We Got the Funk

When the temp hits zero or below, as it frequently does at Bridger Bowl, sweat tends to freeze before it hits the ground, sometimes accumulating on the hair of the head or face creating an icy cocoon-like helmet about the wearer. The sweat flows freely no matter the temperature. It is as much a part of the ridge experience as the powder-soaked turns on the descent, but what you may not have expected is the fact that this may make you somewhat irresistible to the ladies. No not the descent with all of its epic airs (those translate only to immediate audiences), but the sweat itself.

Recently, while sitting in my office reading when I probably should have been working, I came across a study about human attraction that caught my eye. The more I read, the more I realized this wouldn’t be the sort of scandalous or provocative literary romp I had expected. No, this was a scientist’s version of attraction.

They asked women to rate the smells of men's smelly gym shirts. Some smelled good to some women while bad to others, but overall the result was that the women preferred the smell of gym shirts of men that were more different from themselves according to an immune cell complex. This all boils down to a sort of very fine-tuned method of inbreeding prevention. Think of this as a designated driver for when all your other senses are out of whack. The nose never lies or takes a break—just try not smelling. You can’t.

Which all brings me back to skiing, as everything always does. I immediately thought about all those careless moments at lunch in the upper lodge of Bridger Bowl where, after a morning filled with ridge hikes, I would haphazardly unzip my scent-trapping Gore-Tex coat and release a tsunami of scent on the unsuspecting women of the lodge. An attractant atom bomb. In fact, I am pretty sure I should have attracted women within a 20-mile radius, but I never did.

As this thought sunk in, I rocked back in my chair. A wave of relief washed over me as I remembered I was in Montana and chances are, in one way or another, I was related to every single person in the room. Everyone smelled equally bad, which might also explain other areas of my love history as well. I can take solace in the fact that it really wasn’t me all those years, it was the way I smelled.

So please do be considerate, wash your ski gear, and let your own unique bouquet of attractants go at least 20 feet from all entrances and exits to the lodge. There are mothers and children there. Skiers should count themselves doubly lucky they have not one but two poles to beat the women off with.

As for women, your scent is not any less potent, but the researchers found that men valued looks over smells, and let’s face it, ski gear is not a string bikini—except maybe at the Dirt Bag Ball, and even then it is usually the men wearing them.