What Ever Happened to the Bota Bag?


So old school it could be cool again

I am not a trendsetter. Usually I’m too busy skiing or following the weather or thinking about skiing and weather to pay too much attention to the next big thing. But I feel a zeitgeist coming on. Raise your hand if you remember bota bags? You know. The leather pouches slung over your grandfather’s shoulder full of mulled wine or Jagermeister or some other ski-related drink?

That’s a bota bag. And my question is: what ever happened to them? If you Google “bota bag”, you will find they are still around. You can buy one on Amazon right now for $8.75. But when was the last time you saw someone wearing one at your local ski area? And when did it become de rigueur to simply chug beers from the lifts and drop your empties on the slope below? Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s not very classy. In fact, that’s irritating and trashy.

Drinking from a bota bag, however, is both classy and so old school that it could just be cool again.

My idea? Let’s bring back the bota bag. But I want to see the re-invented bota bag—in bright colors with contrasting neon straps full of Red Bull and Gatorade and spiced wine. This isn’t your grandfather’s bota bag I’m talking about here; it’s the next big thing. Soon everyone will be wearing one. Along with your goggles worn under your helmet and your XXXL jacket that covers over your saggy ski pants, you’ll also be wearing a neon bota bag across your shoulder. I can see it now.

Let’s stop the frat-boy-empty-beer-can thing and return to a different kind of wild. The old-fashioned 70s ski bum kind of wild, when coonskin caps and bota bags ruled the outdoor world and it was cool to aim a stream of wine into your neighbor’s mouth over a bowl of bubbling fondue.

Who’s with me?

12 responses »

  1. Funny, I was just thinking about Bota Bags the other day after noticing someone’s discarded beer cans under Rex. Your post made me pull this picture off my office wall of the Bota-Bag-over-the-shoulder Spread Eagle.
    Hope you’re not also thinking of bringing back stretch pants, bandanas around the knee, and Scott Boots. (Note old Chair 2 in the background)


  2. Agreed.

    I don’t get the chuck your beer cans / garbage off the lifts mentality or, lack thereof. Boarders / skiers go to the mountain to enjoy the mountains, views, pow …. so, why trash the slopes?

    If you can carry the beer up the mountain, respect the mountain and dispose of cans / wrappers in the trash cans.

  3. I like your idea for bright (neon)-colored bota bags. You could start something! One of my friends carries a metal flask in his jacket pocket, but he just puts water in it. He gets some looks when he whips out his flask on the lift!

  4. Long time reader, first time commenter here.

    Along the lines of unwanted cans (and plastic bottles)- I get sick when I see them on the mountain. I wonder what these folks’ homes look like?

    Anyway, I was wondering if maybe we could get some installed trash cans near high litter density areas? For example, right near the bottom of the freestyle segment under Forest Queen, where the jib park kids like to hang out while watching their buddies. I guess it all goes under the idea of making it as easy to do the right thing as possible, you know?

    • Matt,

      That’s a good idea. We’ve tried variations on this theme before. Bins work best when they are near buildings so they can be emptied each night. The last thing you want is an overflowing bin or one that gets trashed by the crows. But your placement could work. Thanks for the input.

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  7. Hello, Check out my handcrafted bota bags on my ETSY sight: Jacobsleather. I also make a hard shell bota like the one you remember, but it is not up on my etsy sight yet. Thanks jacobslea

  8. Coleman used to have a plastic bota bottle I used while jogging. It’s the right fit to tuck under your arm. There’s no place to really put a bulky round bottle, but the flat configuration was perfect. Not sure when they stopped making them.

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