Hitting the Slopes in Style: A look at ski and snowboard clothing culture

By Mackenzie Cutruzzula

Photo by Ryan Alphonso
Photo by Ryan Alphonso

Jake Burton, the founder of Burton, describes the culture of the slopes as, “For me, snowboarding is many things. It’s a fountain of youth, a movement that grew bigger than I ever expected, and a link to people and places that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Snowboarding has gone through waves, but the one thing I keep coming back to is that what is best for snowboarding is best for our brand”… “We owe it to snowboarding.”

What most of us think of as common skiing and snowboarding culture: bright boards, eccentric colored clothing, and names like Quicksilver, Billabong and Burton are a direct result of the 1980s. Quicksilver is credited as the first surf company to adapt the style and feel of the beach to technical outerwear for alpine sports.

After exploring billabong.com it was impossible not to notice the trends of bright pastel colors such as turquoise and peach and neon shades of green and orange. Artsy mismatched designs and collages of colors were present from head to toe, from hats to pants.

Sophomore computer science major, Alexander Ball agrees.

“Bright colors are a must have,” siad Ball. “They are a way for people to distinguish themselves on the mountain and even create a new identity for themselves.”

He also pointed out that above all warmth was more of necessity than looking trendy.

Going against the common clichés of the “Jibs”, the group of snowboarders who hang around the rails and exemplify an outsider’s thoughts of snowboarding fashion, Reece Epley doesn’t like to dress flashy. The freshmen letters and sciences major prefers his red jacket and black pants for their breathable quality over the bright hues other riders are wearing.

Not that other snowboarders are judging him for this choice, he described the culture of these alpine sports as, “Its really laid back and chill. I would compare it to skateboarding culture, everyone is really relaxed.”

Sophomore psychology major, Carolyne Obery stressed that there were many different groups on the mountain each with a unique fashion.

Racers commonly wear their ski suits even in their free time and an upcoming group of young people who aren’t following the older trends. Although a skier herself, she finds the cultures of the two sports are more similar than different.

For Obery, it is all about price: “If it’s affordable, practical, and looks good together, I don’t care about the colors or brand.”

This is a new mantra many young “slopers” are taking on. It’s all about finding a style that works for your goals and your budget.


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