A ‘naked lap’ at Sunlight Mountain Resort is a cold, judgment-free celebration for women and femme skiers and boarders

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Stina Sieg/CPR News
Blaise Barsanti places adhesive jewels on Shaylin Diamond’s face at Boot Tan Fest.

For many people, the thought of being naked while surrounded by hundreds of strangers is the stuff of nightmares.

But for the women and feminine-presenting people who recently stripped down to ski and snowboard at Sunlight Mountain Resort, it was a moment of liberation and cameradie — a very cold one.

The naked lap, as it’s known, is the most famous event at Boot Tan Fest, a celebration on the snow for women and femmes. Even hours before the lap started Friday evening at the Glenwood Springs resort, it was pretty much all attendees were talking about.

“What brings me here is nudity!” exclaimed Maura Giffuni, who was tailgating with her friends in Sunlight’s parking lot, twerking in cowboy hats, wigs and faux fur. 

Rachel Rollins, another attendee, explained that the naked lap is about more than just fun.

“There’s so much happening with women's bodies right now and people trying to tell women what to do with their bodies,” she said. At this ski festival, Rollins said she gets to say: “No, I'm going to do what I want with my body.”

A few cars away, Maria Finan had spread out a homemade banner she and her friend had created at 10 p.m. the night before. “This Barbie Skies Naked,” it read, decorated with a painted cornucopia of breasts.

“Pierced, we have asymmetrical, we have mastectomy, we have top surgery,” Finan said, describing the banner. 

In a culture that pits women against one another, she said she hopes the festival’s naked lap is about embracing differences.

A naked lap virgin, Finan was excited.

“Cheering each other on and lifting each other up and a no-judgment celebration zone is something I'm really looking forward to,” she said. 

Stina Sieg/CPR News
Boot Tan Fest founder Jenny Verrochi, left, walks through the festival, past women- and femme-run businesses and nonprofits that set up shop for the two-day event at Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Many women at the festival said it’s hard to find that kind of freedom in everyday life. The crowd spent the day on Friday skiing and perusing the various women-owned vendor booths. Music from women performers filled the festival area, including a comic who made the crowd bust up in happy shock with her racy, honest material.

As the afternoon wound down, the ski lifts closed to the public, and festival attendees giddily packed onto a lift together. Many were only in robes, despite the snow swirling around them.

At the top of the mountain, it was bitingly cold, but still they disrobed, wet globs of snow hitting their bare skin. After a countdown, the group skied and boarded down together, a mass of exhilaration and joyful pain.

At the bottom, Finan summed up her very first naked lap: “So empowering, so cold and so fun.”

And despite the freezing temperatures, she said she’d never felt safer. 

Micheala Higgins contributed to this report.