Skiing Kiwi & Oz – Translation Please

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If summer in Canada hits and you still haven’t had enough of the slippy, slidey, lefty, righty, then it might be time to start planning your ski trip to the Southern Hemisphere. Many people are surprised to learn that the skiing can be really great in both New Zealand and Australia. That’s if you’re willing to risk New Zealand’s volcanic activity, heavily tattooed locals and feast or famine snow conditions. Or you could check out the resorts of Australia, keeping in mind that Australia has a disproportionate number of the world’s deadliest creepy crawlies and critters. Although to be fair, we’ve been told that most of the snakes, spiders, jellyfish and sharks take the winter months off, so she’ll be right, mate.

If you’re coming to the Southern Ocean in search of endless winter (or just heading to Big White and need to communicate with the staff), it might be worthwhile to brush up on some of the local phrases. Since the first settlers shared a kai (feed) with the Maori in New Zealand and the first n’er-do-wellers were booted out of England, bound for Australia, they’ve adapted the English language to suit their needs. Here are just a few of our Kiwi and Aussie favourites:

* Sweet as—meaning something is really, really good. It can be personalized by adding the word bro’ at the end.

“How was the snow at Ruapehu this morning?”

Sweet as, bro’! It was choice!”

* Munted—when something is broken, messed up or not working.

“How are your bases after skiing across the parking lot?”

“Mate, they were munted, eh.” (In this case the addition of the Canadianism “eh” is not a question but an emphasis of fact.) 

* Yeah, nah—leave it to the Kiwis to perfect the use of the affirmative and negative, yet make it sound eloquent.

“Should we hit the pub for a couple of quiet ones after skiing?”

Yeah, nah, I’m driving, bro’. Can’t do it, eh.”


Across the ditch in Australia they’ve taken things to an almost poetic level with their colourful descriptions of nearly everything.

Goes off like a frog in a sock.

How’s Bruce at skiing freshies?”

“Mate, he goes off like a frog in a sock!” (Translation: Buddy’s a pretty good powder skier.)

* Flat out like a lizard drinkin’.

“Did you make it to Perisher for that last big dump?”

“Nah, mate, I’m flat out like a lizard drinkin’. I haven’t skied in yonks.” (Yonks is apparently a really long time.)

* Face like a dropped pie. (One of Ski Canada’s all-time faves.)

“I was chatting up this girl on the chairlift and when she lifted her goggles she had a face like a dropped pie. I nearly jumped off the chair.” (Translation: Not very complimentary, we’re afraid.)

 Winter 2015 issue

Ron Betts
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