She challenged Grand Teton with her snowboard and came out
on top by making it to the bottom!

By Danielle deRuyter

To keep my story simple I like to tell people I was born on the beach, but I live in the mountains. I grew up in a small town on Cape Cod, MA and spent my summers tanning on the beach and playing in the ocean.  Today, I reside in Jackson, WY completely land-locked without a scent of salty air or fresh seafood.  Now as I near my 30’s, winter is the season I love The hotter days of summer are spent enduring; climbing and running up rocky peaks until the first frost. I’ve had fleeting moments when I thought of turning in my snowboard for a surfboard, leaving friends laughing with confusion, but I haven’t been able to give up winter yet!   

There’s something about the mountains that consumes me.  All thoughts of being warm and cozy, next to a roaring fire with my slippers, flies out the door!  Desire to experience and having the experience to reach a summit overcomes all comfort.  It’s a quiet, surreal beauty that is simultaneously chaotic.  I found what I was looking for deep in the mountains in the Wild West.  Far away from civilization, safety and a steady paycheck, I have become a stronger human being. I’ve boycotted chairlift access and entered a happy state of solitary.  The deeper I explore the mountains, the more I evolve as an individual.  I've also realized that part of my “fix” has become the search for EUPHORIA.  Scorning moments of post-holing or slipping a steep skin track, I still feel satisfied at the summit even before strapping on my board.  

This past winter marks one of the most pivotal summits of my snowboarding “career”,. when I became the first female to summit and snowboard the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

My ski partner, Max, and I had been watching the weather for days waiting for the right weather and no new storm cycles coming our way. Our first attempt was on the Tuesday. Monday night Max and I saw a window of opportunity in the forecast and decided to make it happen. Rather than go in to work, I called my boss and said, "Look, there's something I need to do..."! He said don't worry about work...and get 'er done! Tuesday morning we woke up at 2am and starting skinning up Garnet Canyon just after 3am. The sun started to rise while we were still in the meadow and we knew we were way behind schedule. With all the gear on our backs we headed up the Teepe Couloir and stopped for a rest. We were concerned that the haze turning to cloud cover or the heat of the day would create dangerous snow conditions. This was a pivotal moment. Once beyond the Teepe, there was no turning back. We chose to bail after seven hours in, and about four hours from the summit. To make our lives easier on the next attempt, we left our ropes and gear under rocks at the top of the Teepe. Once the decision was made to abort, the day became leisure. We skied the Teepe and stopped before the Meadows to take a nap on the Jackson Hole Climbers Guide summer station ou a tarped platform. When we awoke and the snow was softer, we rode down back to the car in disappointment over what we had not been able to accomplish.

After religiously watching web cams and weather stations online, we chose Thursday for the next attempt. Wednesday became a day of rest while  we tried to sleep and eat as much as we could. This time we would give ourselves a head start by getting up even earlier.  We awoke at one am and were skinning by 1:50 am. I was prepared for the cold skin up to the Meadows and made it there as efficiently as possible, there was no wasting of time or energy today. We got to the Meadows while it was still dark. We dropped our skins off, laced up our crampons and started booting. We hit sunrise at the top of the Teepe Couloir and felt good except for our newest addition to the crew, Nick. At the top of the Teepe Glacier where turning back would be the easiest point, Nick became nauseous and decided to bail and let Max and I go ahead.   At least at that point, Nick along with Max and I had experienced the most epic sunrise.  If we had to abort as well, the trip still would have been worth it.

Max and I left as much unnecessary gear as possible and started the ascent. Roping up with ice axes in hand, Max led the way to the Stettner Couloir. As we rounded the corner there, I knew this was going to be the day I "send" the Grand. I had prepared myself well in the past months, my determination washed away all fear and it was now merely an execution of moves. Once in the Stettner, I experienced my first ice climbing where I tested my ability to trust an ice axe as I moved over the ice bulge. Cleaning the gear and simultaneously climbing, we reached the Chevy Couloir. It got a bit cruxy so I belayed Max as he headed up. While waiting in the coolness of the shade, along with my sweat drying, I became borderline hypothermic while watching Max move over the biggest crux of ice. Once he anchored and it was time for me to climb, I moved as fast as I could, not knowing if we were running out of time and trying to just keep warm. Quickly we moved from one anchor to the next until we reached the last set where we would be rappelling for the descent. We left one rope and some gear there, ate and drank as much as we could and then began the final approach to the summit in the Ford Couloir. This was just a symo climb on rope through knee-deep, crusty sugar snow; safe for the most part but as always, high exposure with serious possible consequence. I became so exhausted that I found myself grunting through every throw of my axe into the snow and every step with my crampons. Finally we reached the summit and it seemed as if we could see the whole world. I was the first to drop in, marking history as the first female to snowboard the Grand. At no point was I scared through all the climbs, but at that moment, when all I had to do was what I do best – snowboard - I was terrified. At that moment I knew that I would either become a statistic or mark history! I dropped in, gripping my axe in my right hand. Each turn was scarier than the last but I made it to the first rappel station and clipped in waiting for Max. So far, so good. I successfully snowboarded, now for the exit. Five rappels later and with some down climbing, we reached the top of the Teepe Couloir. SAFE! At that moment I knew it was done. We weren't out yet, but I knew I was capable of getting back to my car alive!

Retrieving all our gear along the way, we finally made it back to the car just before sunset - tired, hungry, cranky and all my toes and fingertips frostbit...but I was alive and I had just SNOWBOARDED THE GRAND TETON!

This has been a crazy “powder line” called life.  Quietly searching for my next fresh couloir I’m at liberty to seek a more profound worth to be doing what I do. 

But,with a handful of rewarding years under my belt, I feel I can slow down and look around; adapt, but not stop. I still have the desire to explore, and realize that I may never see all of its beauty.  That leaves me in admiration and determination to experience as much as I can here.

I’m thankful to still be here, and as I drive home from a late night waitressing at Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club, I am lured in by the twinkling lights of town glowing against Snow King.  I sigh, and think…”that’s Home”.

Danielle deRuyter, born on Cape Cod, MA, moved to NYC for her freshman year of college and realized why she wanted to live in the woods - to become a ski bum!  She moved to Seattle and then to Big Sky, MT before moving to Jackson, WY.  She has been traveling during off-seasons  and hopes to someday move either to Europe or  Nicaragua to surf her days away

Confused by snowboard and ski terms? Here are a few, courtesy of Danielle deRuyter and

ABS Sidewall: Industry term for a type of edge construction on skis and snowboards using high quality ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic.

All-Mountain Ski: A large percentage of Alpine skis fall into this category. All-Mountain skis are designed to perform in all types of snow conditions and at most speeds. Other names for this style of ski include Mid-Fat skis, All-Purpose skis, and the One-ski Quiver.

Alpine Skiing: Downhill skiing, as opposed to
Nordic Skiing.

Après-Ski: The day’s over – time for drinks and swapping war stories from the slopes.

Audio Helmet: A helmet wired with speakers that allows you to listen to music while skiing.

Avalanche Beacon: A safety device worn by skiers, snowboarders, and others in case an avalanche traps them. The beacon transmits a signal (typically at the international standard frequency of 457khz) that rescuers can use to locate a buried person. An essential item for anyone venturing into the

Avalanche Control: The triggering of avalanches through artificial means, including controlled explosions, to make slopes safe for skiers. The most dangerous task faced by
Ski Patrol.

Backcountry: Any area outside of resort boundaries or elsewhere that is not patrolled or cleared of avalanche dangers. This is skiing and snowboarding at your own risk, thus the backcountry is a place for knowledgeable experts only.

Balaclava: A facemask worn to cover exposed skin. A key extra whenever you are caught riding a lift in fierce, driving wind or snow.

Base: Definition of this term is dependent on the context it is being used for. Base may be used to describe the under side of a ski or snowboard, the main area at the bottom of a ski resort, or the overall depth of snow.

Baseplate: The bottom portion of a ski or snowboard binding. Of vital importance as this is the portion of binding in direct contact with ski/snowboard and therefore transfers all movement. Typically made with high-end plastics for both flexibility and strength.

Basket: Typically round or star-shaped plastic piece located at the bottom end of a ski pole. Their primary purpose is to keep your poles from pushing too deep into the snow.

Berm: A term for a snowbank, often used to provide stability on the outside of a turn.

Binding Plate: See

Binding: What connects a ski/snowboard boot to the actual ski/snowboard itself. Ski bindings are designed to release from the ski during a fall, while snowboard bindings do not.

Black Diamond: Expert trail denoted on trail maps and signs by a black diamond. The trail may or may not be groomed, and can vary from the merely tricky to insanely difficult. A double black diamond indicates the steepest, most difficult runs at a resort.

Blue Square: Intermediate trail denoted on trail maps and signs by a blue square. Usually groomed and often the most popular runs. Note: At European resorts, a blue run is actually a beginner trail and that red is used to indicate an intermediate skill level.

Bomber: Slang term for a skier or snowboarder flying down a slope in an out of control fashion.

Bootboard: The platform inside a boot shell that the liner sits atop.

Bowl: A large mountain basin, characteristically free of trees and tailor-made for great swooping turns or steep, speedy dives.

Brain Bucket: Slang term for a helmet.

Bumps: See

Bunny Slope: An easy and flat area for beginner’s. This area is almost always found near the base area as this is the first lesson stop for a

Cable Car: See

Camber: The upward curvature in the base of a ski or snowboard. Used to distribute weight of a rider across skis or a snowboard, as well as to provide proper tension for improved response. Determined by the amount of space beneath the center of a ski when it lays on a flat surface with its weight resting on the tip and tail.

Cant: The lateral angle of the boot in relation to the ski or snowboard. Starting from a vertical axis, your feet can be canted inwards or outwards to improve edge control.

Cap Construction: A manufacturing technique where the top sheet comes all the way down to the metal edges on the sides of a ski or snowboard; making it part of the overall structure.

Carving: A series of clean turns using the edges of skis or a snowboard. Carving turns can vary from tight turns to giant “S” shaped swoops.

Carving Ski: Narrower skis designed for tight, clean turns.

Cat Skiing: Using a
Snowcat to reach and then ski areas that are not accessible by chairlifts. This is similar to Heliskiing, but less expensive.

Cat Tracks: Relatively flat paths used by
Snowcats to move around a mountain. These are often used by skiers and snowboarders as well to reach different areas within a resort.

Chatter: The vibration of skis or snowboards caused by traveling at high speeds. Excessive chatter reduces contact between the ski and the snow and the ability to stay in total control.

Chute: A steep and narrow gully, surrounded by rocks most often. Almost certainly an expert-only run, whether it’s marked or not.

Cirque: A deep, steep-walled mountain basin or amphitheater carved out of the mountain by an alpine glacier. Similar to a
bowl but generally steeper.

Corduroy: A common slang term for the grooves found on a recently groomed trail created by a
Snowcat or grooming machine. Called as such for the obvious resemblance to the fabric.

Corn Snow: Springtime snow; the repeated melting and refreezing of the snow results in corn-sized icy snow crumbs.

Cornice: An overhang of snow caused by constant wind; fun to launch from, but also dangerous as they can snap off at any time.

Couloirs: French for “corridor,” a couloir is similar to a
chute, but typically steeper and more narrow; suitable for experts only. An open face of snow that is surrounded by either cliffs or trees to left and right.

Crevasse: A deep and often times hidden crack in a glacier or permafrost.

Cross-country Skiing: A superb workout and part of the
Nordic Skiing family, cross-country-skiing uses narrow skis and bindings where the heel releases. Typically cross-country skiing is done on flat ground as opposed to riding a lift to access downhill skiing.

Crust: Refers to a frozen layer either covering softer snow or buried under a fresh dusting of snow.

Daisy chain:  a piece of nylon webbing that has loops to make any length by hooking a carabiner to one loop attaching it to the anchor system.

Dampening: Term used to describe a tool or technique that reduces the vibrations, also known as
chatter, of skis or snowboard that occur at at high speeds.

Death Cookies: Slang term for the cookie-sized chunks of ice formed by
grooming and snowmaking; a plague at resorts in New England and the Midwest and not often seen in big-mountain Western resorts.

Delamination: The separation of a laminate along the plane of its layers. An typical case of delamination occurs with the molded layers on a ski and snowboard separating. This can ruin equipment if not attended to quickly.

DIN Settings: The tension release setting that determines the amount of pressure required for a ski binding to release during a crash; stands for the German “Deutsche Industrie Normen.”

Dump: Slang term for an epic snowfall of
fresh powder; A t-shirt with the staple slogan, “I love big dumps” can be found in many ski tourist towns.

Durometer: The measurement used to determine the hardness of a plastic ski boot shell; the lower the durometer, the softer the shell.

Edge: The sharpened metal strip on the sides of skis and snowboards, used for gaining control by biting into the snow for smoother carving and cutting. Holding an edge is a key to a good turn.

Effective Edge: The length of metal edges on the ski that is in actual contact with the snow. Today’s shaped skis have a longer effective edge, resulting in a more stable, easier turning ski.

Fall Line: The most direct line down a trail or slope; known as such as if you fall, that’s the direction you’ll slide.

First Tracks: Cutting through fresh snow before anyone else does, leaving behind your trail for all else to see.

FIS: French acronym (Fédération Internationale de Ski) for the International Ski Federation, the main international organization of ski sports.

Flea Market: See
Yard Sale.

Flex: Term used for ski boots to describe stiffness of the outer
shell. This term can also used describe how much a ski or snowboard bends when pressure is applied; typically, the more expert a skier, the stiffer the ski.

Footbed: The removable sole inside a ski boot’s
liner. Factory footbeds are typically designed to be replaced, as no two feet are alike. Custom footbeds can (and should) be made to fit the sole of the foot as closely as possible.

Free heel skiing: See
Telemark Skiing.

Freestyle: A style of skiing or snowboarding primarily focused on tricks.

French Fries: Slang term for skiing with skis parallel to one another; the opposite of pizza.

Frozen Granular: Older snow that has frozen together, typically a result of being
groomed repeatedly.

Fun Box: A box found in
Terrain Parks built to slide (see Jib) across on skis or snowboard.

Giant Slalom: Similar to
Slalom racing, but with the racing gates placed further apart to allow for faster speeds and wider turns. This discipline uses two pole gates rather than single pole gates.

Glade: A stand of trees.

Goggles: Protective eyewear used not only to shade the sun and glare, but also to protect from wind, snow, and other potentially blinding objects.

Gondola: An enclosed lift that fits, on average, between four to eight passengers; like a mini-cabin, and generally faster than an open chairlift.

Grab: Holding onto any part of your skis or snowboard while in the air; used to add both style to a trick and to maintain balance. See
Indy or Mute for grab examples.

Granular Surface: A term for snow that has been packed down and possibly
groomed; definitely not fresh powder, but instead countless tiny pellets of ice and worn out snow.

Green Circle: The easiest trails on a mountain, denoted on trail maps and signs by a green circle. Usually
groomed, wide and flat, and not a place for experienced skiers as traffic must remain slow. Note: European resorts will use blue as the color to indicate an easy trail.

Grooming: The most common form of trail maintenance, done to spread new snow and to smooth over bumps, icy patches and other obstacles. To groom, tractors known as
Snowcats drag giant rakes over the snow; on steeper slopes, winches are used to drag rakes up the incline.

Halfpipe: A U-shaped channel with smooth walls used by freestyle skiers and snowboarders for aerial tricks. Typically a halfpipe is created by carving a channel out of massive piles of snow, but they can also be dug out of the ground in areas with minimal snowfall.

Hardgoods: A catch-all term used to classify ski and snowboard equipment, including the skis, snowboards, boots and bindings.

Hardpack: A term for snow that has been densely packed due to repeated
grooming or skiing and the lack of fresh snowfall.

Headwall: A steep to vertical cliff found at the end of a valley; often the uppermost part of a

Heliskiing: The holy grail for experienced, expert skiers. Skiers are transferred by helicopter into the backcountry to ski off-trail through fresh tracks on virgin
powder. While it is expensive and potentially dangerous, it is also exhilarating and not something everyone can say they have done.

Herringbone: To climb uphill on skis, spreading them apart to keep from sliding backwards; called as such due to the geometric pattern left behind in the snow.

Huck: Slang term for launching off a jump.

In-bounds: Term used to describe ski terrain inside the boundaries of a ski resort; the opposite of

Indy Grab: Grabbing the toe
edge of your snowboard between the bindings with your rear hand; the most basic grab. Similarly executed on skis by grabbing a ski’s outside edge.

Integrated Binding: A
binding system provided with skis that are designed to work specifically with that ski. Quickly becoming the industry standard as they provide better flex by bending with the ski to increase control and the transfer of power.

Jib: Riding a snowboard or skis across on a non-snow surface, be it a
rail, fun box, or even fallen log.

Kicker: A cheese-wedge shaped jump, often built in the
backcountry for trick sessions.

Last: A boot maker’s term for the interior shape of a ski boot.

Lasted Liner: A ski boot term used to describe the best type of
liner constructed around a mold of the actual foot size for an improved fit.

Lateral Upper-cuff Adjustment: An adjustment on some ski boots that allows the user to shift the upper boot. Useful for bowlegged or knock-kneed people who need to adjust their upper boot to the angle of their lower legs.

Liftie: A slang term for a ski lift operator.

Liner: The removable, soft inner boot designed to provide both support and padding against the hard outer
shell of a ski boot.

Magic Carpet: A conveyor-belt like surface lift. Typically found only on smaller,
bunny slopes where younger kids learn to ski and snowboard.

Mashed Potatoes: A slang term for wet and heavy snow.

Memory Foam: A layer of foam within a ski boot designed to mold to a skier’s foot over time.

Micro-fleece: An improved form of fleece, with a tighter, less dense knit that cuts down on size. A great material to use for a middle layer.

Mid-fat Ski: Another term for an
All-Mountain Ski.

Milk Run: The first run early in the day.

Moguls: Bumps carved into the snow; typically they are created by the turns of skiers, but they can also be carved out for perfectly shaped mogul field.

Mondopoint: The standard European measurement for shoe sizes, commonly used for ski boots. It’s based on the mean foot length for which the shoe is suitable, measured in centimeters. To determine U.S. sizing from Mondopoint, simply add the first and second digits together, and then add the decimal point (you will need add 1 to you calculated result to convert a U.S. men’s size to a women’s). For Mondopoint sizes greater than 30.0, add 9.0 to get the correct conversion (e.g., Mondo 30.0: 3 + 0 + .0 + 9 = 12.0).

Monoski: A type of ski with both boots attached to a single board. Monoskis became relatively popular in Europe, but never quite caught on in the United States. This term is also used to refer to the “sit-ski” used by handicapped skiers.

Mute Grab: Grabbing the toe
edge of your snowboard between the bindings with your front hand. Similarly executed on skis by grabbing a ski’s outside edge.

NASTAR: A worldwide program that allows ski or snowboard racers of all ages and abilities to compare themselves with one another through an intricate handicapping system. NASTAR is an acronym for NAtional STAndard Race.

Never-ever: A first time skier or snowboarder.

No-fall Zone: An area where falling will likely lead to serious injury; the initial entry into a steep
chute is often described as a no-fall zone.

Nordic Skiing: Most commonly used to refer to cross-country skiing, but in fact can be any form of skiing where the heel of the boot releases from the binding. Along with cross-country, common forms of Nordic skiing include
Telemark Skiing and ski jumping.

Off-piste: Out-of-bounds. Off a trail and other areas not marked on trail map; sometimes used in place of

Out-of-bounds: Off-piste. Ski terrain located outside the boundaries of a ski resort. See

Packed Powder: Term used to describe relatively new snow that has been
groomed or ridden over repeatedly and thus is harder than powder. Less scrupulous resorts will define virtually all snow, regardless of actual conditions, as packed powder.

Parabolic Skis: See
Shaped Skis.

Park: See
Terrain Park.

Pipe: See

Piste: The French word for “trail.”

Pit Zips: Jacket zippers located under the armpits allowing the user to circulate air through jacket on warmer days.

Pizza: Slang term for a elementary skiing technique where skis are tilted together like a slice of pizza to
snowplow down a slope.

Pole Grip: The handle on a ski pole.

Post-holing: Boot packing in variable snow, where one might make a step and fall through the crust to the soft layer underneath.

Powder: Fresh, dry and lightweight snow that for many is the Holy Grail of skiing and snowboarding. Large amounts of fresh powder make for epic skiing conditions.

Powder line: Open face of snow-no trees or cliffs-line that takes you along the "fall line"-gravity line.

Powder Skis: Designed to float atop
powder, these skis are particularly popular in areas that receive frequent major storms. The mega-wide waist widths – ranging from 105mm to 130mm – keep the skis from sinking deep into fresh snow, but they can be challenging and sluggish to control on groomed runs.

Power Strap: The Velcro strap at the top end of a ski boot used to make sure that the top of the boot gives a snug fit connecting to the calf and shin.

Quad: Slang term for a chair lift carrying four people.

Quarterpipe: A
halfpipe divided in half lengthways and used for a single, often massive, aerial trick.

Racing Ski: Typically stiffer, longer, and narrower than the average ski.Sometimes known as
Slalom or Giant Slalom skis.

Racing Boot: Designed for racing, these boots are stiffer and often more narrow than the average boot.

Rail: A bar, typically metal, built to be slid up by skiers and snowboarders. Almost exclusively found in a
Terrain Park.

Reverse Camber: The downward arc formed in a ski or snowboard by applying pressure from above. The more pressure applied, the greater amount of reverse camber created, thus loading the skis or snowboard with more energy for turning. Some skis are designed with reverse camber, which is built-in to keep the tips floating above the snow.

Rope Tow: A common surface lift, typically found running up beginner
bunny slopes; a constantly moving rope that yanks skiers up the slope as they stand on their skis or snowboard.

Runout: A flat expansive area at the end of run that allows racers to slow down, as well as a fairly flat run used to link tougher trails back to a ski lift.

Schussing: Skiing straight downhill without turning.

Shaped Skis: Term used to describe the hourglass shape utilized by the majority of skis today. Wider in the tips and tails and narrower at the
waist, shaped skis require less effort to turn as the shape itself initiates a curve. The degree of actual shape depends on how much sidecut has been built in. Also know as parabolic skis.

Shell: The hard plastic outer portion of a ski boot.

Shovel (ski): The front end of a ski, which often bows out to a larger shovel shape to avoid sinking into snow.

Sidecut: The inner curvature of a ski or snowboard, measured by the difference between the narrowest point in
waist of a ski or snowboard to the widest points at the tip and tail. The curvature of a sidecut is the key component in creating a turning radius; the more drastic the sidecut, the sharper the turn.

Six-pack: Slang term for a chair lift carrying six people.

Ski Boards. Extremely short skis that are like a cross between skiing and inline skating. Also known as snowblades.

Ski Brake: A required attachment for ski bindings designed to stop a ski from shooting downhill after being detached.

Ski Patrol: Trained skiers and snowboarders responsible for slope safety, including clearing areas of possible avalanche danger after a storm, marking dangerous obstacles on/near a trail, and assisting or even carting injured riders down a mountain.

Skier’s Left: Used to describe the area to the left of someone heading downhill.

Skier’s Right: Used to describe the area to the right of someone heading downhill.

Ski-in: Accommodation that can be reached from the ski area via skis or snowboard.

Skijoring: A version of skiing in which the skier is attached to a set of dogs or a horse by a waistband and then pulled across flat ground.

Skins: Synthetic or mohair strips of material that can be temporarily affixed to the bottom of skis for climbing up hills. Used to access higher elevations in the
backcountry without constantly slipping backwards.

Ski-out: Accommodation from which it’s possible to ride from the door to the lifts.

Ski-walk Adjustment: An adjustment on some ski boots that allows the upper cuff to hinge backward, giving room for a more natural walking motion when skis are off.

Slalom: A form of downhill skiing where racers head downhill on a course line with tightly spaced gates that must be passed between with short, quick turns; see also
Giant Slalom.

Snowcat: A tracked vehicle used for moving around snowy, mountainous areas; often seen dragging giant rakes as they
groom runs, but also used to transport riders into the backcountry for cat skiing.

Snowplow: A beginner’s technique for slowing down on skis. Done by bringing the front tips of a pair of skis together, pushing the tails apart, and applying pressure on the skis’ inside edges. Also called

Snowskate: Similar to a skateboard deck without wheels, designed to be ridden on snow for freestyle tricks.

Softgoods: Catch-all term used to classify ski and snowboard clothing, including jackets, gloves, long underwear, and hats.

Straight-lining: See

Super G: The fastest discipline in Alpine racing. Similar to
Giant Slalom but with even fewer turns to negotiate allowing higher speeds.

Superpipe: A larger version of a regular
halfpipe; walls in a superpipe can measure up to 20ft.

Surface Lifts: Lifts that drag, yank, or pull skiers up a slope along the ground as opposed to in the air; see
Rope Tow, T-bar, and Magic Carpet.

Tail: The back end of a ski.

T-bar: A
surface lift that pulls you up hill by grabbing onto and then sitting on a plastic T-shaped arm suspended from a moving line. Often found on small and flat beginner slopes, but they can also be found high up a mountain in steep areas where a chairlift can’t or hasn’t yet been built.

Telemark Skiing: Part of the
Nordic Skiing family and a hybrid of downhill and cross-country skiing. Skiing with detached heels allows for traversing across flat ground but telemark skis are also wide enough to handle high speeds and sharp turns. Known for its distinctive forward bent knee “telemark” turn. Sometimes called “free heel skiing.”

Terrain Park: A freestyle zone roped off from other downhill runs and filled with jumps,
rails, fun boxes, and other assorted obstacles. Parks can also include a halfpipe and boardercross run.

Tracked Out: Slang term for a slope of once fresh snow that has been ridden over repeatedly.

Tram: The largest aerial lift; the bus-size cabins can hold upwards of 100 passengers, and are most often used to cover long vertical distances.

Transition: The section of a
halfpipe linking the vertical walls to the flat floor; also know as trannies.

Traverse: Skiing across a slope, often in a zigzag pattern, as opposed to straight down; typically done to keep speeds down on steep surface or to cut across a mountain.

Tree Line: The altitude at which trees stop growing on a mountain. In the U.S., the tree line floats between 8,000 and 10,000 ft, while in Europe it tends to be lower; closer to 7,000 ft.

Tree Well: A dangerous hollow space formed around the base of trees after heavy snowfalls; fatal accidents can occur by falling into one.

Turning Radius: A function of
sidecut, the turning radius equals the natural circle that a pair of skis or a snowboard can make on edge. The more dramatic the sidecut, the tighter the turning radius.

Twin Tip: Skis where both the tail and tip are turned up at the end, enabling a skier to ski backwards with ease. Originally popular only with freestyle skiers, as the twin tip shape allows for reverse (known as fakie or switch) take-offs and landings off jumps. Modern advancements, however, have seen twin tip shapes appear more often in big mountain skis, as they shape handles smoothly in
powder conditions.

Vertical Drop: The distance between the
base of a mountain and its tallest point.

Yard Sale: A crash in which a skier’s or snowboarder’s gear – skis, poles, hats, gloves, etc – end up scattered around the slope.