The air is crisp and the fallen foliage is being mulched into pumpkin spice dust. Flannels have found their way out from the depths of your closet and moccasins have replaced flip flops. That's right, it's fall, or as I like to call it, “Almost Ski Season.”

The author is very excited about ski season. Photo: Courtesy of Paddy O’Connell

Soon enough we’ll be schlooshing down the slopes, enjoying the greatest time of year, winter. But, I find myself enjoying the anticipation of ski season almost as much as I enjoy actually skiing. The goofiness and awesomeness of ski culture is nearly as fun as undulating like a wintertime porpoise through a sea of powder.

And that’s why I’d like you to join me in celebrating the wonderful non-skiing parts of skiing.

Tight Fitting Retro Ski Gear

Because Gaper Day is always a great day. Photo: Courtesy of kcxd/Flickr

Neon onesies that are three sizes too small for the skier inside of them are gifts from Ullr himself. One, they’re hilarious. Two, they show off skier butt really well. Three, it is impossible to take yourself seriously while wearing tight fitting retro gear, which is the essence of ski culture (do rad stuff knowing full well that you are not rad).

You show me a hyper-colored dayglow onesie and I’ll show you a good time.

Skier Butt

Yep… it made the list. Photo: Courtesy of Paddy O’Connell

It’s great to have one. It’s better to look at one. In lift lines across America, on the frosty slopes of ski resorts from sea to shining sea, on the backcountry skin track, and gliding through secret pow stashes are herds of bulbous, beautifully rotund back porches that’ll make a honey glazed Christmas ham look like a hammered skirt steak.

Remember, skiing in the back of the pack has its benefits … The view is phenomenal.

The Goggle Tan

Everybody loves a good goggle tan. Photo: Courtesy of Fezbot2000/Unsplash

Wintertime raccoon eyes are the truest and clearest stamp of a diehard skier. It is also the lower back tattoo of the ski world.

Sure, it’s a little embarrassing and your mom definitely doesn’t get it, and your grandma is disappointed in you for having it. But it always reminds you of a good time. If you see one from across the room, you kind of just know you’ll get along with that person.

Underwear Trees

Trees equal life. Underoos equal hilarity. Put those two things together, pals, and well, you’ve got yourself a happy, laughter-filled life.

If, while riding a chairlift, you fly past a tree adorned with skidded XXL tighty whities, 57 pairs of your grandmother’s brassieres, and a peppering of risqué unmentionables, and you don’t immediately smile and laugh and point and laugh some more … well, I just don’t think I can help you then.

50-Cent Wings and Half Price Nachos

They warm the soul. Photo: Courtesy of Herson Rodriguez/Unsplash

Dear Après Ski Scene: It’s me, Paddy. Long time, no see. After skiing, I am always a hungry, hungry hippo and you always deliver discounted nosh. That’s nice of you because these mega resorts charge $40 for chicken tenders, and free oyster crackers and ketchup packets are a thing of ski bum past. Please keep the deals a-comin’. Love you, mean it.

Hot Cocoa

Delightful. Photo: Courtesy of RawPixel/Unsplash

On a cold ski day, cocoa is the greatest drink ever. Think about it: It’s the blood of candy bars topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. It’s like drinking a hug. It’s the liquid version of that afghan your grandma knit.

The only thing that could make hot cocoa better would be a $100 bill and a classy open mouth kiss at the bottom of the cup.

Ski Boot Stank

That beautiful stank. Photo: Courtesy of Paddy O’Connell

C’mon, you know you love the smell. It’s just so bad that it’s so good. After a full day on the hill, the vapor from my ski boot liners could melt glass. And after a full ski season, my boots smell like a bag of yard waste, a sprinkling of chili cheese Fritos, and one small (but bold) cat fart. But that doesn’t stop me from sticking my nose in there and taking a big whiff.

Talking About Skiing

Getting pumped is half the fun. Photo: Courtesy of Paddy O’Connell

It’s said that meteorologists and fishers are the biggest liars in the world. Well, I think skiers are the biggest storytellers. Chairlifts, the après scene, campfires, bars, lunch counters, bathrooms, anywhere and anytime of year, skiers are spinning yarns about ski adventures.

Stories typically start with things like, “Remember that day when … ” or “Once, it snowed 17 feet overnight and then …” or even, “So I’m wearing nothing but my ski boots and …”

Because truly, the only thing better than actually skiing is talking about skiing.

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