/Mitch Tobin

About Mitch Tobin

Mitch Tobin, the editor of SnowSlang.com, is a communications consultant, multimedia storyteller, and avid skier/snowboarder. After working as a reporter at the Napa Valley Register, Tucson Citizen, and Arizona Daily Star, Mitch was communications director at California Environmental Associates and then started Sea to Snow LLC to provide consulting services to a variety of clients. He graduated from Yale with a bachelor’s in Ethics, Politics and Economics and earned a master’s in political science from U.C. Berkeley. Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchtobin

Alpenglow: fire on the mountain

Alpenglow: fire on the mountain Around sunrise and sunset, mountain peaks will sometimes glow red, orange, even purple, in a gorgeous display of alpine atmospherics. It's called alpenglow and it's one of my favorite parts of being in the high country, no matter the season. Alpenglow, from the word German alpenglühen for "Alp glow", refers specifically [...]

By | 2017-11-10T17:02:03+00:00 November 9th, 2017|Weather|0 Comments

Shred the gnar: meaning and origin of the saying

What does shred the gnar mean? You won't spend much time on the slopes without hearing the quintessential slang phrase: shred the gnar, meaning to ride with exceptional speed, ability, or enthusiasm, especially in difficult terrain and conditions. The term has become common in a variety of sports, including skating, surfing, snowboarding, and skiing. Regardless of the discipline, [...]

By | 2017-11-03T20:31:13+00:00 November 4th, 2016|Culture, Saying|2 Comments

Graupel, a “supercooled” type of precipitation

What is graupel? Look! Up in the sky! Is it snow? Hail? Sleet? No, you meteorological ignoramus, it's graupel! Of all the types of frozen precipitation that fall from the heavens, graupel is probably the most obscure. The Washington Post calls it "the wintry precipitation you've never heard of." Graupel from a 2013 storm in [...]

By | 2016-11-19T15:13:01+00:00 November 3rd, 2016|Snow, Weather|0 Comments

Wolfpack: your posse on a powder day

What's a wolfpack? A wolfpack is a group of friends, usually guys, who run together. In the context of skiing or snowboarding, these are buddies who roam the mountain with you and hunt cooperatively for fresh powder. With my wolf pack in Alta, Utah.   Wolfpack origin Sometimes spelled wolf pack, this term originates in [...]

By | 2016-11-19T15:11:09+00:00 October 1st, 2016|Culture, Saying|0 Comments

Face shot: powder nirvana and a staple of ski porn

What is a face shot? A face shot occurs when snow sprays a skier or snowboarder's face on a powder day. The snow must be deep and light enough (e.g., blower, Champagne Powder®) and the rider must have sufficient speed to elevate the snow to face level. SnowSlang's staff hard at work at Copper Mountain. Photo by/of [...]

By | 2016-12-27T20:10:25+00:00 September 15th, 2016|Saying, Skiing, Snow, Snowboarding|0 Comments

Powder fever meets poo-phoria: “I love big dumps”

"I love big dumps": powder fever meets poo-phoria "I love big dumps" is a saying among skiers and snowboarders who equate their fondness for major snow storms with their satisfaction upon taking a huge crap. You'll see the phrase on bumper stickers, such as the one below for Silverton Mountain in Colorado. "I love big dumps" bumper sticker. Photo [...]

By | 2016-11-15T18:42:16+00:00 September 9th, 2016|Saying|0 Comments

The 8 best ski apps for iPhone and Android

8 ski apps to track your alpine exploits With a few taps on your iPhone or Android device, ski apps allow you to track a wealth of data on your alpine adventures. I've become fond of using Trace Snow and Ski Tracks to record virtually every run. Another popular option for tracking skiing and snowboarding [...]

By | 2017-03-11T15:19:21+00:00 September 8th, 2016|Skiing, Snowboarding, Technology|2 Comments

How an avalanche beacon works and saves lives

What is an avalanche beacon? An avalanche beacon is the informal name for an avalanche transceiver, a safety device that transmits a signal that rescuers use to home in on someone buried by an avalanche. Along with an avalanche shovel and avalanche probe, the avalanche beacon is one of the essential pieces of safety gear for [...]

By | 2016-11-09T19:24:46+00:00 August 21st, 2016|Avalanche, Backcountry, Gear|0 Comments

Ski trail ratings: green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds

Ski trail ratings: history and overview Signs and maps bearing green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds are the main way that U.S. resorts communicate their ski trail ratings. In an ideal, harmonious world, all ski resorts would use the same classification scheme and trail difficulties would be comparable. In reality, other countries use their own systems [...]

By | 2016-07-26T19:58:32+00:00 July 26th, 2016|Skiing, Snow, Terrain|0 Comments

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)?

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)? It's not easy to ski or snowboard, but sastrugi is a beautiful feature of the winter landscape. Also spelled zastrugi, this type of wind-blasted snow resembles frozen waves. It's often found on ridges and mountaintops. As the wind erodes snow from the windward side of a ridge or other obstacle, [...]

By | 2016-12-06T20:16:22+00:00 July 14th, 2016|Avalanche, Snow, Terrain|0 Comments