What do you guys call…?

I often get this question while riding the chairlift.  What do you guys call the "s-turn" or "rock face" or "berry patch".  I am often surprised by the disparity between the Patrol names versus long time Crystal skier’s names for places.  So let’s get the record straight.  I would like to collaborate with the skiing public so that we can all start to call our favorite places and landmarks by the same language.

The other day my friend, Mark, told me that he called the Scree Field below Niagras "Rock Face".  Well, there is only one Rock Face at Crystal and it is permanently closed.  It’s definitely not kosher to say you skied Rock Face.  The area below Niagras is called the Scree Field.  The face to the left of that is called Mike’s face.  Below the Scree Field is called Lower Spook and it is a good way for snowboarders to avoid the Buff Trail.  Many of you call the Buff Trail I-5.  That’s okay, but really it’s the Buff Trail.  Others, however, call it the Ho Chi Minh.  This is wrong.  The Ho Chi Minh is actually the traverse out to the Throne from the top of Chair 6. 

There are two Elbow Chutes at Crystal.  One is okay to ski and the other is on Rock Face.  The open one is the first gate into Bear Pits from the top of Chair 6 (which is also called High Campbell Chair).  The front side of C6 under the chair is called OO (double oughts).  There’s OO Right on the skier’s right of the chair and OO Left on the skier’s left.  Within OO R the main chute next to the chair is called Screaming Babies, then T-Slot is to the right of that.  To the skier’s left of the chair is Rabbit Ears, then Faith’s slide is to the left of that.  Further left we don’t really have a name for the nice glade skiing towards the Bear Pits line.  Any ideas?  Below the Throne is called Hamburger.  Further to the right is the A Basin line.  Above the A Basin line is Alex’s funnel and The Bowl.  These are chutes off the Throne that funnel into Hamburger and are only accessible when the southback is open. 

The Southback has a few place names.  There’s the SE sides of the Throne and the King and the N side of the King.  In the saddle between the Throne and the King is a ribbed area called Little Alaska, closer to the Throne a nice open chute there is called Jersey Curve.  The start of the hike of the King is called Kirner’s Corner aka Kirner’s Cornice.  The traverse around the back of the King brings you first to the Beach and then to Boxcar (the big cornice that always builds there).  Past that are the Three Way Chutes that end with the Exit Chute.  To the left of that is Billy Chute and otherwise they are just named 1,2,3 and 4.  The SE Left side of the King has some nice place names, including my favorite, Sparkle Trees.  There’s also the Sharkfin, Leaning Tree chute, the Divider Chute and Boneyard. 

The North side of the King starts with Sasquatch (the first easy entrance on the hike up the King).  Almost to the top is Toaster Chute.  At the top you can look straight down Pinball to the left and Brain Damage to the right.  Beyond Brain Damage is Hourglass, then Appliances and so on.  Most of these names are indisputable. 

I would like to hear some of the obscure place names out there.  What do you guys call some of the stuff out North?  How about the new Left Angle tree areas?  We like to divide that area into three parts — Right Angle, Left Angle and Employee Housing. 

Finally, I keep hearing about a place called "S-Turn".  I can think of some good places for this name, but have no idea where it really is.

7 thoughts on “What do you guys call…?

  1. bd

    funny about I-5/ho chi minh. the trail was first used in the early 80’s i believe and was called hcm, then it was dubbed I-5. Ihave never heard any one ever call it the buff trail…..ever.
    we have a name for lower Otto Bahn, thought. we call it “the hell”


  2. Tom

    Hi Kim,
    Your right, I hear lots of names for Left Angle trees. Not sure how I would ever describe to Patrol where someone was if there was a problem.
    I call the turn into the trees from end of Right Angle ridge the Right Angle trees (down to the last turn on Kelly’s Gap road. If I go further left and drop off the steep face into the first steep open line in the trees, some friends and I call that Jesus slope, because one day I hit it first in nose deep powder and someone muttered Jesus, and my wife just said, no that’s tom. Then further left is old rope line before Left Angle trees were officially opened. Finally, if we go in Left Angle gate at top of Right Angle, we just call it Right, Middle, and Left or next to new rope line (but not under, right Chet?). I also know someone that call’s Left Angle Trees Irma la Douce, but I don’t quite get that one.
    It really gets confusing in the lower parts, like what to call the first set of trees next to water fall, below my Right Angle Trees, and on and on…


  3. IowaGriz

    We used to ski the bear pits by entering from the REX side (looker’s right). One of the pits had a nice 20-30ft chute and I tried to straight run. A couple of recovery turns, popped a ski and cartwheeled to just shy of the trees at the bottom. I used several words to describe what was happening in my 10second terror ride, all could be used to name that chute 🙂


  4. StormLady

    The I-5/HoChiMinh/”Buff” road has been used well before the 80s. In the late 70’s early 80s we all did call it the Ho Chi Minh trail, but that became uncool and we as instructors were asked to call it I-5 sometime in the early 80s as I recall. In fact, however, it was originally called the Buffalo Road, (not “Buff” road). It was named for “Buffalo”, aka Ed Stockard, who first started putting it in with a snow cat in the early 70s.


  5. Ed

    Hmmm, just ran across this. Re: “Buff”road…. Buffalo road… I-5… etc. One of my last summer acts in 1979 was to cut this trail out with a chainsaw. Shortly after that I quit working at Crystal. I never did blade in the road with a cat.


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