When riding a cable car at a ski resort in the United States, be sure to keep an eye on the ground beneath you, as you will often see a tree covered in bras and thongs, as if it were the site of countless fierce battles.
This unique sight has puzzled many novice skiers, triggering their imaginations. And if you’re lucky, you might even receive a freshly-worn item as a souvenir.
It is not difficult to witness this kind of tribute scene in American ski resorts.
When the honest girl in front suddenly takes out a bra or thong from her pocket and shoots it towards the tree next to her, hanging it skillfully in a suitable position, you should know that this may be some kind of ritual.
Discerning skiers won’t just throw their bras at any tree; they patiently wait for the one designated by tradition.
There is no set species of tree for this, but you know it when you see it. Before you arrived, it has already endured a barrage of women’s underwear, and after you pass by, the mysterious ritual continues.
Based on the predominant decoration, you can call it the Bra Tree or the Underwear Tree.
Why is it that in many ski resorts, a tree near the ski lifts is hung with underwear?
Perhaps because the fabric of used underwear is always more worn out than that of bras, or because of the involvement of environmentalists, the bra tree gradually replaced the original underwear tree as the most mainstream term.
Bill Joslin, a tree surgeon from Idaho, has urged people not to throw thongs on trees because improper placement can cause slow girdling of the tree, as well as increased snow load, leading to branch damage.
The exact origin of the bra tree is subject to considerable debate.
The prevailing view is that it originated in the 1950s and quickly spread to almost all ski resorts in the United States, from California to Maine, becoming a traditional practice among seasoned skiers.
The exact origin of the bra tree remains a topic of debate.
The mainstream view is that it began in the 1950s and quickly spread to nearly every ski resort in the United States, from California to Maine, becoming a tradition among seasoned skiers.
This trend also spread to Canada, introduced in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, becoming a peculiar sight in ski resorts across North America.
At the Norquay ski resort, a sign reading “Please feed the bra tree” was erected, giving a clear signal to the previously implicit act of throwing undergarments and encouraging more followers to participate.
According to a deep investigation report by Powder Magazine, this tradition began in the early 1970s at the Aspen ski resort in the United States, which is 20 years later than the mainstream origin. Because women and men were employed together as ski patrollers, some patrollers were unhappy with this and threw a piece of women’s underwear onto a tree.
One theory of the origin of the bra tree dates back to the mid-1980s, also at the Aspen ski resort.
According to an old patrolman, someone threw a bra on a tree with the name of a controversial figure in the skiing world written on it.
This humorous stunt led to a large number of followers, and at its peak, there were at least fifty bras squeezed onto the slender branches of the tree.
Later, this bra tree became a symbol of rebellion. Officials threatened to remove the tree and prohibit people from throwing bras onto it, but this only led to an increase in the bra-throwing activity.
In 1997, the first bra tree at Vail Ski Resort was cut down. Instead of stopping the tradition, skiers chose another tree to continue it. More ski resorts joined in and turned it into a part of American ski culture, symbolizing freedom, nonconformity, and a festive atmosphere.
Of course, different ski resorts have different explanations, some say it’s a sacrifice to the snow gods, some say it’s a ritual for the end of the ski season.
According to John Lyon, who has worked at a ski resort for 30 years, this is like a carnival on the ski slopes, so the resort will also decorate the bra tree with carnival beads.
Some netizens also revealed an old story: at the end of the snow season, some ski resorts would allow naked skiers to indulge themselves, and these skiers would throw their underwear on the tree and slide down bare-chested or completely naked. Whether you’ve heard of these origins before or not, when riding the cable car, most people can’t help but stare at the bras on these trees, with a meaningful smile on their faces.
“According to Ski.com, throwing bras onto the tree represents your conquest of the ski resort, rather than a specific person. Therefore, you can throw someone else’s bra or your own. Local private ski clubs encourage you to take your least favorite bra, put it in your pocket, and recycle it into a living force for the ski resort’s bra tree. Some people even buy bras online specifically for this purpose.
Sierra Shafer, the author of a skiing magazine, called for progress in tradition and hopes to see more men’s underwear on the branches of trees in skiing resorts for gender equality. She encourages everyone to start from themselves in this regard.