It's been more than 30 years since Danny O'Callahan told Rudy Garmisch to kiss his ass, "not on this side, not on that side, but right in zee middle," in "Hot Dog, The Movie." In the decades since, skiing has trended more toward the tight-jawed, regimented Garmisch and away from the fun-loving toboggan-full-of-beers that is O'Callahan. Luckily, there have always been a few people in the ski world who remember that skiing is best when mixed with laughter.
Like "Hot Dog," a disproportionate number of them seem to call Squaw Valley, California, home. Perhaps the slogan should be, "Skiing has a sense of humor. This is where it lives."
1. Anything and everything Saucer Boy
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Saucer Boy was the star of a series of skits by MSP Films. We could debate which is funnier, but they are better appreciated by looking at the entire body of work (check the video above). The character—created by legendary pro skier Shane McConkey, whom we lost in March 2009—eventually became a cult phenomenon, and Saucer Boy costumes are still seen at ski-town parties every year.
It started in 1997, in the early days of the Valdez, Alaska, heli-skiing boom. McConkey was filming for MSP's "Sick Sense" when he tore his ACL. Faced with copious amounts of downtime and the need to get a segment in the film, McConkey created Saucer Boy, a cartoonish caricature that poked fun at professional skiers and snowboarders. Not least among the targets was McConkey himself. Saucer Boy, armed with his plastic saucer and a bottle of whiskey, roamed the helicopter staging area hitting on girls, notching first ascents and descents of snow piles, and looking to plug his sponsors every chance he got.
Saucer Boy returned for several other MSP movies, parodying "Castaway" and picking up snowblades and a climbing rack full of kitchen utensils along the way. Six years after McConkey's death, Saucer Boy remains the greatest satire of the sponsored pro-extreme-free-anything to date.
2. Cody Townsend's 2010 Powder Poll video
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Cody Townsend is another Squaw Valley skier who can take the serious moments very seriously, but who isn't afraid to laugh at himself and his contemporaries. In 2010, Powder asked athletes to make campaign videos for the annual Reader Poll. Townsend took the opportunity go "Jersey Shore," and in the process throw some friendly jabs at a few friends. Townsend has yet to win the Powder Poll, but he cleaned up at the 2015 Powder Awards, taking Best Male, Line of the Year, and Full Throttle. "Mark Abma? What's that?"
3. Bode Miller goes rogue
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World Cup racing is as serious as skiing gets. In Europe, racers are treated the way we treat NFL players here. As such, goofing off is frowned upon. Fortunately for us, and much to the chagrin of U.S. Ski Team coaches, Bode Miller never bought into the philosophy that skiing should be all business, all the time.
In 2007 Miller famously split from the U.S. Ski Team. In a video to help promote a social-media platform he was launching, Miller celebrated that breakup with one of the funniest ski edits ever made. "When you think vaginal itch, you're thinking Bode Miller anyway."
4. "There's Something About McConkey: First Chair"
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If Shane McConkey didn't like to ski so much, he probably would have ended up on the cast of "Saturday Night Live." In this Scott Gaffney–produced biopic from 2001, McConkey is at his clownish best. From the intro spoofing "There's Something About Mary" to rapping through Tahoe City from the roof of an old Subaru, there are several clips from this film that could be on this list. Gaffney and McConkey decided to make a spoof commercial for each of the movie’s sponsors, which play throughout the film. Rising to the top is the Monty Pythonesque Volant Machete ad, which features McConkey getting first chair by going postal on an array of Squaw stalwarts (including renowned ski mountaineer Kip Garre, whom we lost to an avalanche in 2011).
5. Japanese music video for Girl Next Door's "Winter Game"
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This isn't a humor clip so much as it is lost-in-translation funny. If this were a Katy Perry video, skiers everywhere would be cringing. But, probably because we can't understand the words and the video never got mass play Stateside, the tight shots of lead singer Chisa skiing and soaring through the air, juxtaposed against Suz Graham shredding Alaska and ski BASE-jumping, make it chuckle-worthy instead. “Smile! Skiing!! It’s Fun!!!”
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