Après ski is a French phrase that translates into "after ski," but it has come to define all manners of social activities that transpire after a day of skiing and snowboarding. These social activities tend revolve around restaurants and bars, especially those on or close to the mountain. However, as a father of three kids, hanging in a bar isn't always feasible. Trust me, my girls have been raised to appreciate a fun après ski scene and are as good as any in these situations. However, spending many hours post ski at the mountain does not always result in happy faces and often times it is best to just have a beer while they have their hot chocolates and head back to our house.
Après ski at Home is a Completely Different Game
At home après ski is a completely different game than heading out to a bar or a restaurant. When going out, the food, drinks and entertainment are readily available to you but being in the confines of your house requires a bit more planning and preparation to assure optimal success. That said, here are a few tips to help guarantee that the next time you take the post ski party to your house you'll be more than ready.
1. Stock the Pantry With Snacks
You and your peeps just got done slaying pow for the day and that can really suck the life out of you. You'll need to replace those energy stores with some tasty treats prior to whipping up dinner. Make a list of what snacks you all enjoy, including the kids and purchase them prior to heading on your trip. Buying ahead of time, at home and in bulk, at wholesale stores like Costco will save your group money and give you more options. Chips, cheese, dips, etc. are all simple and effective options. Looking to be a bit more sophisticated? Find a few simple après ski appetizer recipes online and make them ahead of time. When you serve them up back at the house, your friends will greatly appreciate it.
2. Don't Forget the Craft Beer and Spirits
This may seem obvious but I never like to assume. Be sure to stock that fridge with tasty craft beers and your liquor cabinets with your favorite wine or spirit. The last thing you want to do is have to make a pit stop on the way home and delay the fun. Plus said pit stop can result in a lot of angry passengers who are looking to keep the fun rolling.
Bringing your bevvy of choice from home isn't the worst idea but you may want to stop a little closer to where you are staying and purchase your drinks there. Do so will shorten the time that the excess bulk has to be carried in your car while allowing you to drink more local craft beer and spirit offerings. There are so many great breweries, wineries and distilleries popping up in and around ski towns that it would be a shame not to give them a try.
3. Pre-Make and Freeze Your Dinners
You will absolutely thank me for this one. The last thing anyone is going to want or have the energy to do when they return to the house is cook an elaborate dinner. Avoid doing so by making your food at home a few days ahead of time and freezing it. This ultimately solves a couple of problems. Freezing it will lock in the freshness but also allow the packages to serve as a pseudo ice pack for your cooler as you drive to your destination. I regularly drive four or more hours to Vermont and the food stays frozen in my Yeti Backflip and keeps the other contents cold as well.
When trying to determine what to make it is best to go with the KISS (keep it simple stupid) philosophy. Stick to the après ski food classics. Comfort food like pulled pork, chili or meatballs with sauce can be packaged easily into zip lock freezer bags and are super easy to heat up when dinner time rolls around.
If you are with a group have each couple take a night and come up wit the menu. Decide ahead of time what everyone will make so that there are no overlaps and then have at it. You're life will be so much easier as a result.
4. Après Ski Music and a Speaker are a Must
What is après ski without some good music? Ummmmmm...nothing. Duh. There is a reason that most ski town bars have live music regularly. Good tunes equals good vibes and you'll want to keep that going back at the pad. Don't forget to pack your portable speaker. I usually roll with Kicker Bullfrog BF100. It's small so it travels well and the sound quality is incredible. The real key though is that it is waterproof and floats so if there happens to be a hot tub sesh going down it can come outside with you with no worries. Make your own playlist ahead of time or use our All About Après ski classics list that we created on Spotify. This way no one has to play DJ for the night.
5. Bring Fun Games and Activities for All
Good conversation is always the basis of an excellent après ski pow wow but at some point your stories of the sick lines you shredded and the big air you caught that day are going to get old. That doesn't mean the fun has to end though. In fact, that is where is begins. It's time to bust out some fun games or activities that can get everyone involved.
Jenga is my go to. It doesn't take up much space when traveling and is always a crowd pleaser. Cards Against Humanity is another fun one. The Charades or Heads Up apps on your phone also provide some laughs without the added baggage while traveling.
The kids love games too and at least my oldest daughter has been known to jump in on a game of Jenga or two. Sometimes a good movie is the best fit for them though. It will help them relax after the long day on the slopes. Often times they'll even fall asleep giving them an early jump on some much needed rest so they and you are ready to do it all over again the next day.