Curbed Ski might be a little late on the uptake with this one, but when writer Katie Shapiro discovered the @JerryoftheDay Instagram account over Christmas break (h/t Marge Saunders via Nick Courtens), she spent a solid few hours on it whilst hot boxing her parents basement. But it was only the audible LOL's that warranted a "What's going on down there?" from upstairs. What's going on is a viral sensation in ski towns worldwide dedicated to the "Jerry" – "an individual who exhibits a true lack of understanding for their sport, or for life in general" AKA a "gaper." The man behind the upside down ski goggles? Colton Hardy, 26, whose roots run deep in the New England ski scene. A Stratton, Vt. native, Hardy hit the slopes as soon as he could walk and went on to study and race at Stratton Mountain School (SMS).
"When we were growing up we were always calling out gapers on the mountain as 'Joey's' or 'Joe bags' but 'Jerry' kind of just took over as our SMS crew's token term for all dumbasses," says Hardy.
But it was during his days on the University of Vermont Ski Team where "Jerry of the Day" was officially born, first as a mobile upload on Facebook making fun of a teammate. It immediately caught on with the Catamounts, so Hardy launched a blog during his senior year in 2012. Already well known among the ski-racing world, the site was transferred to Instagram (along with Facebook and Twitter) during the summer of 2013. As of today, Hardy has close to 40,000 followers across all three social media accounts. He saw a surge in followers and submissions thanks to hits on Freeskier and New Schoolers late last year.
"I get about a hundred emails with photos and videos a day now. That doesn't include the stuff we're tagged in – it's crazy to keep up with it all," says Hardy. "I do get a lot of help from my old SMS and UVM buddies – there's a lot of group texting going on – especially coming up with captions and hashtags."
With a full time gig in sales for a tech company in Burlington, his free time for scouting "Jerry's" is pretty limited as weekend warrior at Stowe.
"I seriously would love for this to become a career for me – it's ridiculously fun and my dream is to host an official 'Jerry of the Day Day' at Stratton and then start expanding to different resorts," says Hardy. "I know that there's a real opportunity and I'm just figuring out ways to monetize it."
First up? A "First Team All Jerry" run of organic cotton tees available next week via Big Cartel.
Here's just a few prime examples of grade A "Jerry's," but just go follow every portal ASAP. Start sending your own sightings and tell 'em @CurbedSki (#CurbedSki) sent ya: email@example.com.
You're welcome and/or you've been warned.
· jerryoftheday [Instagram]
· Jerry of the Day [Twitter]
· Jerry of the Day [Facebook]
· The Giro Helmet/Goggle Combo Keeps Gaper Gap at Bay [Curbed Ski]
· Mapping the 12 Best Community Ski Hills in the West [Curbed Ski]
· All Worth 10,000 Words coverage [Curbed Ski]