The Bump

Why skiers will never turn down a hot tub

Powder - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - —Sierra Davis and Matt Hansen and John Stifter

Too hot in the hot tub

It starts with an itch. You may feel a gen­eral sense of un­ease ac­com­pa­nied by a sore throat, woozi­ness, or headache. You scratch, only to dis­cover a bumpy, red rash has de­vel­oped un­der your armpits, around your belly but­ton, and in ar­eas typ­i­cally hid­den by your swim­suit. There’s no deny­ing you’ve been in­fected. The di­ag­no­sis? Hot tub fol­li­culi­tis, a par­tic­u­larly hard-to-kill type of bac­te­ria that flour­ishes in warm, wet ar­eas.

While hot tub rash can’t ex­actly be traced back to ski­ing, it’s highly likely when you con­sider skiers have been seek­ing out new and cre­ative ways to soak their bones in hot wa­ter for thou­sands of years.

The first men­tion of the Ja­pa­nese on­sen dates as far back as 759 AD, where it was be­lieved that el­der bathers in­fused their wis­dom into the nat­u­ral hot wa­ters for younger bathers to ab­sorb.

A sim­i­lar ex­change of in­for­ma­tion hap­pens in present-day Jacuzzis the world over, where skiers flock post— or mid—après to smartly de­bate the ideal ra­tio of soak time to beers. The Sur­geon Gen­eral rec­om­mends never us­ing a hot tub while (or af­ter) con­sum­ing al­co­hol, but El Gen­eral has ob­vi­ously never hopped the fence of the St. Regis Aspen in an ef­fort to pro­long the use of his knees with a soak in the heal­ing wa­ters.

Per­haps we should, in­stead, be dis­cussing why the male to fe­male ra­tio in the tub al­most al­ways trends 7:1 in fa­vor of the lads. Or if any skier has ever dared to dip be­fore their ski day be­gins. (Can it be done?) What­ever the hour, a good soak can cer­tainly loosen up tired mus­cles, ease the ten­sion, and be an ideal place to meet that nice cou­ple va­ca­tion­ing from Ohio. But the real rea­son ski­ing and hot tub­bing are so tightly wound is be­cause, in their purest form, both are de­signed for plea­sure and leisure. It’s no won­der that while pack­ing for a ski trip, the first thing that goes in is not your skis, boots, or gog­gles, but a bikini or nice pair of trunks that likely still have the fa­mil­iar left­over odor of chlo­rine from the last trip.

Con­sider the fre­quency and pop­u­lar­ity of hot pools through­out ski coun­try. Idaho it­self has nearly 150 hot springs, many of which you can ski to. There’s Straw­berry in Steam­boat; Ojo Caliente near Taos; Scan­di­nave in Whistler; and a plethora of nat­u­ral springs out­side of Mam­moth that be­long in the show-not-tell cat­e­gory. If it’s cloth­ing op­tional, such as Orvis Hot Springs in Ridg­way, Colorado, your ski day can be topped off by stir­ring the soup with naked cow­boys and hairy hip­pies. Con­sider it your civic duty to drop your draw­ers, as noth­ing bridges so­cial di­vi­sions quite like a sooth­ing soak on your bare der­riere in a group set­ting.

Sim­i­larly, noth­ing sat­is­fies the end of a pow­der day quite like dip­ping your an­gry toes into a chlo­ri­nated vat of hot, steamy H20. Just do us a fa­vor: Be a pal and shower be­fore­hand.

A rash de­ci­sion be damned. Photo: Grant Gun­der­son

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