In Defense of…Tall Tees

The Urban Dictionary says a tall tee is “a long T-Shirt that goes down to someone's knees, and commonly worn by people into hip hop culture.” Skiers are into hip-hop, so what’s wrong with them sporting tall tees?
Tall Tees All Around

Before Tanner went rastafari, he turned ganster. Suddenly tall tees showed up everywhere from the Colorado jib scene to the backcountry booters in Montana. Backcountry skiers, big-mountain athletes, and weekend warriors all shunned the advent of the newest ski fashion. Magazines, ski forums, and hippies took turns poking fun at the absurdity of a cotton t-shirt that looks like a dress. But the jibbers kept sliding rails and pushing the identity of the new wave of freeskiing. 

The tall tee debacle finally caught my attention the other night. I show up to the Level 1 premiere and immediately feel out of place. Nike high tops and a rainbow assortment of tall tees decorate the crowd. The scene resembles Halloween, but in a strictly Rainbow Brite kind of way. I am in sandals, jeans, and a sweatshirt; I feel old and boring. I’m even sporting a fedora, but it isn’t a tall tee. The movie starts and for a second I forget about how visibly I stand out from the crowd. But seconds into the film I am reminded again: Everyone on screen is wearing a tall tee, too.

These way-past-your-knees t-shirts contain some element of danger—you could catch your t-shirt on the toe piece of your bindings or snag it on a nearby tree limb. But going out into the backcountry can be sketchy too. Tall tees are made of cotton, which means functionality might decrease during a wet winter storm. But who cares if you are wearing cotton to a movie premiere or out jibbing in the spring? The hip-hop army is just a collection of skiers and their community happens to identify a member by appearance, just like most other groups in society. The tall tee is a beacon of appreciation for what we all love: skiing. 


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