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Lost in Suburbia classic: The suburban dictionary of ski slang

Tracy Beckerman
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When my husband and I got married, I promised to love and honor him and learn how to ski. I was actually able to put off this last commitment for about 10 years. But then I was finally forced to take the plunge. I soon found out that the critical part of learning how to ski is actually learning how to fall and then getting back up again. The falling part is pretty easy. Getting up again without removing your skis, however, is about as impossible as actually taking up this sport when you’re 40 in the first place.

Assuming, however, that you’re bound by a marriage vow as I am, you now face the second element of becoming a skier: learning the lingo. For instance, on our ski trip this Christmas, I didn’t just fall, I was wiped out by a knuckle dragger, had a yard sale and did a faceplant. In non-skier terms, this means I was knocked down by a snow-boarder, my skis and poles went flying, and I landed face first in the snow. Of course, if you’re skiing with your squad (ski buddies) and you bail (wipe out), to them, it’s a photo op (when someone else has a yard sale).

Got all that?

Naturally, what is essential to the whole shebang is your ski outfit. Between goggles, gators, pants and poles, you could send your kid to college for a year on what it costs to put together a whole ski ensemble. What I realized, however, is that if you get the look just right, and the lingo down pat, you don’t even actually have to go on the slopes at all. Stick a lift ticket on your jacket, rub a little snow on your face, and bada-bing, bada-boom, you’re a skier.

Unless, of course, you have a kid to expose your ruse.

“Hey mom, want to ski the moguls with me?”

“Moguls?” I questioned. “You mean like Warren Buffet?”

He rolled his eyes at me.

“No. Moguls are the bumps on the expert slopes,” he said impatiently.

“Do you go over them?”

“No around them.”

“I think I’ll go way around them, like, on a totally different slope,” I told him.

“Oh, come on Mom, don’t be a dweeb.”

Even I, ski-illiterate that I am, knew what this meant.

“I may be a dweeb, but at least I’ll be a live dweeb,” I said, and hoisted myself up to take my daughter to the bathroom.

Now if walking on dry land when you are completely ski-ensembled is no easy task, going to the bathroom is darn near impossible. Twenty minutes later, zipped, buckled and tucked in all the right places, my daughter and I were finally ready to leave the ladies room. But just as we got to the exit, the door came flying open. As I lurched forward to save my daughter from being knocked over, my boots slipped on the slushy floor, and I had a yard sale.

I limped back to our table in the lodge and my husband came rushing over to see what had happened.

“What do you call it when you wipe out in the ski lodge bathroom,” I asked him.

He grinned. “Stupid.”
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.