All Female Snowboarders Are Sporting Face Framing Hair Strands — Why Is That?

The Winter Olympics are in full swing, and viewers are eager to know why female snowboarders leave their hair out while competing. Here's what we know.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Feb. 9 2022, Published 4:10 p.m. ET

Besides the ever-so-favored figure skating, the next best event at the Winter Olympics is none other than snowboarding, specifically the women's division.

The progression each woman has made in the sport is awe-inspiring, even more so now because women's snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis brought home the USA's first gold medal of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games — how awesome is that?!

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Of course, viewers and fans are primarily eager to observe the incredibly talented women perform their hearts out on the slopes. However, they might be a bit curious about one tiny detail: Why do female snowboarders leave two strands of hair out to frame their face? Keep reading to find out.

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Why do female snowboarders leave their hair out?

If you've been keeping up with women's snowboarding this Winter Olympics, then chances are you've noticed that most of the competitors have a few face-framing strands of hair peeking out of their headgear — what's up with that?

Well, it turns out this is a gender-signaling type of style known as a slut strand — OK, what?!

Before we go on, we want to say that in this context, the term isn't an insult; in fact, it describes the two strands of hair that "the ladies of skiing and snowboarding [wear] to express femininity under all [that] gear."

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Elsa Grace popularized the phrase and turned it into a society of sorts. She grew up in Crested Butte, Colo., and spent most of her life surrounded by skiers and snowboarders.

According to the Slut Strand Society's about page, Elsa's father is the one who came up with the expression. After returning from a round of skiing, Elsa began embroidering beanies. Eventually, her father turned to her and said, "Sick slut strands, girl.” Elsa writes, "I shot back with a, 'Le Duh, I am the captain of the Slut Strand Society.'” And that's how the movement was born.

Doesn't "slut strand" seem a bit harsh? Elsa doesn't think so.

As expected, the term "slut" has a historically damaging usage in the female snowboarding and skiing community, so Elsa chose to turn things around and reclaim it as "a platform where two simple strands of hair pull people into community. A community where everyone is welcomed to the party."

Well, you learn something new every day!

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