At a well-known ski resort, you might see bras, underwear, and even beads hanging across a neighboring tree while you ride the chairlift. This tree is known as the “panty tree,” and it is a custom that reportedly began in Aspen in the 1970s or 1980s.
The Bra Tree/Panty Tree: What Is It?
Simply put, a bra tree or panty tree is a tree that has been adorned with bras, undergarments, and beads. They are frequently tossed from ski lifts, and because it might be difficult to get rid of them, many resorts choose to leave them there all season. There is typically no rush to get rid of them as long as they don’t bother the guests or raise any issues.
What Function Does the Bra Tree Serve?
The origins of the bra tree are not entirely clear, as is the case with many stories, and there are several interpretations, some of which are more imaginative than others.
It dates back to a time when ski resorts permitted guests to ski without clothing on, thus at the conclusion of the day, guests would discard their underwear and ski without it.
Whether in jest or because large amounts of booze and marijuana had been ingested, it is an offering to some sort of snow deity.
The staff/guests utilize the tree to display the bras and underwear from their “conquests” to the rest of the crowd.
It is associated with Mardi Gras and involves some sort of excess and nudism celebration.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about bra and panty trees. If you Google these search terms, you’ll get everything from people claiming to have seen the original tree and know how the practice started to irate mothers talking about promiscuity and the example it sends young girls.
As was stated above, there is a lot of speculation surrounding this legend, and while we lean more toward it being a shoddy (and sexist) protest from the 1970s or 1980s, there is no way to know for sure. Some claim that it all started in the 1950s when ski lift passengers decorated a tree nearby as a form of protest.
Aspen Ski Company started hiring more women, which reduced the number of positions open to men. Male patrolmen protested by tossing a bra into a tree close to Bell Mountain Chair.
It amused several of the attendees, who then started flinging other pairs of underpants onto the tree. The villagers started replenishing the tree in defiance after someone complained, the mountain management had them removed.
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