Naked and afraid? Yes and no.
A little #FreeTheNipFriday note from our CEO Jen Gurecki...
On March 15th, I was one of 200 women who took all of their clothing off at a top of a mountain and skied down naked at the Boot Tan Fest organized by Wild Barn Coffee. It was likely a world record, it was certainly the start of a new tradition, and it was an experience that invoked a number of complex feelings.
Back in the day (I'm talking about the late 1990s), when I worked at Arizona Snowbowl, we skied naked the last day of every season. We'd take the chair lift up to the top patrol shack, shed our clothing and stuff it in ski patrol sleds, ride down with an unmatched feeling of freedom and joy, and meet patrol at the bottom of the mountain behind a huge pine tree to find our clothing, dress, and revel in the experience at the main lodge.
Those days of sanctioned naked skiing are obviously long gone. And while I have treasured those chilly laps, I was reticent to do it again at the age of 44 for myriad reasons: gravity, the eyes (and perceived judgment) of a hundred plus 20 and 30-somethings, social media, internalized misogyny.
I shared my concerns with Jenny Verrochi, the co-founder and CEO of Wild Barn, in her pop-up camper in the muddy parking lot of Bluebird Backcountry Resort the night before, and she assured me that I would just be one set of bare buns in a sea of bushes. And while everything I believe in and work toward should have put my fears at bay, the reality is that I'm just as impacted by society's relentless and unattainable standards for women's beauty as the next person. It's not lost on me that I'm thin and white and for the most part, meet those standards. I also acknowledge that being naked on stolen land is safe for me as a white woman. And yet...
When I started that skin climb up, I still didn't know if I'd actually ski down naked. I needed to see how I felt at the top. Once up there, watching everyone shed their layers, laugh, and carry on like there was nothing to see, I realized that my issues were 100% in my head.
So I did it. And while my confidence levels were still wildly low and I only managed to make three turns because I was terrified of falling, when we finished the lap I was proud that I pushed past my feelings of discomfort to be a part of something so special.
On the drive back to Denver with my dear friend Andrea Slusarski (aka Drawing From Nature), we chatted about how wild it was that we could feel objectified fully clothed at the grocery store, but not naked on top of a mountain surrounded by hundreds of other naked women. And that speaks volumes about the world we live in.
I'll be back at Boot Tan Fest next year, and I hope that you'll join me. It was the type of event that fills your cup, gets you thinking, and reminds you that there are things in this world worth celebrating and nurturing.