A guide to words and phrases routinely used by contest announcers.
On the Bubble [Ahn Thuh Buhbbl] adj: To the casual network television armchair snowboarding enthusiast, one would think our sport was rife with 'roids. No, we're not talking about steroids; we're talking about hemorrhoids. When announcers quip that a rider is "on the bubble," it doesn't mean that their contest preparation includes that of the "H" variety. Rather, it simply means that a competitor is on the brink of advancing to the next stage of competition, so long as their scores stand. If this wasn't the case, we'd see a lot more backside grabs.
Amplitude [Am-pluh-tuuud] noun: To what degree a rider is utilizing the active ingredients of an energy drink, be it taurine, ginseng, guaraná, caffeine, or methamphetamines, while performing a given trick.
Overall Impression [Oh-vurr-ahll Ehm-presh-uhn] noun: A form of judging which alleviates the need for the judge's accountability based on specific merits. Snowboard contest judging is the only known arena where overall impression is used as a determining factor in one's result. Other instances where judging based on overall impression would be welcome are field sobriety tests, credit scores, and when your significant other asks you if a pair of jeans makes her ass look big.
Random Drug Test [Rahn-duhm Druhg Tesst] noun: Everyone knows that the best way to pass a random drug test is to avoid random drugs, so one must be very specific about the drugs they take. For example, don't just take whatever Luke Mitrani hands you. Ever since famed Canadian racer Ross Rebagliati turned the Nagano Games into a five-leaf circus, professional snowboarders have been suspected of getting high, and we're not talking about what they do above the lip of the pipe. Anti-doping agents are in place at most major contests, performing random drug tests on all top competitors and looking for everything from "the juice" to jenkum.
"Back to you, Todd." [Bahk Tu Yuu Tahd] phrase: Heard when a contest's commentary is lacking in perspective from old, jaded Massholes who would rather be at home washing their Audis, playing Xbox Live, or complaining about the lack of a "best of two run" format in the 1998 Olympics.
Setup Trick [She-tuhp Trihl] noun: Any move which enables the rider to approach the next wall, jump, or rail in line for a better trick. Setup tricks are usually less notable than the ones they precede.
Linking Tricks [Lihn-king Trihkks] verb: Performing maneuvers in a specific sequence that is more difficult and, in turn, has a greater effect on overall impression. (Although this is just conjecture, seeing as how overall impression is total bullshit and doesn't allow for specifics.) In any case, an example of linking tricks would be a backside seven into a switch method. Of note is the fact that this combo is insanely difficult, yet isn't recognized by the overall impression-loving judges, which is why Elijah Teter gets screwed at almost every major contest.
This content was originally published in the March 2010 issue.