When it’s the skier not the skis that are fat

Oh yes, I just went there. Why is it cooler to have fat skis than a fat butt? One size snow pants do not fit all.

Lord knows that a person’s body is no longer their own. Dare you to be skinnier, fatter, shorter, taller, darker or older than the norm and be prepared to be judged on and off the ski slopes.

A troll once cyber mocked me on my @misssnowitall Facebook Page. He said I was a sub standard skier and overweight, claiming to have witnessed my less than stellar skiing on account of my less than pert bottom and my offensively bulging thighs.

Thank god I kept the receipt for those 300 hours of private ski instruction that clearly didn’t work and those decades of dieting that, according to the troll, haven’t worked either. Maybe I can buy said troll a coffee (skim milk no sugar of course) to thank him for pointing out the error of my ways.

Now, whether he witnessed me skiing or not, how, pray tell does my size or skiing prowess offend him?  Have I taken up too much room on the mountain for you to get by? Have my thighs spread too far across the chairlift for your liking?

I have, in my lifetime, regularly swung between a size 8 and a size 16 and back again, though my legs have always remained short (I even wrote a book about it). Silly me has pounded my thighs for being too big, cursed my belly for growing and regularly wrestled with my ski pants around this time every pre season.

7 things you didn't know about MissSnowItAll

Shopping for ski pants pre winter for me is akin to trying on bikinis pre summer. One size does not fill all and one cut does not do all body types justice. Pants are often too long and I end up with shredded cuffs from ripping them in my bindings all winter. I think it makes me look hard core but it really just makes me look, well, short.

My thighs are solid but my calves are thin and my ankles coveted by supermodels. Ski pants by their very nature don’t show off said slender calves and few do much to slenderize those bulky thighs. If I get them too low in the hip then my muffin top, already trapped in my base layers, then roll over the top like uncooked baguettes, if I get them too high, well, camel toe (ewwww).

More fool me, really. Because when I ski I feel free, regardless of what size I am or am not when clicking into my skis.

All that angst over my ski pants is forgotten on my first turn.

Being outdoors, moving my body, raising my heart rate, feeling the burn in my thighs, the wind on my cheeks and the cold on my teeth from smiling, makes me happy. Getting to that point is not always easy but when I’m there, in the zone, I feel good about the world. The mountain doesn’t care if I’m 50kgs or 500kgs, just ask a polar bear.

Whatever size you are, you can own the mountain and own your body while conquering it. Don’t let anyone, especially that starved little monkey on your shoulder and in your ear, tell you otherwise.

To all the pants I have loved before

Sadly, though the great outdoors is free for all (unless you buy a lift pass) the clothing required to get there isn’t. I loathe the term ‘plus size’, I mean, is their a ‘minus size’ for those skinnier than the norm? But the lack of plus size ski clothing needs to be addressed.

I understand the thinking that those who choose outdoor activities for their holidays must already be fit and fabulous but truth is many are stressed and comfort eating or middle aged and enjoying the spread or simply fit and fabulous and a size others deem as fat. So, where are the clothes for them?

Some snow brands are starting to offer ‘extended sizes’ for different body shapes so try out some of these options below.

Those looking for ski gear in sizes that the mainstream brands refuse to acknowledge can head to PlusSnow.com.au a one stop larger sized ski and snowboard online shop from Monica Balon – founder of Ski and Board.

Columbia also offer Women’s Plus, Men’s Big and Men’s Tall ski wear and The North Face have some ‘extended sizes’ for women and men plus the new North Face Powder Guide pants are awesome, technical, roomy, size L and XL. While the crew over at Obermeyer have ski pants in long, petite and short up to a size 22. Kudos to them, I say.

Perhaps there is a gap in the market for good technical clothing with cutting edge style and fashion flare in both larger and petite sizes? Kickstarter, anyone?

When girls aren't pretty or thin enough to ski or snowboard


Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.


  1. This has been an issue for soooo long! Way too long! You’ve only touched on the short pants issue. If you are short and wide that’s even bigger issue! Then there’s the great jacket that is a ladies size XL or even XXL which, if you happen to be a girl with hips or CBH’s (Child Bearing Hips) as they can otherwise be referred to, that you have no hope of getting zipped up without feeling like you can’t move let alone ride comfortably. So you end of in a Mens XL or XXL with rolled up sleeves in a style that is not too masculine. If you can find such a thing! At least you know you’ll be warm , dry with plenty of room to move. Even if it looks like a 3/4 length jacket! I’m tall so can get away with it reasonably but what if you are short? Plus sizes are becoming increasingly main stream in Ladies Fashions. It’s time for the Snowsports Industry to step up as well. They will tell you that it’s all about the lack quantities when manufacturing but they really just need to get the sizing right! If you’re going to produce a Ladies XL or XXL wouldn’t you think that it should fit around the hips of a size 18-20? I’ve been dealing with this issue for years! Been skiing for 40 years & only had this issue in the last 20 as I have grown older & bigger. I still like to turn my skis & feel the freedom & enjoyment that a good run on fresh snow or a great groomer can give me. Even if it is much slower these days! But why can’t I do that in comfortable ski gear that fits properly & looks great? There are some brands that I love but I know have no hope of fitting into. So you admire & head over to the Mens area & hope for the best. Most girls are not a size 8-12 & matchsticks. More like a shapely 12 -16 who would fit into a current L or XL. They’re not big! Just normal! They should be in an S or M. The match sticks can be an XS. Leave the XL & XXL for big girls and make them to fit properly! There used to be a ladies ski pant called Curvy Girls Pants that were awesome but sadly, no longer available. They really did fit curvy girls!

  2. You and I could have co authored this article….every word is s shared experience…nice to share the world with you!

  3. Rachael, have known you long enough to know your passion for our habit, which is an addiction to skiing, the old adage is that ; ” the best skier on the mountain, is the one having the most fun” doesn’t matter a tinkers cuss how well you are dressed, what shape you are, how well you ski, the one with the biggest smile, wins. i have seen you win, many times. x

  4. It’s bizarre – even small mens snow pants assume that you are 5’10 tall, and if you’re overweight like me and need a size L for your waist, the pants assume you’re 6’4 tall! I’m 5’7 on a good day right after an osteo treatment to lengthen my spine, so this really sucks. Someone needs to tell the manufacturers that even though average height worldwide for men is 5’9, it’s an AVERAGE and there are people who are far shorter than that!

  5. I absolutely LOVE my Obermeyer gear and am regularly asked by amazing, expert “round” women skiers where I got my gear. I wear a size 18 and their stuff fits amazingly. They get my dollars. Too bad to the rest.

  6. I just found Obermeyer. They specialize in making all the sizes we need and at the appropriate lengths!
    It’s fairly pricey, but if you’re willing to shop for last year’s styles, it’s actually almost affordable.


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