In skiing, crud is a snow condition that occurs when powder becomes somewhat tracked up, though not boilerplated or fully packed down (or moguled up). The general instance of crud is characterised by loose, chunky snow floating on top of a semi-packed base. While crud is in no way comparable to untracked powder, it can often be the next best thing when no such snow (untracked or slightly ski-cut) is available.

Crud generally lacks the smoothness of full-blown pow and can be a bit uneven, but is generally much softer than packed stuff. Skiers not used to skiing in crud may find it a bit hard to get used to, and it can in fact be condusive to injuries. Good examples of crud can be found in Pacific Coast ski resorts such as Whistler/Blackcomb or Eaglecrest Ski Area.

Crud is billiard game played nearly exclusively by air force officers through out the Western world. It's believed the game originated in Canada with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, specifically at the RCAF base in Gander, Newfoundland. This explains its viral-like adoptions by air forces within the Western defense alliance as Gander acts as a jumping off point for American, Canadian, and European military aircraft.

I should note at this point calling Crud a billiard game is a bit inaccurate. It's like calling dodge ball a variant of volley ball. Crud makes use of only two billiard balls (the cue ball and one of the striped balls) and it involves the use of no pool cues. It's again conjectured that the game came about because there were few, if any, available pool cues in the officers mess during and since the war. Men from air forces of different nations get drinking, begin comparing engine sizes, etc, and soon pool sticks become weapons. And they get broken.

Okay so the rules of Crud are basically like this. The team on deck fields a server. The other team fields a receiver or more accurately a "blocker". The server has to grab the cue ball and fling it across the table at the striped ball. The blocker has to protect the striped ball. If the server hits the striped ball, the blocker is killed. A team member can be killed 3 times before he's out of the game. Once all your team mates are killed, you lose and you're in for beer for the rest of the night.

If the server misses he has to retrieve the ball and try again. If he misses three times in a row, he's killed. However, if he hits the striped ball, the blocker becomes instantly the new server. He has to run to the serving end and try to retrieve the ball from that end. The opposing team, which previously was serving, puts a new blocker into place. It's important to note that in ball retrieval, the new server's body cannot move down the table. If he does, all the airmen in the room can shout insults and swear words at him. He also loses a life. He must try and retrieve the ball from the serving end only. Once he has retrieved the cue ball, he has to serve and try to hit the striped ball before it stops spinning. If he misses three times or the striped ball stops spinning, he loses a life.

Now the blocker's role in all of this is to essentially distract the server. Using the rarely played "gentleman's rules" the blocker tries to distract the server by waving his hands, shouting insults about the airman's wife, etc.

The "full-contact combat rules" version allows the blocker to hip check or trip the server. The blocker cannot, however, attempt to grab the server's hands or arms. Walking on the surface of the pool table is frowned upon unless the table has been specifically rigged for full-contact combat rules Crud: rolls of toilet paper jammed in the pocket holes and the felt surface is covered with outdoor carpet.

Full-contact combat rules are particularly popular with junior grades as by ancient tradition, a junior grade is free to physically assault/harass his superior officer without fear of punishment. Anything else just wouldn't be cricket ... I mean Crud.

The crud is a disease very much like a cold or a light flu, characterized by lack of energy, persistent cough, headache, congestion, sore throat, and possibly a mild fever. What makes it the crud is its persistence — while a cold might last a few days, the crud tends to hang on for a week or two. Many places have their own local version of the crud: here in Mississippi it's called the Delta crud, Oregon has the Portland crud, and even Antarctica has its McMurdo crud. It seems to occur in cold, wet weather, especially when the temperature swings high and low over the course of a few days, particularly in the spring or fall. The "crud" itself refers to the accumulation of disgusting fluids everywhere in your body they can accumulate.

Going through the crud is an uncomfortable and exhausting experience. Your nose runs, your eyes accumulate gunk, post-nasal drip makes your throat sore, you're coughing up phlegm (sputum) from your lungs, and it never seems to end. For me, it's worse in the morning, when a night's worth of post-nasal drip has been irritating my throat for the last eight hours. It's generally not enough to make you stay home from school or work, unless you have a particularly bad day, but you'll definitely want to wash your hands thoroughly and try to avoid contact with other people. Consider working from home if you can, but staying home for two weeks for a persistent, low-level annoyance just isn't worth the bother.

Treating the crud is similar to treating a cold or congestion. Expect to go through a lot of throat lozenges and facial tissue. Drink plenty of fluids, especially hot ones like chicken soup and tea which will soothe your throat and break up the congestion. Over-the-counter medicine is helpful to control the headache, congestion, sore throat, and cough. You probably won't have much appetite but don't forget to eat regular meals to keep your strength up. The crud generally doesn't involve nausea or vomiting so at least that won't be an issue. The key seems to be preventing the post-nasal drip, usually by clearing the congestion or thinning the mucus.

The most popular treatment for the crud, however, is the hot toddy. There are many recipes, but it's generally:

  • one or two shots of a brown liquor like whiskey or brandy,
  • a tablespoon or so of honey,
  • fresh juice squeezed from a whole or half a lemon, and
  • some kind of earthy spice like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves.
  • Pour all that into a mug and fill it the rest of the way with boiling water.
Stir thoroughly until the honey dissolves, and inhale the aroma while you wait for it to cool to help break up the congestion. Taken about an hour before bedtime, it does a wonderful job of soothing your sore throat and helping you sleep, but the truth is it doesn't actually do anything but make you feel better for a while. You'll still be sick tomorrow morning.

I should mention that feeling "cruddy" due to having a cold or the flu is distinct from having The Crud. They come from the same meaning of crud, that is, the disgusting, half-dried mess caused by uninhibited mucus production, but you have to feel cruddy for at least a week before you can say it's the crud.

Crud (kr?d), n.

See Curd.



© Webster 1913.

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