Sub-zero temperatures and little/no clothing is not a combination that works for most people. Yet there’s something about the silliness of skiing in swimwear, or less, that proves attractive to some.
If you’re one of those people, there are opportunities (some of them, hidden away around the skiing world) to take to the snow in little more than your birthday suit, rather than your ski suit.
But before we begin, here are some safety points to bare (or bear, rather) in mind. Skiing naked is, after all, quite an extreme sport and not for everyone.
First, a lot of naked and semi-naked skiing takes place in the spring once it’s hot. Those SPF-50 creams you spread on your normally exposed bits of face between googles and helmet will need to be liberally applied to all other bits of less frequently exposed flesh if you don’t want to be toasted to a painful crisp very quickly on the slopes.
Secondly, remember you spent all that money on your expensive skiwear to protect you from the elements and when you fall. Be very aware of weather conditions and possible early signs of frostbite to your, ahem, “extremities.”
So safety points noted, you’re stripped off and slathered in sunscreen from head to toe, and ready to go!
You’re most likely to get away with skiing in your swimwear without being dragged off by the ski patrol at the end of every season, when there’s a ‘Rites of Spring’ mood on the slopes and the sun is hot.
You do, however, have to keep it tasteful. It was once a tradition at Crested Butte in Colorado for people to ski naked on the last day of the season, but as the event gained popularity, it got out of hand and the event had to end in the late 1990s.
Charity Fund Raising
If you want to ski in your swimwear for a purpose—or even if you don’t particularly want to ski in your swimwear, but don’t mind doing so for a good cause—sign up for one of the bikini slaloms or “ski-a-thongs” that take place at resorts around the world. Frequently, these events are intended to raise funds for several different charitable organizations.
Some well-known resorts that stage bikini slalom races include: Telluride in Colorado; Snow Trails in Ohio; Sunshine at Banff in Alberta, Canada; and Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand. Copper Mountain’s event in Colorado is most brilliantly titled (“Eenie Weenie Bikini Contest”), while Mt. Cheeseman’s in New Zealand organizes an annual Undie 500 Race.
Another excuse to strip off is to pose for a calendar, still a popular fund raising initiative. Few can compete with the famous Arlberg Ski Instructors Calendar. With both male and female versions, this calendar has been put together for 10 years now and each year, runs a limited print number of only 1,000 collector’s editions.
It’s cheating rather, but several of Scotland’s ski areas welcome kilt-clad skiers and boarders on New Year’s Day. While many countries will arrest people for failing to have their nether regions covered, in Scotland it is considered bad form to wear anything under your kilt.
Star In A Movie
Every now and then, a movie with some naked skiing comes along. Most recently, the Patagonia-sponsored 2013 film, Valhalla from Sweetgrass Productions, featured a two-minute segment of a dozen brave souls skiing and boarding naked at Whitewater ski area for the hell of it. Interestingly, those two minutes of the film seem to be much more popular on Vimeo than the rest of the film.
But ski movies with semi-clad people in go back much further, one of the most famous being 1984’s Hot Dog – The Movie that was filmed at Squaw Valley in California 30 years ago. Squaw remembers it fondly and occasionally stages anniversary get-togethers.
The Whole Hog
If you want to ski completely naked and not get arrested, but don’t want to star in a movie or calendar shoot, your best bet might be to switch to cross-country skiing. A few European nations where ‘nudity is normal’ have tasteful, secluded, cross-country trails for naturalist skiers who like to strip off before they clip their skis on.
Although there are several options in central Europe (including venues in the Czech Republic), the best known is Obertraun in Austria, which has a long-established cross-country route designated for naked skiers only.
Keep in mind that the run is in a sheltered valley more than 5,500 feet up, so refer back to the health and safety advice at the start of this post. It’s one thing having to face a downhill glide in the buff, but being stranded in the woods that high up in sub-zero temperatures might not be much fun.
That said, naked skiers of the world, we salute you!