Small children, first-year university students and Hugh Hefner have had it figured out for years: Quality of life is directly proportionate to amount of time spent in pyjamas.
And Whistler got the memo. So don’t freak out when you see a unicorn flitting through the snow covered trees off the bottom of Harmony Ridge or an alligator loading Peak Chair—you’re not trippin’, it’s just people wearing their fleecy one-piece animal pyjamas on the ski hill. Why? Well, why not? Really—wearing pyjamas is awesome, spring skiing and snowboarding are amazing, so a combination of the two is a guaranteed win.
“I have a black and white milk cow,” says Sarah Fenwick, 32. “And there is a panda, an owl and a unicorn in our house. It’s just fun to break them out in the Spring when the sun is out. I get a lot of response, a cow is very recognizable, so people ‘moo’ at me.”
According to the Internet, the official name for adult-sized animal onesies is Kigumuri : meaning “a costumed character or performer.” Japan seems to be the first nation to take the concept from the theme park to the bedroom and into everyday life. Kigumuri first began popping up at music festivals and the streets of Osaka and it wasn’t long before the Internet spread them around the world.
A website in the UK started selling official Japanese SAZAC animal onesies across Europe in 2009. Montreal followed in 2011, with Australia coming on board in 2013. These days there are 22 countries with official SAZAC distributors (Beware of imitators!) and since Whistler is such a cosmopolitan global melting pot more than a few of those Kigumuri have made it to the valley and are just waiting for a sunny day on the mountain.
“The culture here is open and about having fun,” explains Sarah, a recent transplant from the UK. “We’ve worn them to the Ironman and to the pyjama party at Cornucopia. They fit loose enough to get your ski gear underneath and on a sunny day they dry out pretty quick. Animals on the mountain just makes sense.”
Especially for Whistler Ski School instructors, who have been wearing animal outfits for years to make their lessons more fun for the ski scamps while also teaching the next generation of rippers an incredibly valuable lesson: It’s a (sunny, happy, fun-filled) jungle out there, dress appropriately.