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StretchPants," said a Texas skier recently, "are the best thing that hashappened to skiing since Hannes Schneider." That takes in a lot ofterritory, but skiers all the way across the country can safely add that thenext best thing is that stretch pants, which, like Schneider, were for quite awhile available only from Europe, can now be bought from Americanmanufacturers, at American prices. And the same is now true of all ski apparel,with the possible exception of boots and hand-knit ski sweaters. The Americanmanufacturers have come of age, and this year the selection of domestic skistyles equals the best of the European competitors. To the nation's 4 millionskiers this means lower prices on everything, since they will no longer have topay the tariff. Stretch pants from American sources, for example, come in justas many sparkling colors and sell for an average $10 less. To document theAmerican invasion of what has been a European province almost since the sportbegan, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has again, as it did last December, surveyed everyimportant ski area in the country. Here are our findings:

Stretch pants arestill the biggest news, and anybody who can scrape up the $40 to $50 they costwants them. The next step, particularly for the lady skier, is the all-stretchsuit—one trim line of Helenca from collar to boot, as worn by Skier Amy Bairdon this week's cover ($70, from Ernst Engel; at Saks Fifth Ave., J. L. Hudson,Filene's, Bramson's, Frederick and Nelson).

Another new look,one fast becoming a fad, with instructors, and racers setting the pace, is theknicker, far trimmer than the floppy plus eights which were the first skipants. They come in colored corduroy or in dark woolens and are worn withwater-repellent hand-knit socks, made in Norway of unwashed wool. They arepopular for spring skiing, as worn at Mt. Hood (opposite).

The favorite newparkas are both quilted and reversible—many of them with a pattern on one side,a contrasting solid color on the other. There is a growing vogue for capes towear on the chair lift, a fashion borrowed from Bavaria. And speaking of lifts,the almost complete disappearance of the rope tow, which snagged parkas, hashelped "sharpen up" the American skier. There are many specializedregional fads: crash helmets in the Northwest, Mexican vests in the Southwest,Army-surplus wildcat-skin parkas in New England—and collector's-item Europeansweaters everywhere.

Ski-Tow Poncho($40, Ernst Engel) with a collar which forms a hood is of sky-blue loden. AmyBaird of Portland, Ore. wears it with a matching poplin fastcap ($3, WhiteStag).

Knickers are backas top ski fashion in trim versions copied from Alpine mountaineering pants. AtMount Hood, Doug McCabe of San Mateo, Calif. and Cornelia St. John ofGreenwich, Conn. team corduroy knickers ($15, Edelweiss), hand-knit socks(Selbu, $11).

Shirttail Parka($18, White Stag) in icegreen poplin piped with white is a bestseller. CorneliaSt. John wears it with white stretch pants ($45, by Dormer-Werner) atTimberline Lodge.

After-Ski Capes(men's $25; women's, $30; White Stag) are copied from Bavarian classics, andare worn by Timberline Manager Dick Kohnstamm and Carolyn Rice at ski towshack.

Color and patternblaze on the mountains. Carolyn Rice of Portland matches red Helanca pants($40) with coin-printed, reversible nylon parka ($23) and C. B. Vaughan ofManchester, Vt. with poplin parka ($23, all White Stag).


One of the best ofthe European designers showed off his new styles in person just last month,when Italy's Emilio Pucci made a sentimental journey back to Oregon. There hehad designed his first ski suits for the Reed College ski team 20 years ago;now he was returning to spearhead a charity fashion show of his ski designs. Inhis honor a previously undesignated ski trail on Mt. Hood was christenedPucci's Glade. Following the ceremonies, the ebullient Pucci posed with modelswearing his latest look in ski fashions—smooth-knit sweaters over tight-fittingstretch pants, and one tuck-in gabardine shirt to be worn under a Pucci-printparka with matching lilac stretch pants.