By Philip Peterson II
Special to the Turnagain Times
The world of winter sports is ever changing. In my time, I’ve seen snowboarding go from the mismatched plaids of the grundge revolution to being sponsored by Paul Mitchell hair care products.
Skis have gone from long and skinny to twin tips that are so short and fat they look like you have a snowboard on each foot. Rather than having ski patrol knock down your little jumps, ski areas are now building gigantic booters and terrain parks. Telemarking is back in, as is the one-piece suit. And in a surprising turn of events industry representatives report that stretch pants are making quite a comeback.
As always, the jargon of the times is changing right along with the gear and customs. A skier no longer floats a double-heli, but rather pulls a stylie 720. One doesn’t shred the steep and deep, one schralps the “gnar.”
There is a time in each of our lives when we feel that we are at the pinnacle of being hip and happening in our chosen subculture. Inevitably we all find our way into the realm of old school. In an effort to keep up with our evolving ski culture, and to help bridge the gap between new school and old school, I have done a bit of linguistic research on the streets of Girdwood.
Here are a few extremely versatile entries for your verbal quiver. Using such lingo to describe your skiing/riding will make you ski faster, jump higher, and generally make you a much more impressive sounding individual. I advise those of you with teenage children that learning the following may make them feel uncomfortable.
Schralp: (verb) a versatile word that means something like “to do with gusto.” It can mean to ski, to eat, to ride, etc. Example: “Dude, let’s schralp a breakfast burrito before we go schralp the head wall.”
Puckered: (verb) fearing for one’s life. The origin of this slang refers to the involuntary sphincter contraction brought on by fear. Example: “Kate was fully puckered when she had to get around Pyramid’s ten foot over-hanging cornice by edging across the top of a 1000-foot cliff.”
Steezy: (adj.) a positive description with an emphasis on style, flair, and panache. The word has a wide range of uses, from fashion to athleticism. Example: “I got this steezy new J. Lindeberg jacket, and now the ladies gonna take notice.”
Tight: (adj.) synonymous with “cool.” It has a variety of uses but generally means impressive precision.
Example: “Yo G, That was a tight line you threw down in the knuckles yesterday.”
Gravy: (adj.) the Coup de Grace similar to “icing on the cake.” Alludes to the positive attributes of that delicious artery clogging sauce that adds the finishing touch to all meals from breakfast to dinner. Example: “Bro that trick was tight, but when you stomped the landing it was all gravy.”
I’d like to add my own contribution to new jargon.
Alaskalicious: (adj.) used to describe the immense grandeur, epic conditions, incredible flora and fauna, and surreal possibilities of our Alaskan environment, as in “only in AK.” Example: “That massive snowfall back around the first of the year was truly alaskalicious!”
The trick to making these new words part of your vocabulary is trying them out in your everyday conversations. For instance, when your boss asks you how your weekend went, you can respond by saying, “Dude (old school), it was tight (new school). I schralped a little of the gnar (new school), and was totally stoked (old school).”
To bring it all home, I’ll leave you with the synonymous descriptions of skiing our costal snowfalls by three hip Girdwood residents:
Joe Sanks (old school), “It’s bluebird Bro-Mo, we need to crush the slush!”
Cory Anderson (new school), “Me and my fellow schalpaholics are headin’ out to feast on the sloppy Mash potatoes and corn.”
Five-year-old Jet Hiibner (preschool), “we’re going up chair three to go play in the chowder.”