The past off-season felt like an eternity. Elongated by the abrupt ending to the 2019-2020 ski season, us ski bums were left waiting far longer than we would ever want to. Now that it's here ski season comes with a bunch of rules to follow thanks to Covid. Wearing masks, limited menus, no indoor dining, little to no après ski.
Wait! What!? No après ski?
Well, not in the traditional sense that we have come to expect over the years. As it stands now, après ski is as limited as the day passes at our favorite resorts. Dancing on tables to live music while drinking beers and mingling with others that you've never met seems to be a thing of the past. But that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun after you stop shredding the gnar for the day. After all, if you don't après ski, were you ever really skiing at all? NOPE!
Time to Bring Back the Après Ski Tailgate Party
This season's après ski will just take a little forethought and some creativity. That's why they created tailgating. Yup, the pastime that was once reserved for warm spring skiing days is having a comeback the likes of Lazarus. It's no longer a spring thing. It's time to turn your truck into your own personal base lodge complete with a full working bar and restaurant. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration but with these five tips, you are bound to have your ski tailgate essentials in order and crush your next ski tailgate party.
Planning Ahead is Key
Photo courtesy of Rovr Instagram page @rovrproducts
Failure to plan is planning to fail. Truth be told, I had no idea what to expect when I visited local ski resort Shawnee Mountain for the first time this winter. However, when talking to my friend the morning before who, along with his family, joined us for the day I mentioned that I'd be packing food and drinks in a cooler, just in case. Well, 'just in case' certainly came in handy that day.
To their credit, Shawnee is encouraging tailgating on their website in order to reduce traffic around the lodge area. It's not that Shawnee didn't have anything to eat or drink, they did. However the lack of indoor dining at the time in Pennsylvania made things a bit more challenging. So after a beer or two on their deck we headed back to the cars to indulge in the snacks and craft beers that I packed in my Rovr Cooler that I brought from home.
Can It My Friend
Photo courtesy of 10 Barrel Brewing Instagram page @10barrelbrewing
I love beers in a bottle but they are not conducive to successful tailgating. Cans are far better. They are more environmentally friendly. They are easier to pack and allow you to fit more in your cooler. And, finally they are extremely easy to dispose of. Just stomp on them and toss them in the garbage. It's also important to mention that most craft breweries have shifted away from bottling and you can now find your favorites in cans these days.
Bring Extra Seating and Table
Photo courtesy of Big Agnes Instagram page @bigagnes_
Obviously, standing in the parking lot while tossing back a few beers is an option. However, after a full day in ski boots do you really want to stand any more than you have to? If you have a pickup truck just opening the tailgate will work for that all important bench. Even an SUV can work in this capacity to a certain degree, but tossing extra foldable chairs and a table in your trunk is a good idea.
Big Agnes makes great products like the Mica Basin Camp Chair and the Woodchuck Camp Table that work perfectly. They are lightweight, comfortable and, most importantly, easily packable which is a necessity when you have a trunk filled with ski and snowboard gear.
Blankets Come in Handy
Photo courtesy of Rumpl Instagram page @gorumpl
Tailgating in the middle of winter comes with an earlier sunset and much colder temps than in the spring. You need to be prepared for this because whiskey will not keep you warm on your own. After all, part of the joy of lodge life is warming up. To do so at your truck you will want to bring a good, durable blanket and some hand warmers. This is especially true if you are educating your children in the fine art of ski tailgating. Hand and foot warmers bought in bulk from Costco are a great. With three young kids, I load up every year. I'd also recommend a blanket or two from Rumpl like the NanoLoft Puffy Blanket. They are built for the outdoors and are guaranteed to keep you warm.
Leave it Better Than you Found It
This goes without saying. We are involved in a sport whose industry prides itself on sustainability. Don't be the guy who leaves his beer cans and empty bags of chips for someone else to clean up. Be sure to pack trash bags, paper towels and whatever else you'll need to insure that your space is better than the way you found it.
Where will you be tailgating on the mountain this winter? Let us know in the comments section below. I plan on taking to the parking lot almost everywhere I visit. As long as your with your close friends and family it will be a ton of fun. And as far as those colder temps go, don't worry this après ski brand is here to help out. Our Après All Day Beanie is the perfect après ski hat for keeping your head warm while our Custom Wooden Koozies keep your beers cold. Cheers!