Shane McConkey’s legendary naked run through a Vail mogul comp in the ‘90s, the joyful group shred scene in Sweetgrass Productions’ film Valhalla, pretty much any game of GNAR. Naked skiing is a part of skiing’s weird, fun underbelly. There’s even a ski area in Austria that not only allows but encourages skiing nude.
In that spirit, on March 20, 22 women hiked up to the top of Bluebird Backcountry’s West Bowl, stripped down, and got down. The organizers think it was the largest documented all-female nude ski ever. And regardless of numbers or gender—we’re not going for the bare butt Olympics here—they know it was the best day of the season.
It was spearheaded by Jenny Verrochi, one of the founders of Boulder-based Wild Barn Coffee. whose logo happens to be a bare-assed lady skiing. Verrochi says they took some inspiration for the ski from the graphic, but really it was a whim.
“We’re really trying to bring fun into the outdoor world,” she says. “Naked skiing is part of the culture, but usually it’s a lot of men BN. I think it’s because women feel objectified so we wanted to create a fun safe space. Everyone should be able to do it.”
She says it can often feel hard or lonely to be a female in the outdoor industry because men are so dominant (“You want to be a tech but they put you in sales,” she says), and that even when it comes to a nude ski, when men the energy changes, so she wanted to open up room for a different dynamic.
So, how do you create a space to bring that in, while, not turning it into a free-for-all for creeps or a gate-kept event that engenders the exact exclusivity they didn’t want. How do you spread the word, but do it tactfully?
Turns out, word of mouth still works. Mid-week she mentioned it to some of the women who worked at Bluebird Backcountry and they were excited about it, too. It was on. Texts went around, friends told friends. On Saturday, they wrote a note on the Bluebird chalkboard. “Secret girls event at 3 p.m. see you there.”
She says she was shocked when people started showing up, and then a crowd formed. “There was no question, everyone who found out about it wanted in,” she says.
She skinned up with women she’d never met before and by the end of the uphill everyone was chatting and the energy was palpable.
She says everyone seemed a little nervous on the top. Someone had to, um, rip skins, first, but once they did, it was a full-on celebration.
“I am happy to represent for women in their 50s,” says Jennifer Phillips, who participated. “Young and wild at heart has zero to do with numbers of years in your body, but I do understand that many women in my age bracket can be intimidated by revealing their bodies. It would be awesome to see more “older” women out there next year”
So what happens next year? So how do you top (topless?) that? Verrochi says they’re already thinking about how they can take the spirit of the BN and make it bigger and more inclusive. Maybe a fundraiser for getting girls out into the backcountry, or teaching them avalanche skills, at least, a way to get more women on the hill together. “Mountains kind of strip away the norms of society,” she says.