Ski Town Superstitions
From offerings to the snow gods to quirky rituals and funky habits to avoid a jinx. This article seeks to examine the amusing paradigm of superstitions held by skiers, snowboarders and mountain going folks.
Do you have an amusing ski superstition that’s not listed here? Drop a comment on Facebook, or shoot me a message in the contact page. I’d love to add to the list. Happy scrolling ~Z. Phelan~
Good luck charms
Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, most of us are a little bit superstitious in one way or another. From long held habits of doing things a certain way, all the way down the spectrum to clinical Obsessive Compulsive tendencies.
Most of it leads back to us wanting things to go our way and for our lives to be graced with good luck and good fortunes. And like any good niche, the mountain community has its own set of lore and legends, so let’s dive in…
The bra & Bead Tree
Thought to have been started decades ago in Aspen, Colorado as a sign of conquest by the local would-be ski town studs, the “Bra & Bead Tree” also known as the “Mardi-Gras Tree” has evolved over the years to become a symbol of celebration and sacrifice.
While most frequently adorned in February with bras and beads to celebrate the debauchery of the Mardi-Gras holiday, these ski trees can accept offerings or gifts of thanks all season long. Gifts thrown to this Bra & Bead Tree from a nearby chairlift have also been known to include: Ski gloves, snowboard boots and occasionally even goggles or ski boots.
Besides being a cheeky sign of freedom of expression and celebrating being on the slopes, these sacrificial offerings are usually directed to the mythological Norse God named Ullr, who is known to be associated with Winter and can bring about bountiful snowfall if appeased by humble skiers and riders.
While several of the corporate owned ski resorts have shied away from allowing this practice in recent times and have even been known to cut the trees down or strip them bare in some instances, it is still a very widely held tradition across North America, and is a sure sign that you’re at a good ski area that believes in it’s Winter superstitions and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Wash your car
This one resides firmly in the reverse psychology category as it is thought that Mother Nature will only ever precipitate out of spite, to ruin your nice freshly clean car. So if you’re wanting a little more snowfall to head your way, go put a nice spit shine on your wheels, and the storms are sure to be not far behind.
Tap your ski poles
Kind of a simple one, and more of self reassurance that you’re ready for the ski run that you’re about to undertake. Like a boxer tapping their gloves together pre-round, tapping your poles together is a sign of good luck and blessing that you’ll have a good and safe run. Once the habit is started, it’s a hard one to break.
One boot first
While not unique to skiing or snowboarding, this tradition is one that many folks adhere to without even thinking about it. One particular boot first, every time. Whether it’s the right or the left, putting the same one on first is a modest superstition to ensure your day will go by as planned, because you’re sticking to the same routine as every safe day you’ve had before on the slopes.
Jinxes to avoid
These are things “not to do” or things that if you forget not to do, could result in a sub-par day on the slopes… according to superstition.
-Never call “Last RUn”
It’s commonly accepted around the slopes that when you’re skiing or riding with a group of friends, it is not particularly prudent to call out your “last run” of the day. To so proclaim this out loud is considered a jinx and could result in injury or other bad luck…. according to legend. I think it’s got a little bit of a psychological factor to it as well, because who doesn’t want to go extra hard on their last run.
-Never say the “R word”
There is one word that all skiers and snowboarders universally hate during the Winter season, the “R word,” Rain! To utter this word while on the slopes and in the presence of snow is blasphemous and considered very unlucky. When you’re on the mountain, file this word away with other tongue biting swear words that you wouldn’t saying without risk of offending someone. Because in this case, it’s Mother Nature that you don’t want to offend!
-Stay quiet (Silent Rock)
As a native Oregonian, I was raised with the practice of honoring a brief moment of silence while traveling to Mount Hood and passing through a sacred highway zone known as “Silent Rock.” Silent Rock is a partially destroyed rocky earth formation on US Hwy 26 between the towns of Rhododendron and Government Camp. The legend is, you must stay completely quiet (including no music playing or other sounds) while driving through the rock formation which remnants line both sides of the highway, or risk certain injury or misfortunes once you reach the mountain.
Silent Rock is so famous, it even has it’s own dedicated website, Facebook Page, and is a designated landmark on Google Maps!
Thanks for reading:
Ski Town Superstitions
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