[Editor Note: Here’s an archive article that will bring back some memories.  Back in the Sixties, there was a host of songs devoted to the relatively new and growing sport of skiing.  This article from SeniorsSkiing.com August, 2014 highlights some of the songs and the singers.]

Well, they called him Super Skier
As he sat around the sun deck,
For he swore that he would never take a spill.
When they finally brought him down
They had to use three toboggans
To carry all the pieces down the hill.
Bob Gibson, Super Skier

In the late 50s and early 60s, three cultural threads knit together simultaneously—folk singing, the comedy album and the sport of skiing.  Inspired by the Kingston Trio, Smothers Brothers and the comedy records of Bob Newhart, Woody Allen, Shelly Berman, and Lenny Bruce, a small band of singers created a niche art form: The Stand Up Comic As Skiing Folk Singer.

A pioneer on the scene was Chicago-based Bob Gibson, a 50s folksinger, who, among other things, wrote novelty songs, especially about skiing.  One of those, Super Skier, later recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio*, became the genre’s archetype.  Here’s a version:

The novelty ski song had a pattern. A naïf—nerdy office worker, country hick, cowboy—goes skiing because it’s macho, ladies find skiers attractive, and it’s cool.  His goal is showing off, joining the Jet Set, finding the girl and having “the look”.  But, misadventures and slapstick outcomes ensue.  All of this is often to a familiar folk tune: Sweet Betsy From Pike, Turkey In the Straw, Railroad Bill and the like, with simple acoustic string-band accompaniment.

Utah skier and resident Ray Conrad is a prime example of this novelty genre.  He was a topical folk singer back in the 60s.  Here’s his song The Big Downhill Skis about a “hard-butt” cowboy who is challenged to go skiing by a city slicker.  Pretty funny.

Ray also has a serious side.  Here’s the opening lyric of his song, “A Skier’s Daydream”.

In the fall of the year, when the summer grows old
When the air has a chill, and the green hills turn cold
It’s then I grow restless and feel at my ease
I yearn for the mountains and the snow in the trees

Then there’s his song Two Cubes and A Slug of VO that compares the joys of skiing with the benefits of “drinking gin with a touch of vermouth, yo-ho.”

The genre went in a different direction when Oscar Brand issued an entire album of ribald ski songs. Brand, a contemporary of Pete Seeger and the Weavers, had an uncanny knack for writing and collecting off-color songs.  His discography (about 100 albums) includes bawdy sea shanties, army ditties, navy songs, and hearty drinking carousers.

Oscar Brand's 1961 collection of ribald ski songs are still funny today.
Oscar Brand’s 1961 collection of ribald ski songs are still funny today.

Ray Conrad was in the mix in those days and contributed two songs to Brand’s 1963 “A Snow Job For Skiers”.  Here are some lyrics from The Ski Instructor from that album.  The rest of the songs range from clever and witty all the way to silly.  Discretion prohibits adding an actual audio track.

Impress her with your ability, don’t let her answer no
Remind her that skiing with no sex involved is nothing but cold, cold snow.

We haven’t noticed après-ski lounge singers embracing these songs or even making up their own in our recent travels.  Google “ski songs,” and you get rock music for your skiing playlist, not the topical send-ups of yesteryear.

Do you have a ski song you remember?

Now the moral of my story
Though my story’s kinda gory
For all you sundeck Charlies, there’s still hope
You buy the fastest clothes you can
Then talk skiing like a man
But don’t let people catch you on the slope…
And Get Charlie Off The MTA


*By sheer happenstance, the author was present at Brooklyn College in May 1961, when the Chad Mitchell Trio first performed “Super Skier” on stage and made the recording you can hear on the Youtube link.  They raised the roof on that one.  Here’s the admission (autographed on the back) ticket to prove it.

Chad Mitchell Trio Concert Ticket


  1. Some ski the Alberg and some ski Ole
    Others the Swiss on the mountain display
    We ski elliptical give it a test
    Elliptical skiing the best

    Oh you spread out you tips just a trifle
    On your skis outer edge place you weight.
    You rotate your body from left until right
    Elliptical skiing is greaaaat!

  2. Dennis Grunbeck says:

    This a great article. I am disappointed that you did not post the A Skier’s Daydream song, I would really like to listen to it.

    thank you.

    • Michael Maginn says:

      We hear you Dennis. We have it on an Oscar Brand vinyl disc. We will attempt to make a digital copy and post it. Curiously, we couldn’t find Skier’s Daydream on Youtube where some of these more esoteric songs can usually be found. Glad you liked the article.

  3. Dennis Grunbeck says:

    Thank you. I looked for it on youtube myself.

  4. Mike Terrell says:

    And, don’t forget Bert Fischer’s song “Let’s Go Skiing” he wrote in the 1950s. He was the founder of the Three Trackers Ski Club and member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame.

  5. Hi Dennis and Michael – If you want, I have digital versions of Skier’s Daydream both by Oscar Brand and Ray Conrad who wrote it. Let’s Go Skiing was also covered by Bernie Knee as a 45 in 1965 and a polka version by Frank Yancovic appears on the “Poland – 20 Great Polkas” album.

  6. This is a great article. I always wondered if there were ski songs.

    Schifoan by Wolfgang Ambros is my favorite.

    Sure, it’s in an Austrian dialect, and I don’t even speak German, but it’s a catchy tune. Anyone can sing the refrain and make new friends in the gondola going up the mountain.

    • Michael Maginn says:

      OMG, Alison, we just found Schifoan on Youtube.com. We’re going to include it in next week’s “augmented” ski songs article! Thanks so much.

  7. Dennis Grunbeck says:

    Yes, thanks Boyd and Michael!

  8. This reminded me of my DJ days in a small Maine town not far from Sunday River 1959-62 when I was able to play Super Skier on the air. It was the only ski song in our collection although there must have been a flip side which I don’t remember. I certainly remember skiing with Bert Fischer and hearing him sing Let’s go Skiing which he would perform anytime he could get the stage and the mic during apres ski. Thanks for some great memories

    • Michael Maginn says:

      Thanks, Dave: We had a reader submit Skier’s Dream and Let’s Go Skiing, digital version which we will be publishing next week. You are right about memories…

  9. Roger Monty says:

    As I recall, the fip side of “Super Skier” (which was, most probably, the “hit” side) was – “Lizzie Borden”, as in, “Elizabeth Borden took an ax, and gave her father forty whacks… [etc.]”. I probably still have that… somewhere. Great stuff, indeed!

  10. Thanks Roger. I remember playing Lizzie Borden but forgot that it was the flip side of Super Skier. Both were comic relief from some of the one hit wonders of the day.

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