Boot Tan Fest 2023. Some brief context before diving into this juicy journal entry. Boot Tan Fest is an event created for women to come together and enjoy some backcountry skiing. It also so happens to close out with a victorious naked ski lap. I'm Liz, the first official Hoohah sales associate. This was my first shadowing experience to see how Anna runs the Hoohah pop-ups, get a general sense of how to run the sales system, and play hooky for some back country skiing.
It’s an early morning in March, the Hoohah mobile is packed up for the trek out to Bluebird Back Country with all the Hoohah gear. Anna and I are listening to (a now) Hoohah Playlist and having general conversation. I’m asking questions to learn about Anna. Why she wanted to start Hoohah, why she chose this event, basically all the small questions I could ask to avoid the inevitable question… “So are you going to ski completely naked?” ***what feels like 20 minutes and is more like 5 seconds*** “I don’t know are you?” I responded back. Guess what one of my biggest hang ups is—my naked body, lucky me! Anna immediately without hesitation said something along the lines of “why not?! I don't know, we’ll see how it goes. But I probably will.”
I immediately start having an internal panic attack and I'm certain my armpit sweat is stinking up the Hoohah mobile. Please remember this is the VERY FIRST TIME Anna and I are working a Hoohah event together AND the universe is challenging me to face one of my biggest fears of letting other people see me completely naked...WHILE skiing? Thoughts flood my stream of consciousness: “Holy shit, how am I going to ski naked in front of some chic I literally just met who is clearly an incredible skier? What did I sign myself up for? Was this a bad idea? Am I going to be the only one who is potentially fully clothed? What if I fall and break a bone and I’m butt naked? How do I explain that to my family, friends and employer - who thinks I’m sick in bed resting?" I push these crowding thoughts to the deepest, darkest cavity of my brain to hibernate. Once I am there, I will figure it out. After all, I’m just here to help Anna.
The next few hours at Boot Tan Fest are difficult for me to put into words and fully express the essence of this event. There's a lot of intriguing conversations over the love of being outdoors, dancing, chatting and laughing with other bad ass females. We're slinging Hoohah fleece pants and sunny-side bibs, soaking up the perfect Blue Bird Colorado day. There was this intense feeling of strength, female empowerment and humor within this small remote ski area. It almost felt like this hidden village of women who loved to ski and be outside no matter the weather.
Never in my entire life have I been surrounded by a group of women where I actually felt like I belong. I grew up in a small farming community in Pennsylvania where my Mom would tell me (nearly everyday of high school) “You just don’t belong here”. Sounds harsh right? False- my mom helped spark curiosity in me to search for “belonging”, or as I call it wanderlust. I've always looked for ways to introduce myself to new groups of people, try out new hobbies, move to areas where I didn’t know a soul. Literally anything that would get me out of my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve gained a gaggle of amazing friends, got to see some cool things I wouldn't have normally, and I have been able to navigate my way out of the unknown. This isn’t a sad mopey story, people! But, it wasn't until Boot Tan Fest that everything FINALLY clicked…I am where I belong. Surrounded by an amazing crew of outdoorsy women who are laughing it up, hootin' and hollerin'...and all about to ski with their tits and hoohahs out for the elements!...The question wakes up from hibernation to knock again…“Do I ski completely naked today?”
We start our trek up to the top of the run, which basically looks like a 14er from the Hoohah tent (I'm being a bit dramatic, the lap itself might be 2 miles in length). I casually mention to Anna I am going to try my best to make it to the top of the run, underestimating myself right out of the gate. As we start our ascent, we are amongst many women skinning, snowshoeing, and hiking to get to the top of the naked ski run. I take a few minutes to try and tune out my heavy breathing and I hear kick ass females who are singing, encouraging each other and laughing all the way from the vendor village to the tippy top of the run. As we climb through the Aspens, we pass women who are starting to peel off layers. Anna and I, still completely clothed, continue on. We get out of the trees and the clearing reveals another large uphill with nothing but the most beautiful blue Colorado skies, fresh fluffy white snow on the horizon – and few extra moons out! It is at this moment, breathing heavily and sweating my hoohah off, I realize that the way I look naked does not matter to anyone around me. Truly – no one cares if I’m waxed, have extra cushion to keep me warm, or the fact that I prefer an underwire bra because I don’t want me boobs to hit my knees. We are here to have fun and do something in an environment that doesn’t make us feel bad about the way we look but encourages us to appreciate our differences and come together to whoop it up and hang out! I reach the top and immediately rip off my clothes – sendies and all! Was it cold – absolutely! Did the sun feel amazing on my skin that was COMPLETELY exposed – HELL YES! After a few minutes of conversation about the benefits of perineum sunning and things of this nature, collectively we realize that everyone has made it to the top of the run. In a matter of minutes, we take off down the run – tits deep in snow! The feeling of skiing naked is one that you must experience. It is the most freeing, empowering, bad ass, hilariously fun things I’ve ever done! Over 400 women participated in Boot Tan 2023. It was the most beautiful, exhilarating, fun, mind blowing, can’t stop talking about it days!
Being at the top of that mountain changed my life, the way I view myself both internally and externally. It made me want to show up and champion all women who are out here doing the damn thing everyday! Hoohah has turned into the perfect opportunity for me to help spread the love and empowerment we found at Boot Tan Fest. Hoohah isn’t just about selling the comfiest, coziest, cutest, brightest, and most colorful clothing for outdoor activities. It has created a way for me to share a sense of belonging and community, embracing the differences of our bodies or whatever hang up it is you have. At the end of the day, celebrate who you are and what your body has done for you! AND the biggest take away - don’t settle for wearing black all the time. Stand out, wear the bright colors! I promise that you will attract loving, warm, fun people into your world!