He’s a former racer and lifelong skier whose dad was on the U.S. Ski Team. His day job is sales for a tech company in Vermont. He launched a blog as a prank in 2012 by poking fun at a college teammate. Now Colton Hardy has nearly 170,000 Instagram followers who can’t wait to see his photos of gapers in action. What gives?
SKI » Some basics: How did you start skiing?
C.H. » I grew up in Stratton. I ended up learning how to ski before I could remember mainly because of my dad, who skied for the U.S. Ski Team and the U.S. Pro Tour. He had my brothers and me on skis when we were about one. I ended my racing career with the University of Vermont in 2012. My home hill is Stowe, and I enjoy a lot more of the freeskiing part of the sport now.
SKI » What’s your definition of a Jerry?
C.H. » The definition I have on the Instagram account is “An individual who exhibits a true lack of understanding for their sport, or for life in general.” In skiing terms, it’s similar to a Joey or a gaper. I think of it really as doing any type of a boneheaded move—on or off the hill.
SKI » And how did this whole gig start?
C.H. » I was at slalom training with a UVM teammate who had brought two or three pairs of ski boots to test. While we were booting up, he realized that he had forgot his shin guards, so his day of testing was shot. We were all laughing, so I took a picture of him and uploaded it to Facebook and called him “Jerry of the Day.” The next couple of weeks I uploaded a few more photos of “Jerrys” and Ski Racing Magazine reached out to do a write-up, so I turned it into a blog and that is what eventually was transformed into the Instagram account.
SKI » Any twinge of guilt on exposing Jerrys, who, after all, are just trying to rip?
C.H. » There are definitely moments that I have some guilt, but I don’t worry too much. In my mind, we’re all Jerrys in our own way and we all do silly things, so it’s a matter of taking a step back and just laughing.
SKI » What’s the most memorable Jerry you’ve posted?
C.H. » It was a cold sales call gone wrong. I was driving to a municipal office to introduce myself to the town clerk. I had a red pen in my chest pocket that exploded right before I entered the building since it was about minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit that day. The woman wasn’t able to concentrate on what I was saying and then finally said, “Are you OK? Should I call for help?” She thought that the red ink was blood and that I was bleeding out in their office, so I took a selfie and made myself Jerry of the Day.
SKI » Where do get your material?
C.H. » Probably 80 percent are from some sort of a submission and the rest are things that I stumble upon.
SKI » OK, what’s next for Jerry?
C.H. » I’m not really sure. To be safe, I’ve been finalizing things like the trademark, LLC, copyrights on images, etc. I don’t have any set goals as to what I want Jerry to become, but I would love to have some type of career within the ski industry.