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Do You Know Your Lingo? Test Your Knowledge With Aspen's 23 Most-Used Phrases

The Editors | December 2, 2020 | Lifestyle

Brush up on your Aspen-speak so you can sound like a local.


1. The ABC

The Airport Business Center, 3 miles from Aspen, across from the Pitkin County Airport and home to offices and employee homes

2. Ajax

The locals’ nickname for Aspen Mountain. It comes from one of the area’s larger mining claims.

3. ASE

The code for Aspen/Pitkin County Airport

4. Aspen Tap

At dinner, choose sparkling water or what waiters fondly call “Aspen Tap.” It’s free. It’s also the name of Aspen Brewing Company’s affiliate downtown storefront, which sells its beer... on tap.

5. The Bells

The Maroon Bells, two 14,000-plus- foot peaks in the nearby Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.
They are reportedly the most photographed peaks in North America.

6. Bonedale

Affectionate nickname for Carbondale, downvalley of Aspen. Local denizens are known as “Bonedalians.”

Read also: Get In The Zone: The Ultimate Guide To Aspen Skiing

7. Bootpacking

Creating “snow-steps” to go uphill on steep terrain with boots on. In the early season, Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol uses this technique—with a team of volunteer “bootpackers” who can earn season passes—to pack down snow in the Bowl to stabilize it.

8. The Bowl

Shorthand for Highland Bowl, the 12,392-foot peak on Aspen Highlands that can be accessed by a 782-vertical-foot hike

9. The Bucket

One of the Silver Queen Gondola cabins

10. Corduroy

Freshly groomed snow that is perfectly ribbed like corduroy

11. The Couch

The Gentleman’s Ridge chairlift because it moves so slowly

12. Dawn patrol

An early morning activity initiated in time to see sunrise

Read also: 7 Breathtaking Aspen Hikes For Every Day Of The Week

13. Downvalley

Even though Aspen is southeast of Glenwood Springs, this refers to all locales “downstream” from Aspen, e.g., Woody Creek, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Snowmass Village is considered sidevalley.

14. The Dumps

A series of ski runs on Aspen Mountain extending from Bear Paw to Bonnie Bell Ridge, named for the mine tailings that can be seen “dumping” from this hillside in the summer

15. Fourteener

Any peak over 14,000 feet in Colorado, of which there are 54

16. Noon groom

A freshly groomed run on Snowmass Ski Area that opens each day at noon. The chosen run changes daily.

17. The Pass

Independence Pass, the 12,095-foot- high point on Highway 82 connecting Aspen to Leadville in the summer. During the winter, it’s closed. It’s also on the Continental Divide.

18. RFTA

Pronounced “rafta,” and stands for Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, the valley’s bus system

Read also: The Insider's Guide To Local Ride Centers With Gold-Level Status

19. Send it

Getting a lot of air or hang time while jumping on skis or a bike. Can also refer to a big night on the town.

20. Sidecountry

Out-of-bounds terrain accessed from exiting the ski area boundary, not advised unless you know what you’re doing

21. The six-pack

The Village Express chairlift, which carries six people

22. Skinning

Going uphill on skis with the help of long strips of synthetic “fur,” which prevent the skis from slipping backward

23. SUPing

Stand-up paddleboarding

Tags: aspen slang

Photography by: Sunyu Kim