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Winter Olympics: the language explained

The Telegraph February 19, 2014




Snowboarding idioms and luge lingo are all explained in our handy guide to the terms you're hearing coming out of Sochi

50/50 - When a snowboarder slides along the rails of a halfpipe, like those skateboarders you've seen slide down a hand rail outside the local precinct.

Air - Some of these terms will seem needlessly complicated and you won't know where they came from. This one just means 'they jumped and went in the air'. Simple enough.

Backside - When a snowboarder turns 180 degrees clockwise, rotating in the direction that their toe is facing. See also 'Frontside', which should be relatively self-explanatory.

Boned out - You might think this is one of the myriad terms for crashing, or something much more sinister, but it actually means straightening one's legs during a jump for extra style points.

Chicken salad - When a snowboarder puts their hands between their legs and grabs the heel-side edge of the board. The etymology of some of these is baffling.

Downhill - The fastest form of skiing, with the aim to get to the bottom of a massive hill as quickly as possible, ideally without crashing into a tree or something.

Eggplant - The American word for aubergine. Also, when a snowboarder spins around 180 degrees with the front hand placed on the wall of the halfpipe.

Faceplant - This actually is one of the myriad terms for crashing, when one lands on one's face. These are usually compiled into a bloopers video soundtracked by a California punk band and people spend hours laughing at your misfortune on YouTube.

Grab - Quite literally grabbing the side of the snowboard. It looks like they're hanging on for dear life, but it's actually to show off.

Handplant - When one 'plants' one's 'hands' on the lip of the halfpipe while twisting either backside or frontside. Logical.

Halfpipe - The ramp on which snowboarders perform their tricks. It's like a pipe, that's cut in half. See? You're getting the hang of it now.

Hucker - A person with little regard for their own safety, and little regard for potential offence caused for the hard of hearing.

Invert - When a snowboarder's head is below the level of their board, often using a handplant.

Kiggle-caggle - A curling term for when the stone wobbles around after being thrown. Almost certainly coined by a five-year-old.

Luge - In which a rider lies on their back and hurtles down an icy course on a sledge. Not to be confused with the skeleton, in which the rider lies on their front.

McTwist - Not something that will block your arteries, but a difficult trick that involves a snowboarder spinning around 540 degrees in the air, a head-first flip and forward landing. Makes you dizzy just thinking about that one.

Nordic combined - A combination of ski-jumping and cross-country skiing. A sport for the indecisive.

Ollie - A term borrowed/nicked from skateboarding, when a snowboarder achieves air by lifting the front foot then jumping off the back foot.

Roast beef air - Mmmmm, tasty. While it might sound like a very low-fat method of seasoning, apparently this means when a snowboard grabs the back edge of their board while their back leg is 'boned'. Which means straightened, if you missed that one earlier and got the wrong idea.

Skeleton - In which a rider lies on their front and hurtles down an icy course on a sledge. Not to be confused with the luge, in which the rider lies on their back.

Slalom - Derived from a Norwegian word, when skiers weave in and out of assorted obstacles.

Slopestyle - A freestyle event in which a snowboarder rides over an arrangement of boxes, rails and other assorted obstacles, and is graded on the number of tricks they perform. They must feel like performing dogs sometimes.

Spin - To turn in the air. Or to 'spin' in the air. You probably worked that one out.

Stoked - Slang for 'Feeling rather happy with how things are going at present, thank you kindly.'

Super-G - A shortened version of 'Super Giant Slalom', which is, as you might suspect, a massive slalom.

Tuck - When a snowboarder or skier crouches to gain more speed. Like they're 'tucking' their body. See - it all makes sense really.

Vertical or 'vert' - The vertical bit of the halfpipe. Do you really need us to explain all these? You're an intelligent person - you can figure it out for yourself. Well, actually, you probably got the wrong idea when someone said 'boned out', so it's just as well you read this, really.

Wongbanger - Sounds like a made-up Australian slang term for a very good thing, but it's actually a ballet-like manoeuvre in freestyle skiing.

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