Movies That Have Hurt the Ski Bum Image
Living in a resort town, you see a lot of people who visit with certain expectations of the so-called “ski-bum” lifestyle. Whether it is by the brand new wardrobe, the state of their credit limit, or a vernacular that implies good intentions, yet might as well be a tatoo on your head that says “tourist”. This is of no fault to anyone personally, but what I believe is the accumulation of an entire generation’s worth of pop-culture not getting the picture of what really means to be a ski bum.
Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s was great. Although somea’ you youngin’s might not remember that we didn’t always have the internet. Back then, pop culture was often the only connection to the outside world. As a kid we were looking for what was cool, and the providers of cool came on a VHS. Of course there are the legendary ski movies of Greg Stump and the early TB series were as influential in ski/snowboard culture as anything else over the past 20 years.
Yet the ski/snowboard video industry was nothing compared to the power and influence of Hollywood, which would flex their financial muscles, and bringing the circus to the mountain. The movies that resulted might have made for some good entertainment, but it had nothing to do with reality for a ski town… or at least a reality that someone living the dream may find.
The following are a few examples of how pop culture just plain got it wrong when it comes to mountain culture. But hey, at least we can laugh about it now.
Aspen Extreme – Two guys from Detroit pack up their van and head west to Aspen in search of women, powder, and a better life. But not everything is what it seems. Sex, lies, and hot wax invade this small town to show that Aspen is more than a ski town. It’s “Extreme”.
In reality, there is nothing extreme about this movie. It’s a very watered-down version of the real goings-on in a ski town, including organized crime, prostitution, and large amounts of illicit drugs. The skiing is far from extreme, and they make the ski instructors the coolest kids on the block when they are usually the butt of everyone’s jokes. Not to mention this movie was on the cutting edge of the bastardization of the word “extreme”, which led to the gross overmarketing of the word to be placed in everything from deodorant to Jell-O. That word lost it’s soul, man.
Ski School – Hot girls, lots of sex and partying, and amazing clients. That would be awesome but the reality is that ski school is mostly crying children, stale hot dogs, and STD’s. All the hot girls in ski resorts bypass ski school for waitressing anyway.
Ski Patrol – The zany antics of a ragtag late-30’s-early-40’s ski patrol crowd are threatened when a greedy developer tries to take over the resort. The antics aren’t what I have an issue with, it’s the fact that a greedy developer playing the villain actually gets defeated. In the reality of this day and age, all ski resorts are owned by greedy developers. So this did nothing to the ski bum stereotype except give many false hope that we can actually kick the greed out of the ski town. Perhaps I’m just overcynical.
What ski/snowboard movies have you seen that give us ski/snowboard bums a bad rap? Let us know below!