This topic can be separated out into 2 categories: first, common sport specific terminology which can be used at school or the office without embarrassment and second the slang which is that part of the language used by boarders to form a group identity. Listed here are terms mainly from the first category:

ABS: Acrylonitrite Butadiene Styrene (Plastic used as snowboard topsheet)

Aerial maneuvers: method, stale fish, japan, ollie, revert, sidekick, heel/toe-edge grab, mute, crail, nose/tail grab, nuclear, rocket, 180-to-fakie, roast beef, slob air, canadian bacon, alley oop, two/one handed invert, j-tear,… All-around, All-mountain, All-terrain, Free-riding, Free- style, Alpine, Race, Half-pipe – Types of equipment and riding styles, see the board equipment section for details.

Base: The P-tex bottom of the board. Baseless Binding: A type of high-back binding which has no base. The rider’s boots contact the board directly on the top sheet. The bindings are secured via holes on the outside of the binding, not under the feet. Some advantages might be lighter weight, more natural board flex, and less distance between the rider’s feet and the board. Predominately used by freestyle riders.

Bevel Plate/Wedge: A shim placed under the binding to raise the heel relative to the toe.

Bladder and shell: most ski and snowboard boots are made of a supportive exterior shell and a removable interior bladder. The shell is closed with buckles or laces. The bladder may or may not have laces but normally has a tongue

Bonk: To tap something as the boarder flies over it. Ski resorts don’t like boarders to bonk trash cans, picnic tables, or skiers. Butt plant: corollary to face plant.

Camber: The built in curvature of a board, which can be seen as a space between the board and a table when the board is laid flat on a table; can be curved up like skis or down (rockered).

Cant Plate/Wedge: A shim placed under the binding to angle the foot towards the rider

Carve: Turning using weight shifting and without skidding

Core: The material the inside of the board is made of.

CSF: Canadian Snowboard Federation

Duck-Stance: A duck-footed stance where the feet are splayed outward, used for free-styling.

Effective edge/Contact edge: The length of edge which contacts the snow, or applies pressure, during a turn. Face plant: Falling on one’s face.

Fakie: Riding backwards, this term can not be applied to a totally symmetrical board with a centered stance where the feet are perpendicular to the edges, normally the feet are angled towards the nose of the board.

Fall line: The most direct line down a slope, the line a ball would follow if rolled down the hill.

Goofy/regular footed: Right foot towards the nose is goofy, left is regular. About half of all boarders ride goofy. Same terminology applies to skateboarding and surfing.

Grab: Any aerial maneuver where the board is grabbed by either or both hands.

Half-pipe: A trough cut into or built up with snow, term originates from skateboarding.

Heel edge: Opposite edge of the toe edge.

High-back binding: Generally used with soft or hybrid boots, see equipment section.

Inserts: Two methods exist to secure bindings to a board. An insert is a nut built into the board and a machine screw is then used to secure the binding. A big advantage of this method is the ease of moving the bindings, you don’t have to have a shop do it and the odds of a screw-up are low.

Jib: To ride on something other than snow, like logs, cars, hand rails, skiers, etc.

Leash: A safety strap for the case where the buckles of the binding accidentally release, required at most ski areas.

Newbie: A novice, someone new to a thing.

New-school: Newer more recent riding techniques, equipment, and equipment set-ups. These include very wide centered stances, short boards, and baggy clothes. New-school is generally only freestyle type riding since the equipment and stances preclude other types of riding. Nose or tip: That end of the board that the feet are angled towards.

Old-school: The techniques and equipment set-ups originated in the 80’s.

P-tex: Brand name of polyethylene used for the snowboard base material.

Plate binding: Used with hard shell boots, see equipment section.

PSIA: Professional Ski Instructors of America.

Rail: Side edge of a snowboard.

Retention Plate: The other method of securing bindings is like ski bindings, a sheet metal screw is used after tapping a hole into the board. It is referred to as plate retention because a metal plate is built into the board where the board will be tapped. Not used in boards made after about 1996.

Side-cut: The curvature of the edge towards the center of the board described by the radius of the arc of that curve.

Shin-strap: Optional binding strap on the high-back portion of a high-back binding, aids in applying edge pressure in toe-side turns.

Shred: Rip, jam, do way good snowboarding.

Shredder: One who shreds.

Sideslip: To slide or skid down a hill with the board perpendicular to the fall line.

Skate: To propel yourself by pushing with the rear foot which is out of the binding while the front foot is still attached.

Slope style: Freestyle, generally refers to tricks not done in the park and pipe.

Soft binding: Same as a high-back binding.

Stance: Refers to the position of the feet on the board.

Stomp or Skid pad: A pad attached to the board between the bindings where the rear foot can be set when its not in the binding.

Switch stance: A boarding stance in which the nose and tail are indistinguishable, there is no fakie, no forwards or backwards.

Symmetrical/asymmetrical: Refers to board design, see equipment section.

Tail: Back of the board.

Toe edge: That edge of the board the rider faces.

Top Sheet: The top layer of a laminated board, normally contains the graphics, the top layer of the board which can be touched.

Tweak: To become as distorted as possible.

Twintip: A board which is symmetrical front to back, can be ridden in either direction. See Switch stance.

Wall: Vertical section of a half-pipe.

3D: Burton’s 3 hole pattern of binding mounting. Each binding is secured by 3 screws. There are four different positions or settings of 3 holes for each binding. This allows easy stance adjustment. The 3D hole binding also is mounted on a disk that rotates for angle adjustment. 3D is only used by Burton, but an adapter is available to allow for 3D bindings to be used on the 4×4 hole pattern.

4×4: F2 originated 4 hole pattern of binding mounting. Each binding is secured by 4 screws. This allows easy stance adjustment. The 4×4 binding also is mounted on a disk that rotates for angle adjustment. A majority of non-Burton boards and bindings use the 4×4 pattern. Some 4X4 bindings can be mounted on the Burton 3D pattern without modification.

Board length: Some rental shops use the rule of thumb that a board should touch between the beginner’s chin and nose. Every board feels different when you ride it. You might like a 155 of one model and a 165 of another. Like everything else, there are no hard and fast rules. Rent to begin with and try to demo your equipment before you buy.

Board width: Board width, usually measured as waist width, plays an important role in how the board works for a particular rider. Ideally the boot toe and heel are even with the board’s edges. A little toe overhang is OK but too much and the toe (or heel) will dig into the snow when turning, greatly affecting control. If the toe and heel are too far in from the edge then getting the board onto it’s edge becomes much more difficult, requiring excessive force from the rider. There are 2 factors which will dictate what board width is optimal for you: stance angles and the sole length of your snowboard boots. If you ride with your feet straight across (0 degrees) then the board width at the binding locations should be close to the boot’s sole length. If you ride with your feet at 60 degrees then the board should be significantly narrower. The stock newbie advice: suitable for most new riders who don’t yet know whether they want to specialize in some particular area, and who don’t have knowledgeable friends at hand to help them.

Brands: Since you (presumably) don’t know anything about the manufacturers, stick to the large, reputable ones: Burton, Sims, Nitro, Morrow… They’ve been making quality product for ever, so you won’t get screwed.

Style: Buy a freeriding board (e.g. Burton A-Deck), soft boots, and soft bindings.

Setup: set your stance to 20″ wide, 1″ back from center, 30 degrees on the front, 15 degrees on the back. Learn to ride, then play with the stance to see what works for you.

New or Used: You can save a bundle with a used board. Buy one that isn’t too old (it has inserts in it instead of drilled bindings), isn’t too beat up (the base and edges look ok), and hasn’t been pounded to death (it still has camber). Learning to ride: take a lesson. Really. I don’t care how good your friend is, or what kind of wicked shit they can pull. They’re not trained in giving lessons. Save yourself some bruises, invest $20, and have a MUCH better time on your first day.

Disclaimer: Yeah, it’s a boring old-school setup. Guess why? It works. It’s not optimal for jibbing, or racing, or whatever, but it works great for learning. If I didn’t mention your fav’ brand, this is not intended to be a complete list, just a simple and reliable list. If you buy a Burton, Sims, or Nitro, it may or may not be the absolute best board possible (give or take taste) but it will NOT suck, and it will hold it’s resale value so you can sell it and buy something specialized later.