OLD SCHOOL STYLE ON THE SLOPES | JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY

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From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

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Circa 1946 — (original caption) Hollywood Stars Ski at Sun Valley.  Active sports are the best things in the world to relax one after a session before the Kleig lights, and these Hollywood stars chose skiing as their sport. Shown on a crest at the famed resort at Sun Valley, Idaho are, left to right: Mrs. Gary Cooper, Jack Hemingway, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable. Used by the Navy during the war, the resort will be opened to the public in the fall of 1946. — Image by © Bettmann

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With the snowfall upon us (and where I live, it will be falling until late April) it gives me a chance to induldge in my obsession with old school style on the slopes.  I want to be clear that I will not include snowboarding in this post– different sport, different style altogether.  I also want to be clear that this obession of mine is very rooted in the years 1967-1977, when I feel ski style was at its height.  I’ll get many an argument from all the Polo alumni that read TSY that the Sun Valley/Gary Cooper 1930s & ’40s look (above) is the ultimate; and while the snowflake sweaters, melton wool jackets, gentsy trousers (with zippered pockets to keep out the snow), and waffle stompers of that era certainly do have their appeal– I am more fixated with vintage Fila, Bogner, Descente, Addidas (very rare), Rossingnol, and Head.  Courreges did some skiwear in the 1960s for women that is highly prized by vintage heads the world over.  I have combed many a vintage store in Europe looking for an old school graphic Fila or Bogner coat in all its pieced, color blocked, and technicolor splendour so I could work it like a skier on the pro tour, circa 1968.  Who wouldn’t want to rock the, “just hit the mountain in Gstaad, heading to Chamonix, and then off to Aspen to wind down the season” look.

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Circa 1968 — Aspen, Colorado: French skier, Jean Claude Killy manages a smile for his fans after placing 3rd in the Roch Cup men’s downhill event here, March 15th. Killy’s legion of fans can be seen reflected in his sunglasses. — Image by © Bettmann

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Without a doubt, my obsession was fueled by Jean Claude Killy, the King of the slopes and one of the most stylish athletes of all time.  A world champion skier without peer– In 1966–67 Killy won every downhill race he entered, earning the first World Cup for men.  Killy also won the triple crown of Alpine skiing– capturing all three golds medals (downhill, slalom, and giant slalom) at the ’68 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France .  He was blessed with movie star looks, and came on to the scene when more obscure sports like sking acually got Saturday afternoon airtime, and the Olympics still tended to be a top two sports draw on TV.  Killy had ridiculous style and even more ridiculous skill.  He was, and is, how I want to look on the slopes– slim silhouettes,  graphic colors boldly streaking by on the turn, and geared towards peak performance.   Killy is one of those athletes I will always associate with the epic ABC Wide World of Sports.  I’m not sure how Jim McKay and Howard Cosell did it, but they mythologized athletes, especially international athletes, on the level of jet-setting movie stars.  I miss those dreamy days of my youth.  I miss how the lifestyles of the athletes of old had real class, and were larger than life.  Mostly, I miss their character, and how incredible they looked in competition– and everyday life.  They inspired me then,  and still do to this day.

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August 1971 — French Skier Jean-Claude Killy in Saint-Tropez — Image by © Apis/Sygma

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Style on the Slopes | A Retrospective

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Circa 1930s– French ski fashions

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Sun Valley, Idaho ski posters– circa 1940 (left), and 1939 (right).

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3/21/1939, Sun Valley, ID: A candidate for the Harriman Cup for women is Hannah Locke of Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. A member of the 1938 women’s team which competed in Europe, she will race in the downhill and slalom contest in Sun Valley this month. Miss Locke is pictured here training for the competition. — Image by © Bettmann

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1/3/1939, Sun Valley, ID: Movie star Norma Shearer enjoying a “spot” of lunch in the company of her sister, Mrs. Howard Hawks, center, wife of the movie director, and Minnie Barnes, right, also a screen luminary. The girls were pictured with ski instructors — Image by © Bettmann

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Circa 1941, Sun Valley, Idaho — Jerome Hill, grandson of railroad pioneer, J. J. Hill, waxing his skis at Sun Valley, Idaho — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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Circa 1941, Sun Valley, Idaho — Mrs. Edward Wigglesworth Jr. (formerly Marian McKean), former Olympic Ski Team member, leaning forward on her skis on Baldy Mountain, in Sun Valley, Idaho. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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Vintage skiers, striking a pose.

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(Above, left) 1/13/1948, Sun Valley, ID: Jane Russell, who is spending some time at Sun Valley learning to ski, pauses with her instructor Toni Matt. — Image by © Bettmann

(Above, right) 3/23/1946, Sun Valley, ID: Clark Gable and Mr. and Mrs. Gary Cooper going up the slopes. — Image by © Bettman

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07/05/1947-Sun Valley, ID– The great winter sport has opened its summer season at Sun Valley, where you see Alf Engen, co-coach of the U.S. Olympic ski team, in process of hurdling a mountain. The ski slopes are now, in mid-summer, covered with 20 feet — Image by © Bettmann

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1950s Sun Valley, Idaho ski bums.  Neckerchiefs, snowflake sweaters, handknit caps– check.

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(Above, left) 10/5/1951, Sun Valley, ID: Before taking off for anther day’s hike on skis, Jack Redding gives his “hickories” a once-over. Sun Valley’s mountains loom in the backgound. — Image by © Bettmann

(Above, right) ca. 1941, Sun Valley, ID: Mrs. William Hale Harkness, Stephen Van Rensselaer, Joseph Thomas, Mrs. E. Earle, and John de Braganca, standing on the ski slopes. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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1950s ski bum hitting the slopes.

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Circa 1950s– Sun Valley, Idaho ski bums in their old snow slopes beater.

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1950s ski bums concocting appendage-warming libations.

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1950s ski bums drinking it up back at the lodge.

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1950s ski bums.

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Feb 1950, Aspen, Colorado — On the other side of the movie camera for a change, screen star Gary Cooper records the FIS world ski championship races at Aspen, Colorado. On the final day of the world ski meet, the film actor was assisted by his wife and daughter, Maria. — Image by © Bettmann

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Alf Engen, co-coach of the U.S. Olympic ski team getting some serious air.

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1950s Sun Valley, Idaho ski bums.

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1950s ski bums passed out in the sun.

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1950s ski bums drinking and soaking up rays in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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Circa 1968– Great shot of Jean-Claude Killy in a classic Anorak.

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Ski bums catching some rays and some rest.

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Feb 1968, Grenoble, France — France’s Jean-Claude Killy and Guy Perillat celebrate their performances in the men’s downhill ski event at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Killy won the gold medal and Perillat finished second, winning the silver. — Image by © Universal/TempSport

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SUN VALLEY, IDAHO: Mother and daughter Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and Caroline enjoy a joke as they vacation at this ski resort here recently. Mrs. Kennedy and her two children are visiting here with the family of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. 01/04/66. — Image by © Bettmann

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10 Jan 1968, Adelboden, Switzerland — Jean-Claude Killy of France in the giant slalom event at Adelboden, Switzerland, 1968. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection

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Jan 1966, Sun Valley, Idaho, USA — John F. Kennedy Jr. holds a fuzzy samoyed puppy as his sister Caroline and his mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, move a dogsled. The family was vacationing here with the family of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. — Image by © Bettmann. (Right) Killy

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John F. Kennedy Jr. nuzzles up to a Samoyed pup from the sled dog concession here, December 30, 1965. John Jr., who is vacationing here with his mother, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, his sister Caroline, and the family of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, gets around the ski slopes by mooching rides from other skiers by sliding on his stomach. – Image by © Bettmann

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(Left) 1966, Idaho — Jackie Kennedy with Family — Image by © John Bryson/Sygma. (Right) Jean-Claude Killy

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Jan 1966, Sun Valley, Idaho — John Kennedy, Jr., son of the late president, frolics in the snow at Bald Mountain in this Idaho resort. John, Jr. is enjoying a winter vacation with his sister Caroline, and mother Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy. — Image by © Bettmann

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(Left) Ca. 1972– Jean-Claude Killy on the set of Snow Job. (Right) Ca. 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics.

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Circa 1970s– Sex symbol Brigitte Bardot on holiday skiing.

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(Above, left) Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Red ski jacket over blue ski overalls, both by Globe of New Hampshire, skis and poles by Hart Ski Company. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

(Above, right) Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Red, green and blue ski jacket with red ski pants, both by Bogner, Olympic Timer by Lafayette Watch, and a Glentex cap. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Yellow overalls with a green jacket, both by Henke for Saska Sport Industries. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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(Above, left) Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Yellow ski jacket over red warm-up pants, both by Roffe, turtle and crewneck sweaters by Demetre and gloves by Bonnie Cashin for Crescendoe/ Superb gloves, a hat by Brosseau, yellow shoulder bag by La Bagagerie. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

(Above, right) Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Cross-country ski gear which consists of a red pullover with matching knickers from Ramah by Bass, Eiger mountain knicker socks, a Pennaco turtleneck, Mohawk ski gloves, and Acme Siren necklace by Donald Stannard. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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Circa 1972, Snowbird, Utah — Purple ski jacket with red and yellow details paired with red pants and matching cap, all by White Stag, and yellow mittens; he wears a White Stag striped sweater and sunglasses by Bausch and Lomb. — Image by © Condé Nast Archive

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1970s Tecnica Moon Boots– if you’re gonna go, go all the way (girls).

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(Above, left) 1970s, St.-Moritz, Switzerland — Mirja and Gunter Sachs.  German millionaire and the former husband of French actress Brigitte Bardot. — Image by © Pierre Vauthey

(Above, right) Jeane-Claude Killy

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20 thoughts on “OLD SCHOOL STYLE ON THE SLOPES | JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY

  1. Love the images JP, amazing. I miss this stuff. Do not know why but it felt like they did it better back in the day.

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  2. Oh, thank God! I’ve been trying to track down a pair of banana pants since I was in high school, and I may have finally found the best forum to do so. I’m hoping for Hot Dog: The Movie styled vintage ski pants. Marker, Obermeyer, Descente. Black mudflaps and Big Bird Yellow. Neoprene as hell. I’m talking bellbottoms. JP, Eli, great post. Thank you so, so much. Exhaustive.

  3. There is some one else in the world who is just as crazy for the retro glamour of the ski world past. This is what inspired me to ski and work as a buyer in the ski business for 25 years. My house is decorated with Ski Vintage Posters, ahh the good old days. Thank you for this trip down memory lane, I could live in this world of Jean Claude and the other beautiful people.

    • Awesome…would love to speak to you about vintage ski style. This is what is inspiring me right now. Just back from Denver and I have to say I am considering relocating-for some of the best hunting, fishing, and ski runs in the world. All of my passions in one place..amazing.

  4. Very well done piece. I also grew up skiing in the 70s and there was also a “rat rod” style that often paired overalls (like Oshkosh B’gosh) with Descente or White Stag fitted sweaters, I Ski or early Vuarnet glasses, cockcomb hats and racoon tans. Our money went into equipment which was the boards: Rossignol or even better Fischers with Marker or Spademan bindings and (must have) Hanson boots with jet sticks so that you could ride back on your skis with your tips up. I’d kill for a pair of Fischer C-4s (I think that was the model) today. They were black with white polka dots – truly outrageous for the time and very, very cool. Thanks for the memories!

  5. Brilliant Post ! I would kill to get back the Head ski jacket I bought in 1974 when I was 16. It would still fit me today as it was only a tiny bit big for me back then. I sadly gave it away in mint condition 10 years ago! WHY?????????

  6. Thanks for the memories! I learned to ski in the 70s, and remember reading Jean-Claude Killy’s book on skiing. The photos from that era feature very nostalgic styles–I even wore a pair of ski pants like J-C’s black w/blue racing stripes pair. My current ski gear keeps me warmer and drier than what I had then, but I don’t think it’s as stylish.

    Remember when the must-have boot was the yellow Nordica model?

  7. AH Yes….the good old days–I was inspired to ‘take up’ skiing by the 1960 Games at Squaw (age 9), skied on every piece of equipment from ‘Le Trappeur’ leather n’lace boots with ‘Salomon Lift’ bindings to ‘Hansen Exhibitions’ on Vr17′s…..sure wish I still had that Roffe (yellow) racing jacket…..

  8. Another vintage/retro ski fan! I love it all – from the beginning of time up to the 70′s. It’s all coming back via snowboard looks. Really enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

  9. OMG, You’ve just made me relive the happiest part of my childhood … Your photos are fantastic … Thank you …

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