Updated: Sep 1, 2021
On this sad anniversary of The King's death 44 years ago at the too-young age of 42, we became haunted by one burnin' love of a question: Did Elvis Presley ever get on skis? We did find information that for his 41st birthday in 1976, Elvis took his entourage to Vail for a winter vacation, complete with slope-side accommodations and all the fried peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches they could eat (an Elvis favorite). Although he apparently never ventured out on skis, he reportedly did get on snow with a snowmobile and was spotted wearing a ski mask as a suspicious minds disguise when he wasn't sporting these gaga goggles that matched his panache:
We only wish Elvis could have stayed around longer, played some more years in Vegas, gotten himself back into shape and picked up the sport that's easy to learn and the most fulfilling zen escape on the planet. The guy was an iconic legend - Sinatra felt threatened by him and The Beatles just wanted to be him - so surely this musical adonis could swing his hips well enough through a few ski lessons and get the hang of it, right? And the après-ski scene with beers, girls and hot tubs - c'mon Elvis, this was your scene!
We know that Elvis was faced with one of the biggest reasons folks don't ski as much as they'd like: not enough time. Thanks to his career-muffling manager Colonel Parker, Elvis was on a three films a year hamster wheel (and really bad films, at that), so he had no spare time to escape to the mountains when he wasn't having fun in Acapulco for another bad movie. The Colonel finally released Elvis from his absurd movie commitment and agreed to Elvis's stunning comeback to live stage performances in 1969, which is masterfully chronicled in the book Elvis in Vegas by Richard Zoglin. Elvis took the stage back by storm with a grueling schedule of two shows a night at the brand new International Hotel for four weeks at a time without a single night off. In so doing, Elvis also staged a comeback for Las Vegas as a legitimate place for musical acts to go when Sin City had lost its allure after the golden age of Sinatra's Rat Pack and other big names of the past had largely run their course. The four-week engagements at the International Hotel were staged in the summer and winter, prime vacation time for folks who would come see The King from all over the country, but which also would have largely prevented Elvis from trying skiing in either hemisphere.
We'll never know if Elvis could ski, but we know that if he ever did and staged an applause-worthy yard sale under the chair lift, we'd be rewarded with his dulcet baritoned "Thank you very much." Long live The King - we miss you Elvis.