There’s a whole book of vocabulary in the world of downhill skiing.
There are hundreds of ways to describe snow, while I usually just refer to it as “pretty” or “not pretty.”
It turns out that skis can be called planks, snowboards a plank and trips down the mountains are laps or runs, depending on which friends are recapping their days.
Actually, while writing this I’m finding some insecurity lifting inside of me — am I using that right, planks? Fresh powder? Is it OK if I just call it snow? The vocabulary book is a metaphor, although I’m sure there’s a website or two that would help jump over the language barrier.
Oh! There is some French involved too, but outside the realm of my college courses. Turns out I never really flexed my ability to read Albert Camus in his original language. I should’ve been studying skiing terms instead, like “piste.”
I was familiar with the term “apres-ski” though, because it has been, and even as I delve deeper into the world of skiing will be, my favorite part.
Then there is the catalog of gear and maps full of routes and places to ski that I can’t even begin to dig into here. After three days of skiing at Alyeska, the only thing I remember is Blueberry Hill because it brought me back to the hotel via a long, rolling hill. Anything else was strictly referred to as “the top,” “the bottom” or “no way can I ski down that.”
I saw skis of all shapes and sizes, some plankier than others, but their specifications and names went in one ear and out the other, replaced with, “Oh wow, look! This lift just keeps going up and up. How old is that kid? She’s barely a toddler and up this high? And she’s going down that? WHAT!”
Oh! And did I mention that if I want to get off Alyeska and away from lift tickets, I have to start worrying about avalanches? (They are known colloquially, like most things in skiing are, as an avy.)
There’s one term that I really latched onto as a beginner downhill skier, though. In the face of a lift that really triggered my fear of heights or a route that triggered my fear of bruises all over my body, I found myself saying, “I’m just gonna send it.”
I stumbled onto the term when I friend said it offhandedly, and it just stuck.
The term was popularized by a viral YouTube snowmachiner who asks, “Are you silly? I’m still going to send it.”
And that’s what I sarcastically said repeatedly as I found myself right in the middle of trying to get better at skiing and being ridiculously afraid of whatever it is I was about to do.
Urban Dictionary says “sending it” means saying yes to something, having confidence in what you’re about to do and “just send it.”
I think in a more spiritual environment, some would say that “send it” is my skiing mantra. I’m going to say it here, because I think that’s hilarious.
I’m still learning a lot of things about downhill skiing, but I’ve stomped down some of those initial insecurities and fears. Instead of being intimidated by a 4-year-old speeding past me down a slope, I’ve continued to learn something new and exciting because it’d be silly not to.
We’re all just trying to send it, anyway.
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org