Why is Skiing in Jeans Such a Big Deal?

Breya Bergom | | Industry NewsIndustry News
jeans ski
PC: Jerry of the Day via Facebook

Skiing in jeans is a controversial issue in the ski community. No one would think that a random tourist wearing a slab of denim for ski wear could come with so many presumptions from random bystanders, yet here we are.

Among skiers and boarders on the mountains, the most commonly known negative connotation of a skier is known as a “Jerry”. As stated by FREESKIER, the best way to describe a Jerry is “an individual who exhibits a true lack of understanding for their sport, or for life in general.” Jerry’s are typically the ones you see on the mountain who are booming down the runs, heading to hit the next person they see. Not only are Jerry’s identified through their obliviousness towards other people on the mountain, but are also stereotyped through clothing and equipment. A generic example of a Jerry based on appearance alone would be someone with their goggles upside down, jacket flapping in the wind, buckles on their boots clicking as they take a blistering turn, and even sometimes, wearing jeans. So why are jeans associated with the least desired type of person on the mountain?

Well for starters, it is assumed that anyone wearing jeans is ill-informed about the conditions of skiing culture. After all, chances are that temperatures will be close to or colder than freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) in peak ski season. With the insulation snow pants provide against the cold weather, why would anyone in their right mind wear jeans? With open bottom jeans, moisture and snow can easily reach your body. Not only that, but if you fall once, you are soaked for the rest of the day.

Although jeans are a cold option, these skiers have the right idea to prevent that problem. PC: Jerry of the Day via Facebook

Jerry’s also are not accustomed to skiing culture, as they may not be able to get on and off lifts easily, bomb down runs without the ability to stop, or simply don’t know what equipment to wear or bring. Jerry’s also typically don’t ski too often, leading to their underdevelopment of the customs of the sport. Because they don’t ski often, they may simply not feel obligated to buy $100 snow pants and would rather save a buck and bust out their bell-bottoms from the ’90s.

A realistic sighting of a couple of “Jerrys”. PC: Jerry of the Day via Facebook

Not only are jeans exposing the skiers to the cold and moisture the day brings, but jeans are totally impractical for working out in general! It’s rare to see someone at the gym running on a treadmill in baggy Levi’s, so why is it any different for skiing? Skiing is a rigorous sport that leaves you burning 300-600 calories per hour according to Crystal Ski Holidays, and some people are doing it in jeans! Even if it’s impractical, it is impressive how well of a workout skiers are completing in the cardboard feeling, stiff, freezing bottoms that are jeans.

Although skiing in jeans isn’t the most practical, it just makes it all the more ironic when it happens. In February of 2020, skiers at Colorado’s Arapaho Basin attempted to set a new world record: most skiers wearing jeans skiing one run together. That day, 80 skiers came in their denim bottoms and shredded a run together reports Powder. Because of the stigma surrounding skiing in jeans, an event like this was able to take place. It’s unlikely there will ever be an event like this for sweatpants or leggings, as it isn’t as unusual of a choice when skiing.

Skiing in jeans may not be the most comfortable, warm, or pretentious looking thing out there, but it’s a fact that anyone that attempts it is dominating skiing! After all, shredding a days worth of snow in denim is something not everyone can say they’ve done.

jean skiing
Business on the top, party on the bottom! PC: Jerry of the Day via Facebook

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4 thoughts on “Why is Skiing in Jeans Such a Big Deal?

  1. I got news for you… I am a 30-year ski instructor in the intermountain west. Locals will wear whatever they want and do and we all laugh at the JOJ’s (Just Of The Jet) wearing their $300-dollar North Face and $200 dollar Rossignol underwear. What matters is how well you ski. I have seen local people in jeans destroy people in their trendy thousand dollar ski clothes and gear. What matters is ability.. Anyone else thinks different is just a cartoon,

  2. When I was a kid many of us skied in jeans intermittently because we were growing and it was expensive/impractical to have a bunch of kids in ski pants every season. Gaiters and water repellent spray were upgrades. But the REAL upgrade was the inverted garbage bag w/ arm/ head holes, for rain/water protection. One of us went on to build the highest ski lift/area in the US, that shall remain nameless, so don’t laugh! After reading this, I will ski in jeans again, and maybe even do a touring day in jeans. And the garbage bag is always in my touring pack anyway.

    Can you get a denim garbage bag?


  3. In the sixties and seventies almost everyone skied in jeans. Leg gaiters were created to stop worst part of jeans and skiing: wet and frozen jeans below the knee. Many fond and not so fond memories.

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