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When Bob Lange developed the plastic ski boot in 1962 he knew he was onto something good, because the boots skied better, easily exceeding the performance of then state-of-the-art leather ski boots. Due to their increased control, performance, and fit, Lange started a revolution in ski boot design, with other manufacturers quickly introducing their own plastic overlap shells in an attempt to harness the new technology. In 1970, the first Lange Girl poster appeared with the moniker “Soft Inside.” The poster would be the beginning of a seemingly endless line of sexy women wearing pretty much nothing but Lange ski boots.
Oh, I’ll keep my tips waaay up.
Photo courtesy: Lange/Dynastar
If you want a slice of Lange history and must have a classic Lange Girl poster for your den, you’ll have to look hard. Many of them are unavailable, and the ones that are can cost upwards of $300. Lange’s fractious history and relocation to Montebelluna, Italy, from the company’s early headquarters in Colorado resulted in the loss of the brand’s archives, which included many classic Lange Girl posters. Happily for us, though, a few do remain. Vintage Ski World (vintageskiworld.com) still has some to sell you.
Lange boots work. In fact, they work so well that they’re the overwhelming choice of World Cup ski racers. The brand has more victories and athletes on the circuit than any other boot manufacturer. Still, what’s function without fashion? And what’s fashion without sex appeal? Always the innovator, Bob Lange understood this, and thus the Lange Girl was born. “The Lange Girls were always beautiful, and some of them could ski, although they did so barely clothed,” says Richard Allen of Vintage Ski World, an Aspen-based shop that is one of the only places in the world that you can find old Lange Girl posters. (Allen sells the posters along with a wide variety of other historic and collectible ski memorabilia). “In the early days, the Lange Girls were on the slopes skiing,” he says. “The later Lange Girls were models, and most of them did not ski.”
Using sex appeal to sell products isn’t new. And it wasn’t a revolutionary idea in 1962, either. But Lange was the first ski boot manufacturer to truly tap into the bourgeoning sexual revolution of the 60s and his posters found an enthusiastic reception in the freewheeling, hard partying ski culture of that era. Like his technical innovation with plastic boots, the Lange Girl concept would be copied over the years by the competition: Most recently, Nordica introduced its own harem of “Nordica Girls.” And the defunct Hanson boot company used to rely on sexy models to help sell its brand. Even ski companies have jumped into the fray. The North American distributor of Stockli skis ran a bizarre ad for several years featuring a strange reliance on a blonde model posing with the company’s product, an ad that had nothing to do with skiing. A marketing and creative disaster, it’s probably one reason that the company’s skis remain virtually unknown here.
From the slopes to the gym, working out can be hot.
Some like it hot. Really hot.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
In 1992 Pamela Anderson posed as a Lange Girl. Pamela Anderson toughing out a Jackson Hole blizzard while ripping up the Hobacks? Not likely. While Anderson has moved on to bigger and better things, Lange still produces an annual Lange Girl poster and distributes them directly to ski shops across the country. If you want one, all you have to do is get a job in a shop that supports the brand.
Lange, who based his manufacturing facility outside of Boulder, Colorado, during the brand’s early years, was on to something. Not only did his boots work better than anything else on the market, the design that Bob Lange developed remains the foundation for the modern ski boot. The next time you are in Vail, Colorado, take a moment to stop into the Colorado Ski Museum located in the main parking structure and look at some old Lange boots. The overlap design isn’t really that much different than what the company, now based in Italy, has on tap this year.
“These boots feel so good!”
Yup, Pam skis too…sorta.
This is when a down skirt would come in really handy.
Skin to win. Her profile reads: “I like to curl up with a blanket, a good book and my Langes after a day of ripping up the mountain.”
Photo courtesy: Lange/Dynastar
Pre-Redskins NFL controversy.
At least fur keeps her warm.
Aprés can be just as much fun as skiing.
Naturally warm indeed.
Perhaps one of the more popular posters of recent time.
They just look fast.
It’s all about the globe.
She’s as good on snow as she is in front of the camera.
A frozen princess in boots.
Local Lange girl Amanda Jean won hearts and eyes in 2008-09.
German racer Maria Hoefl-Riesch is great in many ways.
A new speed suite for Italian racer Manuela Moelgg.
Dominique Gisin’s jeans are as tight as her World Cup speed suit.
Roller derby? Powderpuff football cheerleader? Skier? Maybe all of the above.
Super Girl indeed. Italian Federica Brignone comes from a skiing family, and those genes rubbed off on her.
Lara Gut, from Switzerland, unwinds like this after every race…we imagine.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Tina Maze, from Slovenia, can be considered heavenly.