Since we are such big fans of all things related to the slopes, we had to create a collection inspired by our love for fresh pow-pow, zipping down a groomer and enjoying an après ski cocktail. Check out the Ski Wknd Clutch, Ski Wknd Tote, and the Ski Wknd Traveler Bag for the perfect slopeside accessories.
Feeling the sun, wind and flying down a mountain are all things we adore about skiing, but we won't lie that we look forward to après-ski as much as we look forward to gliding down the slopes.
Come day's end, regardless of snow conditions or tram laps completed, the good times will roll on a sun-washed deck, in a stuffy dive bar, or across a sprawling base village "beach" complete with local draft beers and a live band playing pop country covers. All the more reason to be grateful to our Nordic ancestors who invented après-ski, our friends in the Alps who coined the term, and our European adventurers who brought the time-honored tradition to the slopes of US ski resorts.
Après ski is not merely the art of getting sloshed with friends after a day on the slopes. The tradition comes from a much more refined practice of ending a long, cold day with spiked cider or mulled wine, huddling with friends to unwind before heading home for household responsibilities. Granted, it later shifted into the more raucous scenes of the popular Alps and the Andes, where some skiers went the way of massive parties, swanky clubs, and even the practice of all-day après. Today it can take on many forms: from a Glühwein on a slopeside hut in Chamonix to shotskis on a bar in Colorado. Regardless, après ski is a part of ski culture to be enjoyed by all. When it comes to après skiing like a pro in North America, there are some key things to consider to ensure the best possible experience. Keep reading for our 6 rules of après ski.
1. Kick back, relax and let yourself have fun.
Après ski started with the sole purpose of connecting with friends after a great day on the slopes, reliving the good moments, and laughing about the others. Après is the time to let go, to recognize that a day on the slopes is a good day, to enjoy good music, good drinks, and good stories with great company.
2. Know the way home.
This may sound silly, but ski towns can get tough to navigate once the sun goes down. Make sure you know your way home pre and post drink sessions. Towards mid-March especially, you'll find more and more après happenings on the mountain: whether they're official gatherings at lodge decks or unofficial shindigs in secret woodsy spots. Regardless, remember that you need to ski down – and if you're in a slopeside rental that requires lift access, be sure you'll be able to get there after lifts close.
3. Bring your sunnies, hand warmers, and your shoes.
Back in the day, après was always enjoyed boots-still-on. These days, après can be an all-day (or all-night) affair, and it's best to be prepared. Stash sunglasses for sunny spring days, extra hand warmers and layers for chilly evenings when the sun goes down, and comfortable shoes so you can party long into the night sans clunky ski boots. If you happen to head to a luxury lounge, there might be a boot check and slippers available. Most resorts have small day lockers where you can stash your stuff – snag one early before they run out on busy weekends.
4. Get the bar's best drink.
At the Spur in Jackson Hole, it's the spicy margarita; at The Montage in Deer Valley, it's the spiked hot chocolate, and anywhere out West, it's the happy meal: a shot of whiskey and a PBR tallboy. Wherever you are, resist the urge to get your usual happy hour libation and opt for the bar's specialty cocktail. It's the best way to get a taste of the mountain town culture, and the bartender might tell you the story behind the drink as well.
5. Follow a local.
By now, it's a well-known fact that the best way to find the most happening spots on a ski getaway (or any vacation, for that matter) is to follow the locals. Ask around. I know it's more comfortable reading reviews and insider guides, but this is the time to strike up a conversation instead. In mountain towns, the residents who live and breathe the skiing lifestyle always have the low down on the best places to après on any given day. One slopeside bar may have been "the place to be" last Friday, but a little-known hole in the wall dive tucked away somewhere in the base village may have the best specials this week. If you want the hottest party, this is your best shot.
6. Look for live music.
The best après parties are the ones with live music – always. Whether it's a favorite local band rocking out under the tram dock or solo pianist jazzing in the Four Seasons lounge, there's something about live music that sets the stage for good après times. One of our favorites is Belly Up in Aspen. This legendary live music venue is tiny, always packed, and it brings some of the best musicians in the country to a small, isolated mountain town. The rumors about the big-name acts are no joke, as everyone from Wyclef Jean and Pitbull to SEAL, John Legend, and Lynyrd Skynyrd have graced the stage. Except for a few age-restricted shows (check the calendar just to be sure), this is a family-friendly spot, so whether you're seeing a local cowboy crooner or Widespread Panic, you can bring the whole group along. Stick to bars with outside venues on sunny spring afternoons, and opt for those raucous ski bar classics on chilly weekends in January. If throwing back shotskis of Jaeger on the bar isn't your scene, head to luxury hotel lounges, which often boast super crafty cocktails, outdoor fire pits, and comfy couches.
Check out the Ski Wknd Clutch, Ski Wknd Tote, and the Ski Wknd Traveler Bag for any of your upcoming winter trips! They are the perfect bag for any ski trip. We'd love to hear about your ski travels in the comments below. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.