Truth is, I love après ski and sometimes I even ski to get there. My wife, the snowboarder in the family, well, she's only in it for the après. Either way, come day's end you can find us both at a table in some mountain town dive bar or on the deck/patio of a ski resort lodge, beer in hand ready to celebrate the day. For some, that day's end comes a bit earlier than others. Don't worry, this is a no judgement blog here and chances are, one of us has probably been there with you. That's why we started our après ski brand.
How Après Ski Has Evolved
When the French first coined the phrase, après ski, I can hardly imagine that they thought it would elevate to the heights it has today. What started as a practice of sipping mulled wine or spiced cider as a way to wind down a bit prior to heading home has turned into a ski town social phenomenon. Why? It's simple, everyone can enjoy it.
How to Have the Best Après Ski Experience
Having a blast at Hunter Mountain
As an après ski brand, we like to pose the question, if you don't après ski, were you ever really skiing at all? Obviously not, but you need to be sure that you don't become that guy at the next post pow party. That said, here are a few key tips to consider to guarantee that you have the best experience when your day of shredding the gnar ends.
1. Live Like a Local
Local favorite Dave Tucker plays at Vail's Red Lion.
The locals, no matter what mountain town you are in, know where the best après can be found. They live there so they are the absolute best resource. In fact, most of the information on this blog comes from my relationships with people in various ski towns across the country. This may seem obvious but still, most people are hesitant to strike up a conversation and find out where to go, what to eat, what to drink, etc. Being social is what après ski is all about and the locals know where the goods are stashed. So ask them. I promise, they won't bite.
2. Kids Love Après Ski Too
All smiles after a day on the mountain
Take it from a guy who has three children 11 and under, the sooner you get your kids to appreciate après ski the better your overall experience will be. I'm not talking about banging back beers with underage children but rather integrating them into the art of being social after skiing. Buy them a hot chocolate and a slice of pizza, get them their own table with their friends and encourage them to share their ski day experience. My friends and I all have kids and what I just described is not an uncommon occurrence. They all love talking about Mountain Camp at Mount Snow or their first powder day. Trust me, your kids will love it just as much as you and you'll thank me for it in the long run.
3. Enjoy the Food
Buffalo Tartar at Vail's Game Creek Grill
In an effort to attract more guests on a regular basis, ski resorts have upped the culinary ante. That is to say, they are doing amazingly creative things with food these days and you need to partake. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, après ski or dinner the food offerings have come a long way from a burger and fries in a cup that we used to get in the lodge cafeteria. Dutch Babies, Gourmet Grilled Cheese, Ahi Tuna Nachos, Grass Fed Beef...I can go on and on but bottom line is you need to try it.
4. Craft beer is King but Try Other Spirits Too
Hanging with my boys from Old Town Cellars, The Official Wine of Apres
Nothing beats an ice cold craft beer after a day of shredding pow. Thirst quenchingly tasty, it just hits the spot. With so many craft breweries popping up in and around ski towns plus a larger distribution of beers from independent craft breweries across country, your choices are innumerable. However, beer isn't the only craft option at mountain town bars these days. Distilleries, cideries and even wineries are providing skiers and snowboarders with a bevvy (see what I did there) of options to drink.
Branch out and give a craft cocktails made with local spirits a try. Or, whet your whistle with a local wine, like the official wine of apres, Old Town Cellars. Variety is the spice of life and nobody likes a prejudiced drinker anyway. Cheers.
5. Accessorize for Comfort
Beanies and sunglasses are necessities.
Accessorizing has been a thing in the fashion world for years but it is crucial to your success as well. In fact, we have our own line of après ski t-shirts and sweatshirts, hats and accessories designed for this very reason. There are so many great companies out there producing amazing gear that it would be silly not to take advantage of them.
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Protect your eyes from the sun with some sweet shades. Get comfortable and stylish in a fun sweater or flannel. Hide your helmet hair with a soft beanie. And, please, please please get out of your ski boots and into a pair of comfortable ones. I know some people like dancing in the ski boots and I have been known to do the same but what seems like a good idea at the time will get you the next day.
6. Strike up a Conversation
Meeting New People at Mount Snow
As an après ski brand we understand the significance of being social in this atmosphere. It is not uncommon for us to chat people up in the lift line, on the lifts and at the bar. In fact, it has resulted in some of our greatest all time stories. Like for example the time that we shared PBR's on the lift at 10 am with a couple of dudes that we met riding up. Then the exact same time the following day we randomly rode the lift with them again and enjoyed some more breakfast PBR's. Ahhhhh, it doesn't get better.
Striking up a conversation with fellow skiers and snowboarders will make your day even more fun. So go ahead and put the damn phone down and make some new friends, it's more than worth it.
7. GET HOME SAFELY
All of the above tips are useless if you are not a responsible adult. Getting sloshed at the bar and taking the shuttle home is one thing. Driving home hammered is quite another. Good times are only good if handled responsibly. So do us all a favor and please check your keys at the door and be safe. This way you can wake up and do it all again tomorrow.