Unusual Colorado History: The ‘Panty Tree’ Beginnings
Some may never have even heard of such a thing, let alone know that it has its roots in the Centennial State. Colorado's known for Rocky Mountain Oysters, and Frozen Dead Guy Days, why not the "Panty Tree?"
Sometimes while skiing, you may see bras, panties, Mardi Gras beads or even other times on trees along a ski life. What does it all mean, and did the tradition really begin in Colorado?
This writer hasn't skied all that much, so they wouldn't necessarily know about the "bra" or "panty" trees. There is a Wikipedia page about them, so they must be popular enough, right? I've been on ski lifts in Colorado during the summer but have yet to have spotted one of these trees.
WHERE MIGHT YOU FIND A 'PANTY TREE?'
They would be found along the route of a ski lift. Perhaps to the right or left or on a tree that sits next to one of the tall poles that hold the lift.
HOW DID ASPEN SUPPOSEDLY BEGIN THE 'PANTY TREE?'
According to Powder.com, it goes back to the early1980ss when Aspen Ski Company hired a ski patroller; this would be their first female ski patroller. A few of the male patrollers got together and, in what you would call a "quiet protest," threw a large nursing bra onto a tree located along the Bell Mountain lift. "Bell Mountain" comes up a lot when researching these trees.
Once one bra was on that tree, more and more undergarments began being tossed onto the tree. They finally had to cut that tree down, but to no avail; skiers just started on the next tree down the line. Finally, Aspen Ski Company got faster gondolas and shut that Bell Mountain lift down. In the meantime, ski patrollers from Vail had already spotted Aspen's "Panty Tree" and started their own.
So, if you're skiing somewhere and see one of these trees, you can attribute or "blame" them on Aspen.