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About Mitch Tobin

Mitch Tobin, the shreditor in chief of SnowSlang.com, is a journalist, multimedia storyteller, and avid skier/snowboarder. Follow Mitch on Twitter @mitchtobin

Ski goggles technology and terminology

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By |2021-03-14T14:07:44-06:00March 14th, 2021|Gear, Technology|Comments Off on Ski goggles technology and terminology

Sick day, as in ski sickness (aka Häusler’s disease)

Sick day, as in ski sickness (aka Häusler's disease) Ski sickness is a form of motion sickness that can strike skiers, especially when visibility is poor in fog, blizzards, whiteout, and flat light conditions. The disorienting, dizzying, and nauseating feeling, which is similar to sea sickness or car sickness, is due to the body's inability to [...]

By |2018-07-26T14:16:10-06:00May 3rd, 2018|Body, Weather|39 Comments

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 German word alpenglühen for "Alp glow", refers specifically [...]

By |2018-07-26T14:16:15-06:00November 9th, 2017|Weather|3 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 [...]

By |2018-07-17T12:20:21-06:00November 4th, 2016|Culture, Saying|Comments Off on Shred the gnar: meaning and origin of the saying

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 |2016-11-19T15:13:01-07:00November 3rd, 2016|Snow, Weather|1 Comment

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 |2016-11-19T15:11:09-07:00October 1st, 2016|Culture, Saying|Comments Off on Wolfpack: your posse on a powder day

The 9 best ski apps for iPhone and Android

9 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 |2018-01-22T18:02:40-07:00September 8th, 2016|Skiing, Snowboarding, Technology|Comments Off on The 9 best ski apps for iPhone and Android

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 |2018-07-17T12:16:57-06:00August 21st, 2016|Avalanche, Backcountry, Gear|Comments Off on How an avalanche beacon works and saves lives

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 |2016-07-26T19:58:32-06:00July 26th, 2016|Skiing, Snow, Terrain|Comments Off on Ski trail ratings: green circles, blue squares, and black diamonds

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 |2016-12-06T20:16:22-07:00July 14th, 2016|Avalanche, Snow, Terrain|Comments Off on What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)?