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Big Snow Resort Blog - November 21 2016

Say “Yah dere hey” to Big Snow Resort, once!

             We’re not certain if living in the Upper Peninsula makes you quirky or if 250” of snow annually is the catalyst, but Yooper life requires an unconventional outlook. If you’re a Super Yooper, you’re likely to be of Finnish, French Canadian or Scandinavian descent and regard 100” of snow as spring.

            Yoopers tackle winter with unrestrained gusto and at Big Snow Resorts, we jump right into the deep end. Fireworks in the snow? Youbetcha. Guests at Big Snow Resort are treated to a variety of unusual events that take the edge off the winter months. The Big Snow Resort Yeti Hunt fires up every January, Yooperfest crowns a king and queen and spring skiing means the annual Bikini Ski Race.

            “Winter in the U.P. is breathtaking,” says Misty Vander Wolde, Event Coordinator at Big Snow Resort. “And it’s long. So we naturally come up with creative ways to have fun.”

            One of the more creative features of living in or visiting the U.P. is the unique dialect that sneaks into daily conversation. The local lingo is a mash-up of Finnish, German, and Scandinavian speech patterns that gave birth to terms also common in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. So, if you want to fit in and speak Yoopanese, we offer this handy primer:

  • Yooper: a resident of the Upper Peninsula. Pronounced YOU-per.
  • Eh: A word that ends practically every sentence in the U.P. (example: "Say ya to da U.P., Eh!").
  • Da Mitten: Another nickname Yoopers have for da Lower Peninsula.
  • Give 'er tarpaper: To work feverishly, something Yoopers are famous for.
  • Going Shop-ko (or Co-op, or town, or store): Yooper phrase meaning "Going to the store."
  • Holy Man!: Not used to describe a clergyman, but rather as the ultimate Yooper exclamation. Used when a mere "Holy Whaa" doesn't suffice.
  • Holyowha: Yooper expletive meaning, roughly "Holy ---!"
  • Overseas: Anything sout' of da Bridge. Da Mackinac Bridge (which is pronounced “Mackinaw”)
  • Pasty: Finnish (or Cornish, depending on who you want to believe!) meat pie made with onions beef and potatoes. Many variations on the basic recipe have been created. Some include rutabaga and cayenne pepper. The pasty was introduced to the U.P. by immigrants in the 1880's. Best to buy those that are made in da U.P. Those made elsewhere don't taste nearly as good. And it’s pronounced PAST-tee, not PASTE-tee which is a naughty bit of clothing.
  • Pre'ner: Stands for "pretty near" as in: There were pre'ner tirty bucks out by da camp!
  • Side By Each: Standing next to each other. As in, "Der dey were; towsands of deer standing in da field side by each!"
  • Speed Beef: Those four legged critters with white tails and antlers that run in front of your car and freeze in the headlights. Best served as sausage or smoked jerky.
  • Stop and Go : What a traffic light is called in the U.P.
  • Tree: The number after one and two. Used mainly by older yoopers.
  • Wha!: An exclamation used only by Yoopers. Used in place of "WOW!"
  • Ya Know?: Yooper phrase meaning "Do you agree?"
  • Yah, Hey!!!: You've got to be kidding me! I don't believe it!
  • Youbetcha: Yooper phrase meaning, "Yes, without a doubt."
  • Youse Guys: You guys. Often used to refer to more than one person, i.e. "Are youse guys going skiing?"

 With thanks to Da Yoopers Glossary and input from native residents of the Upper Peninsula.