The first step in our design process is equal parts practical and imaginative. Expressing the spirit behind why we strap skis to our feet to glide down a snow-covered hill is as paramount as determining what a garment needs to perform on the mountain. So, when it came time to conceptualize our first women’s collection, one particular inspiration image stood out amongst the rest: this 1986 shot of Kiki Cutter.
Cutter is the first American ski racer—man or woman—to win a World Cup title, which she did at age 18 in Oslo, Norway in 1968. The phenome from Bend, Oregon, joined the U.S. Ski Team that year, and racked up so many wins between 1968 and 1970 (five), her record for World Cup victories was not outdone by another American for two decades. She also competed for the U.S. in the ’68 Grenoble, France Olympics, where she placed the highest of any American woman and competed in all three disciplines. The French Alpine team dubbed Cutter, “La Dangereuse Américaine,” for posing a threat to their racing superiority. After her dominance of the early World Cup years, Cutter moved to Aspen, founded a magazine, and continued to race and stay involved in skiing, creating a foundation for junior skiers.
Something about this image of the famous Aspenite ignited a collective, “yes!” from the team. When asked to describe who the modern Aztech woman is, our Head of Design, Casey Cadwallader, put this way: "She wants performance and she wants to be able to move, and she's not trying to show off her body. She's trying to show off who she is, how great her personality is, how great a skier she is, and how much she loves the sport."
For our first women’s Nuke Suit, we have screen printed Kiki Cutter into the lining, a nod to our inspiration for creating ski clothes with grace, style and technical superiority, just like Kiki.
Kiki Cutter image © Aspen Historical Society, Aspen Times Collection