Classic Badges: The Alpine Sports Cap

During the post WWII era, skiing in the USA saw a boon of development driven in great part by former members of the U.S. Army’s storied 10th Mountain Division.  It's not surprising then that many early patrollers and ski instructors wore equipment with military influence.  Of such equipment, simple caps with beautifully designed insignias, badges, and patches, became a standard staple for those aiming to identify themselves as skiers, alpinists, and mountaineers of various winter sport tribes.

Hand stitched patches and emblazoned labels trace their roots to European and U.S. colonial armies of the 19th and 20th centuries who used such embellishments and symbols as a means of establishing hierarchy of command throughout the ranks.  It is from these military origins that individuals came to adopt such combinations of needle and thread as powerful markings of identification through which one might convey an expressed commitment or allegiance to a certain group or specific set of values.

 

Returning from the mountains of Europe to the mountains of California, Colorado, Utah, and New England, members of the 10th Mountain Division and others carried on the traditional use of badges and patches as they lead the development of U.S. ski resorts, became America’s first ski school instructors, and harnessed their knowledge of high alpine environments to aid the founding of ski patrol outfits at mountains such as Cannon New Hampshire, Squaw Valley California, Vail Colorado, and Aspen Colorado.

In an effort to emulate those patrollers and instructors, it was not long thereafter that such badges were adopted by bands of skiers eager to express their strong association to home-based mountains, local ski clubs, and other groups dedicated to mountain recreation.  Sewn onto headwear and garments during the skiing boom of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, as well as the hot dog era of 80’s, patches, emblems, and other insignias expressed identity, camaraderie, and tribal affiliations of pride that still exist today.  

Such designations allowed skiers to literally wear their emotions on their sleeves while symbolizing special alpine achievements and experiences. Likewise, these patches were tied to special places such as a hometown hill nearby or far away mountain adventure taken in the past.  Not just needle and thread, a well-worn and well-traveled badge stitched together values, traditions, and days of skiing into a fabric of wonderful winter memories. 

Designed as an homage to the heritage ski caps of the sport's past, the new Alpine Sports Cap evokes the spirit of identity and camaraderie formed by skiing's first patrollers, instructors, and enthusiasts. Constructed of a fine corduroy fabric offering durability and style, the Alpine Sports Cap has it in the details. A leather back strap and under-bill, as well as an adjustable brass buckle will make this piece a go-to in your cap collection for years to come.

Introducing the Alpine Sports Cap