Weird and Wonderful Ski Fads and Fashions
Photo: (c) OOSC. If you’re heading to the mountains this winter, you might want to see what other people you’ve worn before, ski gear, and travel. All that has changed a lot since skiing first began on winter break in the 1890s. Some ski fashions are short-lived, some a little longer, and some number never really succeeds. But it’s all fun. Outfits that you might think of today as grotesque, were once considered chic and utilitarian. As for the style of skiing has been heavily influenced by warmth, comfort and price. And on the slopes, who could imagine going uphill on a single booster seat or a gondola that looks like an egg? Or wear pink Moonboots to ski and Bigfoot downhill?
Here are a few of the weirdest fads and fads seen across the slopes over the years. The video above shows what skiing was like in the 1980s, with two-seat booster seats, massive ski suits, straight skis, and no helmets.
1. Thick long skirts for women – turn to the 19th/20th century
Photo: Shrimpton Couture. This was followed by miniskirts in the 1930s. Made from gaberdine, tweed, wool, and other waterproof or windproof materials. Men wear tights with longer, thicker socks, all from the same fabric as women’s ski clothes.
Skiers in 1938.
2. Skateboards are taller than people – 1950s to 1970s
Photo: (c) OT Saas-Fee. Ski shops often say, “Raise your hands above your head, and that’s how long your skis should be.” Before the 1950s, they were made from hickory wood. The poles – then called ‘snow sticks’ – had huge baskets made of wood and leather, with arrows that did damage like steel arrows.
Right after that was a thin straight skateboard – not as long – and made of metal, then a fiberglass-wood blend. The shape didn’t change until 1993. Watch the video above, made in 1981, and you’ll see the dying embers of the straight skateboards; Hats or headbands are always worn and the legs still go together – though not as tightly as they were in the 60s and 70s.
3. Lift chair for one – 1930s onwards
Niseko single chair. First up are the single chairs – Niseko in Japan still has one, pictured here. It makes for a cold and lonely ride up, often without a safety bar. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a double chair and then maybe take the elevator with a friend. But the trio, the quartet, the six and the eight came much later. The world’s first lifts built for skiing were at Sun Valley in Idaho in 1936 and 1937, and were owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
4. Egg-shaped gondolas – 1950s to 1980s
‘Eggs’ in Crested Butte, Colorado, in 1963. They weren’t called gondolas or telecabines in the ’60s, ’70s, or even ’80s. Instead, they were called eggs, bubbles, or yogurt pots. – depending on their shape. The smallest will seat two and the largest will seat four, with the skis securely held on the outside in small metal crates. The first ski lift in France opened in 1942 in the Val d’Isere, the first T bar in 1934 in Davos, and the first gondola built for skiing was at Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire, where it operated from 1957 to 1999 and sat two passengers.
5. Puffy all-in-one ski suit – 1980s
The ’80s ski suits feature colorful block prints, some in rose gold and day pink, and others even have artwork painted on them. They may look padded, but the fabric back then wasn’t warm or technical. However, it has become a full circle, with the current trend towards classic ski clothing that has been dug out of the loft or made new today by companies like OOSC (as seen in the video). You might see them worn on college ski trips and during festival week.
6. Monoskiing – 1980s
If you had never tried it at the time, you must have wondered what it was like to be fastened to the laces that slide parallel on a single board, with your body facing forward. It dates back to its predecessor skiing and the latter sport has little in common with it. In monoskiing your feet are pressed together and you’ve used the same approach as a typical skier of the day when you ‘Wedge’ downhill.
7. Bigfoot and snowblades – the 1990s
The people in this video can do it pretty well but in the 1990s groups of young adults, often no worse off dressed up, would hire Bigfoot or sleds for a day during a weeklong vacation. theirs and go try.
8. Novelty ski caps – 1990s
These were especially popular in the 1990s and yes, there are still people who take them out on their annual ski vacation. In fact, you can buy them on Amazon and Etsy today. They range from hats with multicolored spaghetti strands sprouting from the top, to knit hats with whiskers that make it look as if you have an octopus on your face.
9. Panda eyes – 1970s onwards
Photo: (c) Natalia Maroz / Shutterstock Goggle leaves a large white area on the top half of your face and the dark brown underneath is used to let your friends know you’ve gone on a ski vacation. But it’s really saying you’ve been in the sun too long without enough sunscreen! We’ve heard of a recent fad of spraying tan while wearing goggles – to look like you’re on a ski vacation when… really… you haven’t.
10. Pink Moon Boots – 1980s
History has it that in the 1980s, a London ski shop placed an over-ordered Moon Boots… in pink and all possible sizes (including men’s), which contributed to the the downfall of the store. We don’t know if this is actually true but, while the store may not exist, Moon Boots does.
11. Ski pants at half mast – 1990s
Many skiers used to wear their pants too low – it was quite difficult to get the shorts out of the top. Sometimes they are worn so low that they actually interfere with athletic performance, as seen in this video. Skiers find this outfit unappealing and, fortunately, today’s skiers wear pants that fit better with their jeans.
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