Old Gold: How to Speak Marketing

Original Publication Date: January 6, 1999


So you’re stoked to go riding because you called the ski report and they’re reporting great skiing and riding on an unbelievable amount of trails, and best of all, new snow! You drive all the way there, buy your ticket, only to find no new snow, long lift lines, and only a few trails that offer anything you’re interested in riding. Sound familiar?

I recently started a marketing related job for a ski industry giant who shall remain nameless, and I have quickly learned that it requires a completely separate vocabulary. I’ve come up with new, positive expressions for terms such as slush, crowds, rain, ice and all the other unpleasantries that come along with a typical ski season. To save you the hassle and money of a wasted trip, I have deciphered some of the more commonly used marketing terminology.

Packed Powder- Ice. If a report claims powder and pack powder conditions, it means that between the patches of loose snow is ice.

Spring Like Conditions- Mush w/Dirt patches. When it’s January and it gets disgustingly warm, melting all the snow, “Spring like conditions” is the nice way of saying you’ll feel like your riding in June (mushy, dirty corn snow).

Partly Sunny- Cloudy. The sun might have peaked through once.

Not a cloud in the sky-
A few clouds in the sky.

Breezy- Gusting winds, the kind of wind that closes lifts and makes you fear getting in the air.

Corduroy- Completely groomed. This means not a mogul of roller in sight. Corduroy is the east coasts solution to not getting new snow in weeks.

New Snow- Don’t be fooled, man made snow counts as new snow too.

3″-3′ base-
All the of the mountain has a 3″ covering, except one spot where they piled up 3′. What also can happen is they will blow a ton of snow on one trail, and then use that measurement for the high end of the scale, meanwhile, you’re hitting dirt on every other trail.

Holiday Weekend- Crowded. When ever the words holiday weekend are used stay far, far away.

Great for Learning- Flat. All the trails open are for beginners. In describing jumps: Small.

Well Maintained-
Describing halfpipe: the mountain owns a dragon. Describing trails: work in progress (usually snow making).

Round the Clock Snowmaking- This doesn’t mean there will be a ton of snow, it means there are snow guns on every open trail.

40 Trails- 10 trails, once you take out all the cross overs, beginner trails and other stuff you wouldn’t care to ride.

Mixed Precipitation- Rain, mixed with ice.

Blue Bird- If you squint long enough, the gray looks blue.

Low Visibility- Good luck finding the lodge. It is so foggy, rainy, and nasty that you wont be able to see your feet when you’re riding down the trail.

Powder- (east coast only)If you get there before 8:30 am, you might see an inch of snow, in the trees.

Warm- The snow is melting so fast that you better get up there right away if you want to see any of it.

Chilly- You’ll spend your day in the lodge drinking hot chocolate.

Advanced Terrain Only-
There will be beginners who can’t turn all over the trail, and you’ll have to be an expert just to avoid them.

7 replies
  1. Zimmerman
    Zimmerman says:

    I remember calling the Killington snow phone and hearing them call rain “alternative precipitation.”

    At least that was honest in a way.

  2. hoon
    hoon says:

    i thought this was going to be about hardgoods and softgoods. like claiming old technology is new innovations. that’s my favorite marketing speak.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] more useful words and phrases, check out our list of 39 words for snow and a quick guide to ski area marketing speak. […]

  2. […] you went snowboarding was sunny, bluebird and knee deep. Ski resorts would never have to resort to tricky language, and you’d never have to think about if it’s going to be worth the drive. […]

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