We have, as a community, come a long way. Uphill skiing and the art of it, means something different than it did in 1987.
There’s a lot to unpack here in this Rear Gear ad from 1987. The date, 1987, is confirmed via a text from WildSnow brain trust and adventurer Alex Lee, who sent along this ad while reading an old Skiing Magazine article.
Here’s the context from Alex:
“A friend just bought a cabin on the Kenai Peninsula, and it came with a 1987 Skiing Mag. I was intrigued…I first read the training article about the benefit of lunges for getting ready to ski season, then flipped through the gear guide to ogle the coolest of straight skis in bright colors (but most surprised to see Dynafit boots WITHOUT tech inserts), then came to this. The only mention of the uphill….if we forgive the chairlift for a minute, I sure appreciate the reverence for the fanny pack expressed. Simplicity at its finest. I am now on the hunt for a rear gear pack so I can go the extra mile on the skin track this season.”
Now the unpacking. And seriously, this will be a restrained unpacking.
I’ll make the assumption here that “The art of uphill skiing,” is, in fact, rendered literally in the ad. There’s the airbrushed galactic sky and alpenglow-licked mountains. There are the ski town’s lights shimmering in the box canyon below. (For what it’s worth, maybe it’s not a box canyon, and this could be any ski town USA, way west of the Mississippi.) And lastly, there’s either epic amounts of light pollution, a full moon, or lit-up night skiing for what looks like the Tin-Man putting wiggle turns to good use.
1987, really, isn’t that long ago. There was, even way back then, actual real deal uphilling. I’m sure Lou would assert that there was even an art of uphill skiing. As far as real deal uphilling in this advertisement, and the art of it, that’s lacking. But that shouldn’t necessarily, detract from it.
Now for the product placement: all hail the Rear Gear. Rear Gear appears to be a basic fanny pack with a built-in insulated thermos for beverages. (More on the types of beverages in a moment.) If you’ve seen a nordic/cross-country skier, these insulated fanny packs are ubiquitous among the speedier set of that clan. They usually say things like Swix or Toko rather than Rear Gear. Make no mistake; the ad celebrates Rear Gear brand fanny packs.
A tagline in the lower right-hand corner reads “Enjoy the Freedom!” It’s right next to the portion you can cut out to redeem your “The art of uphill skiing,” poster for $5 — which Alex says would be roughly $30 in today’s coin. Anyhow, there’s a lot of freedom enjoyed in this ad. The girl and dog seem stoked and free; as a parent, I’d advocate for less freedom, though, I’d want the bar down. Although his hair is perfect, the young man in the foreground seems the least free. The freest of them all, maybe, is the couple. I guess that’s not a sports drink in that red Rear Gear, as the advert claims, “Rear Gear makes your lift up as much fun as your run down.”
On this mid-August Friday, if you’re looking to bolster your art of uphill skiing, Rear Gear fanny packs can be had on Ebay; check this one out. This fanny pack model seems to lack the insulated thermos, and as Alex noted, it might be the Rear Gear UL version.
It’ll be a crisp 55 degrees Saturday morning here in town. The art of uphill skiing is closer than we think.
Jason Albert comes to WildSnow from Bend, Oregon. After growing up on the East Coast, he migrated from Montana to Colorado and settled in Oregon. Simple pleasures are quiet and long days touring. His gray hair might stem from his first Grand Traverse in 2000 when rented leather boots and 210cm skis were not the speed weapons he had hoped for. Jason survived the transition from free-heel kool-aid drinker to faster and lighter (think AT), and safer, are better.