Are you having trouble deciphering those ski industry buzzwords you see everywhere? I'll try to help.  

Buddy Pass. What ski resorts sell when they finally realize that they can't charge whatever the traffic will bear when they realized there was no more traffic.

Down Valley. This is where ski resort employees live and is at least a 30-minute drive from the chairlift and is usually bisected by an Interstate Highway.

Detachable six-pack. A device invented by Boyne Mountain to haul six times as many people up the mountain as a single chairlift and deliver six times as many people to the top of the same run that became crowded when they put in the first double chairlift.

Terrain Parks. A part of the mountain that is creatively designed to catapult as many snowboarders high in the air as their adrenaline allows. 

Half-pipe. A gigantic groove in the snow that groupies can stand along the edge of and watch their significant other snowboarder spinning in the air and falling down in the center of.

Timeshare. A mathematical formula where someone can buy two weeks a year in a building at a ski resort. The available weeks are anytime in November or late April about the time the ski lifts close for the season. Since 26 other people own part of the same unit, that many people have bragging rights about pride of ownership. The builders usually make ten times as much money for building the same square footage and retire to Hawaii.

Ski Host. A local who knows a good deal. They are given a season pass, a uniform, and spend their day skiing and looking for skiers or snowboarders with glazed lost looks in their eyes. A lot of them are single senior citizens on the prowl for their next ex-wife or ex-husband.

Slow skiing zone. This is a flat part of the hill where beginning skiers are scared to death by the hot shots that show off while ripping through it.

Quad lift. A multi million dollar device that floats through he air at a high rate of speed that you cling to during a blizzard for what seems like hours. With luck, you won't have to sit downwind from three strangers who are smoking and haven't had a bath since they left home two days ago, or three other skiers who are talking on their cell phones.

Conquer the elements. A huge discount sale on rain gear and umbrellas that have been marked up more than their usual amount.

Manmade snow.  A commodity that takes vast amounts of coal to generate the electricity to expensively convert water into ice on the side of a steep hill. This allows you to pay up to $80 dollars a day to wait in line and look at it while a college graduate who is earning $7 dollars an hour tries to convert the warm water coming out of the nozzles into powder snow.

Skier days. The supposedly exact number of all day lift tickets sold at a given resort during the winter. A number that is flexible so that the last person to be the marketing director in the spring can always exaggerate the number and hold her job through the summer.

Insurance. A mysterious piece of paper that allows contingency fee, ambulance chasing attorneys to write off their vacations while listening to the ski patrol radio channel to monitor accidents. This automatically increases the cost of your lift ticket by 25 percent.

Travel agent. That company that you found on the Web that books you into the wrong room, at the wrong hotel, at the wrong end of town, at the wrong time of the year, at the wrong price.

Pisten Bully. A quarter of a million dollar device that smoothes out all of the bumps in the snow because anyone over the age of 40 would have quit skiing if they had not been invented.

Cell phone.  A group of cheaply produced microscopic things in a cheap, exotic, high tech plastic case that someone invented so that a ski vacation can now be tax deductible by having your assistant phone you every morning at 11:10 a.m. while you are riding on the lift with three other people who are talking on their cheap exotic phones.

Powder Hounds. A semi-rare breed of hot dogs that spend all winter trying to track up new powder snow slopes.

Heli-Skiing. A very exotic, noisy and scary way to become the most listened to person at the summer cocktail parties.

Diagonal Kevlar Laminate. Something that is added to a pair of skis to substantially raise the price.

Americas largest. If it applies to anything other than vertical rise for a ski lift, be careful when you make your reservations. Other things that are America's largest are the L.A. freeway system, New York City subway, the Grand Canyon and Domino's Pizza.

Black Diamond. Something you can safely promise your new date if she can ever ski one with grace and beauty.

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