Sunday night hit music fans hard with the news that musical icon David Bowie had lost his battle with cancer.
Bowie transcended his art, not only with his unique style, but a unique brand of musical theater that influenced greater society. The British-born singer worked hard for popular success in the 1960s before breaking out in 1972 with hits like “Starman” and the album it appeared on, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust. “Fame,” was his first American number one. He’d go on to sell 130 million records and spend four decades as a pop-culture superstar.
His music seemed to resonate with skiers, especially. Probably because he was one. He started escaping to Switzerland in the 1980s where he could sometimes be seen on the slopes of Gstaad, an upscale resort in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. Bowie told several news outlets over the years that, “In Switzerland, they leave me alone.”
“He lives a very clean life now, but I’m sure he’s obsessing about something else,” longtime friend Geoff MacCormack told The Guardian in 2013 when talking about Bowie, who fought substance abuse throughout his career. “When he moved to Switzerland for a while he started skiing. I remember thinking, “Bowie? Skiing?!”
There are a several random images of Bowie on the slopes circulating on the web (see above). While they can’t be confirmed, they certainly look like one of pop’s all time greats, especially standing next to his wife, supermodel Iman, and smoking a cigarette on the slopes. Bowie’s music often turned up in ski films, too, like a version of Space Odyssey for TGR’s Tangerine Dream and Rebel Rebel in the opening segment of Hunting Yeti from Nimbus.
But maybe skiing’s biggest tribute was from Armada Skis, who commissioned Rick Stultz to do a Bowie graphic for a run of the company’s ARGs—a now-classic reverse cambered pow ski released during the 2008-09 season. Aramada also did a Bowie graphic for a run in 2005-06. Needless to say, the Park City, Utah company counts itself a fan of the rocker. “Artists and athletes who push boundaries have always inspired us to do the same,” Armada’s Andy Miller told The Inertia. “So an icon like David Bowie was a perfect fit.”
Bowie was 69.