Austen Sweetin, Mammoth Mtn., CA. P: Aaron Dodds

Austen Sweetin, Mammoth Mtn., CA. P: Aaron Dodds

Push [Puhshh] verb: The act of moving snow with a cat, “pushing” is quite literal in its description. Thus, another name for builders themselves is “pushers.” Therefore De La Soul had it wrong when they sang “I’d rather know a shover than a pusher ’cause a pusher’s a jerk.” Anyone who has ridden a great snowboard park knows that pushers ain’t jerks!

Yo-yo [Yoh Yoh] verb: Unlike like traditional winching, where a stationary deadman cat is connected by a cable to a winch cat which shoulders the grooming duties, yo-yo-ing is an advanced technique which enables both cats involved in the belaying to be mobile. In yo-yo-ing, the winch cat takes the higher ground while a lighter cat with its tiller removed is tethered to it from below and tasked with manipulating the snow on the steep terrain.

Hand Work [Hahnd Wurrk] noun: “Hand work” is required when the area in need of grooming cannot be accessed by a snowcat, or when precise fine-tuning of a feature is necessary. Usually needed on steep landings or when shaving the sides of a feature to form a sheer wall, hand work is the actual blood, sweat, and tears of builders worldwide.

Spork [Spohrk] noun: A tool used when hand work is being performed on a feature, a “spork” is comprised of a long, metal handle and a “head” with “groomer teeth” that rake snow and can also move small amounts of it for finish work; a necessary tool for building teams and terrain park crews.

Stick Cat [Stihk Kaht] noun: Otherwise known as FNR (forward and reverse) cats. These machines are the preferred type of cat for building park features, due to the added maneuverability of their independent track manipulation abilities. The alternatives are steering-wheel cats, whose tracks move in unison. For example, a stick cat—which has a separate joystick throttle to control each track—can have one tread moving forward while the other is moving backwards. With steering-wheel cats, both treads must be moving forwards or backwards together.

Blade [Blaaad] noun: The long arched metal apparatus at the fore of a snowcat used to move mass amounts of snow.

Snowcat [Snoh-Kaht] noun: Though this term has come to represent all snow-grooming machines, its origin is from the original Tucker Sno-Cat, which was trademarked in 1946. These tracked vehicles have become a modern ski-area necessity, and are routinely used for snow-sculpting, grooming, and general transportation.

Farm [Fahrm] noun: To use snow-grooming equipment to gather snow and move it to a specific area to provide added coverage or accumulate mass piles of snow for special features.

Jake Welsh

This content was originally published in the January 2010 issue.

SEE MORE FROM THE JANUARY 2010 ISSUE

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