town lifestyle but forgot your goggles and are forced to wear lost and found Smith’s from 2001. Yeah, you’re a Jerry. (See also: Gaper)
  • LoCoRo: The locals’ weekend bar rotation. Start at the Local, make your way next door to the Cowboy, and then head across the street to the Rose for late night debauchery.
  • Powder Clause: Those who work 9-5 jobs here are familiar with this term, which describes an unwritten clause in work contracts that says employees can go skiing on a work day if it snows more than a certain amount*** (***As long as you get all your work done or don’t have any meetings or deadlines or a manager that’s out to destroy your general well being, etc etc).
  • Sending: The act of crushing (accomplishing) a ski line, jump line, or really just life in general with steeze. As used in a sentence: “Dude, you absolutely sent Pucker Face this morning!” or, “Oh yeah, we sent the bars hard last night.”
  • Skid: Otherwise known as: dirtbag, ski bum, vagabond… To a skid, skiing is life. Skids do whatever it takes to ski as often as possible. They work multiple jobs during the off-season, but in the winter can get away with only working at the mountain for the free pass. Skids can eat ramen for every meal, know where to find the free food, and have likely lived out of their car at some point (or is living there now). If they are in a house, it’s with at least five other people in a one or two-bedroom spot.
  • Sloshie: Equivalent to 7-11 slurpees from the days of yore… except loaded with alcohol. Drink two of these and you’ll guarantee some slurred words and a gnarly sugar headache. Best places to pick up these adult treats include the Bodega in Teton Village, Hoback Market (try the Mudslide, you won’t regret it), and Creekside Deli.
  • Steeze: The combination of style and ease. Can be used to describe someone’s skiing style, general fashion sense, or the way in which they carry themselves on a daily basis.