June 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm 3 comments

Skier in the SixtiesSkiing in the sixties was awful. I realized this the moment I first learned to ski in 1979 on a pair of plastic skis. There were no metal edges, and my boots looked a lot like hiking shoes. I remember noticing how the skis were the same shade of red as many of my toys. My 6 year old brain sensed danger that apparently no one over 18 could. I watched them jerk and chatter across the snow and tried to imagine them being attached to someone else.

Unfortunately, not one person from my generation had any influence in the ski industry in 1979. You’ve seen the skis we’ve designed. They obey a skier’s every whim like cybernetic appendages. This is not even a big deal to us. Now consider that those who thought plastic skis were a great idea spent their best years (ie. 60-69) skiing on carved pieces of wood that are now hung over fireplaces, as if debilitating people is something to be celebrated.

As I grew older I began to ski on my dad’s old ski gear, Markers from 1975. So I’ve never actually skied on skis from the sixties, and I thank god every day because there’s no way I’d still be here. Skiing on anything worse than my dads skis would be like battling clinical depression with Doritos and motorcycle magazines. Those Markers had 5 post-sixties years of R&D behind them and they were worthless pieces of shit. The bindings would either eject every 5 seconds or clamp onto your boot like a dinosaur. Even in the seventies and eighties, skiing was considered to be really, really dangerous. The idea that bindings might release during a crash was a very recent development. It was a given that, if you skied, you were going to break some part of your body during the season. It was like your lift ticket, it was just part of the process. If anyone offered up well wishes it was just that the part you would break would be of minimal importance.

So we can only imagine what a day on the hill in the sixties was like, but I can guarantee it included one or all of the following –

1. Ski splinters.

2. Outfits made of skins, furs, rubber.

3. A cabin-lodge where they served flatbread and hard boiled eggs.

4. A steady cacophony of screams as people ripped their knees apart trying to go over 10 mph.

5. Massive untouched powder fields that would sit idle and eventually harden into frozen monuments to wasted potential as no one on their snow planks could actually make a turn to enter one.

6. One double chair that took you up 300 vertical feet up in 20 minutes while you listened to some guy with PTSD ramble about Normandy.

7. 200 rope tows

But wait a minute – take one part psychedelic revolution, one part skiing, combine them and – skiing stoned! Which just about everyone from my generation knows is basically the most fun you can possibly have ever in the world. The problem is, back in the sixties, you either 1. skied OR 2. were stoned. You were older and had money to ski and and missed the whole freedom thing and didn’t smoke weed, OR you were 19 and stoned out of your brain and completely broke and thought that skiing was just a way for the rich to escape poor people (they really thought this.) So its hard to emphasize enough how much people in the sixties were not skiing stoned.

I mean, lets imagine that by some magic strike of lightning you were to get a stoned hippie on some skis – they wouldn’t be able to ski, cause they were a hippie. But lets just say that by some divine decree and another magical stroke of magic all the planets aligned and you got a stoned hippie who could actually ski onto the hill on a powder day – they would break their head in 10 seconds. They would be skiing on tree limbs while stoned out of their minds. That’s like saying fighting bears with rocks goes better when you’re drunk.


Entry filed under: Leisure Activities.


3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. shifter  |  June 25, 2009 at 6:29 am

    think about how sexy those fur coats and hot tubs were.
    forget cybernetic performance and think a ski vacation in the age of aquarius.

    what more could anyone desire?

    bear skin rug, a jug of wine, 10,000 ft, and you…

    • 2. fuckthesixties  |  June 25, 2009 at 6:45 am

      shit greg you almost had me

  • 3. smokey  |  January 11, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Leather boots, bear trap bindings, 7-foot long wooden skis, bamboo poles w/ huge baskets, blue jeans over long johns,
    corduroy sportcoat over pullover sweater, rabbit-lined leather driving gloves, wool scarf and cap, snap-on ear muffs, wineskin on one shoulder, Marlboros, zippo lighter,, apple and granola: …dressed for heaven on the slopes in ’65. Two years later, I added a stash and a pipe and have been skiing stoned ever since. No injuries, no problems, no regrets. Just much better equipment now. I rarely fall. Never run into anyone else. Always have a good time.


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