There are certain basic rules for bluffers to observe with ski clothing, according to The Bluffer’s Guide To Skiing. Never wear any of the following: a hat with ears, or any sort of headband with your name on the front, especially if it’s Helmut or Adolf; Lycra racing pants (especially if you have a large behind); or salopettes (dungaree-type trousers that prove impossible to remove when you are overtaken by necessity).
In addition, take particular care never to wear white ski clothing (not easy to see on the slopes), however much you may be tempted to pass yourself off as a member of der Alpenkorps. The advantages of professed membership of this august and glamorous body (which got soundly whacked by The Heroes of Telemark) are significantly outweighed by the tendency of everybody else on the mountain to ski into you at speed.
6 types of skiers to avoid on the slopes…
- Mountain legend: He skis in powder so deep he needs a periscope to see where he’s going.
- Hot rod: Rarely skis because he can’t afford to spend that long away from a mirror.
- Snow kitten: Hangs around hot rods looking thin and pained.
- Pigs-on-planks: Notoriously violent.
- Instructors: Males: over-sexed, utterly ruthless. Females: Among the most dangerous women in the world to molest.
- First-timer: Made conspicuous by their verbal diarrhoea.
IS SKI CLOTHING REALLY THAT IMPORTANT?
What you wear when you are skiing or, more crucially, when you are not skiing but hanging around trying to look as if you are about to start skiing, is an intrinsic part of successful bluffing.
Ski clothing and accessories such as zips, buckles, epaulettes, superfluous pockets, pockets on pockets, braid, fur and loud insignia combine to deliver a compelling and unmistakable message. They have the same effect as a neon sign flashing the words: ‘This person cannot ski.’
SO SHOULD I BUY FASHIONABLE SKI CLOTHING?
The wise are not seduced by fashion mores and know the value of eschewing glitz and wearing old, suitably battered ski clothing. Onlookers will leap immediately to the conclusion that you have been skiing for years. A useful role model for bluffers is the character played by Kirk Douglas in The Heroes of Telemark, who sported a terrific blue anorak and a leather belt with grenades hanging off it. The grenades are not de rigueur unless you find yourself skiing in the Hindu Kush.
HOW ABOUT VINTAGE?
Those fortunate enough to have ancient skiing relatives could profit from searching attics and old trunks for ski clothing. Nothing cuts a finer dash on the slopes than the original Golden Age of Skiing look, popular in the 1920s – best exemplified by Oliver Reed’s character in the film Women in Love.
If all else fails, there is a ready-made and little-known market for authentic-looking, secondhand ski clothing and – this is the clever part – you get to look like even more of an expert when you wear it. Many local instructors and guides are required to change their ski apparel every season and therefore have trunkloads of the stuff lying around at home. Utterly baffled as to why anybody should be interested in their old ski clothing, they are easily persuaded to part with their soiled Gore-Tex for bargain prices. Often they omit to take off their official badges, which means that you can masquerade as an expert as long as you don’t go anywhere near their resort again. Or any slope anywhere.