With the existence of many nudist ski resorts, and let's face it, a lot of deserted mountain space, more and more people are choosing to bare it all for the rush and ski or snowboard in the nude. As the economy forces people to tighten their purse strings, you might be able to forgive them for wanting to save money by opting out of ski clothes whilst still hitting the slopes - the epitome of travelling light!
But with the very obvious downside of frozen nether regions, and a slight suspicion that those doing it might be a little bit more than simply off piste, what is the appeal?
Nudist skiers attest to a feeling of liberation and fun whilst flying down the slopes in an icy breeze (brrrr), a sentiment obviously shared by hundreds of spectators and skiers who attend nudist ski events and competitions. Possibly the most infamous of these events occurred in the wonderfully named Crested Butte in Colorado, which hosted an annual end of season naked ski procession that was unfortunately disallowed in 1998 when it all became a tad too boisterous.
There are other scantily clad ski events still running such as the Undie 500 Race on Mount Cheeseman in New Zealand, where contestants are positively encouraged to wear the bare minimum - but still hide their modesty - whilst completing a complicated slalom course. With prizes to be won for the first to finish and, slightly ironically, the 'best dressed', the race seems as fun to watch as it is to participate in!
It is now more difficult to find fully nude ski resorts, but should the mood take you there are still a few places in which you can legally do so, one of the best being in Obertraun. Tucked away in the Austrian Alps, Obertraun is run by the German nudist association (the Germans appear to have a particular penchant for nudism!). Whilst there, you can indulge in some liberating cross country skiing on the beautiful Dachsein plateau, and when you're done go for a candle lit skinny dip in the lake. Refreshing!!
Some words of warning if I have inspired you to undertake this chilly version of our favourite winter sport:
Two final alternatives for the less brave:
- You need high factor suncream everywhere. Don't forget that snow is reflective, therefore, the UV rays will bounce upwards leading to some seriously uncomfortable sunburn!
- The sense of humiliation when you fly down the ski slopes on your face, or flip upside down on the ski lift because you forgot to get off (genuinely done by my accident prone brother), will probably be even keener with your frozen pink derrière in the air.
- Additionally if you fall, you take the risk of getting snow burn in some very painful places.
- You must be considerate of those who have to use their chairlift after you, and be weary of the dangers of freezing cold metal on bare skin – ouch!
- It would need a particular dedication to undertake the 'discipline' of skiing au naturel all day long. Consider doing a victory streak at the end of a run instead.
- Scotland (somewhat unsurprisingly) holds the world record for the most people skiing at once - in kilts. I'm assuming it might be a better, if not still breezy, alternative to being fully nude. Of course you still need to be aware of UV glare, and sudden gusts!