A Guide to Après-Ski

After a long day on the slopes, actions that wouldn't normally fly are socially acceptable

click to enlarge Life's just a bit different on the mountain. - WHITEFISH MOUNTAIN RESORT
Whitefish Mountain Resort
Life's just a bit different on the mountain.
<p class="dropSerif">There's no other social gathering quite like après-ski, commonly known just as "après" at ski bars all around the world. It's a gathering of skiers and snowboarders from all walks of life. The gathering doesn't define anyone by what they do, how much they make, the car they drive or the house they live in, but by the day they all just shared together on the mountain.

It goes further than this, though. Après-ski is where actions that would not normally fly in any other bar setting are socially acceptable. Here are a few of the social norms that can only be found, and fully accepted, at après.

At après, it is socially acceptable — and a rite of passage — to flaunt your base layer that you haven't washed after wearing them three or four times. We quickly realize an unfortunate feature about technical fabric: Once "the stink" has settled in, no number of washings, or strength of detergents, can get rid of that smell that only comes from long days on the mountain and repeated wears between washings.

At après, no matter how bad a dancer you are, you'll always be the king or queen of the bar, because no matter what kind of day you had on the mountain, dancing in ski boots is always epic.

At après, taking your boots off, lounging in your ski socks and sometimes staying that way for an unusually long time is a regular occurrence. Once you've surgically removed your ski boots after a long day on the slopes, nothing feels quite as good as not having to put them on again. Even if it means ski socks on the dance floor.

At après, ordering a pitcher of beer with one pint glass doesn't get you a second look. It doesn't matter if the entire pitcher is only for you, though usually it's meant to be shared with fellow après-skiers, toasting the day's adventures.

At après, you can get called out for being in a ski bar if you actually didn't ski that day.

At après, it's a rite of passage, on those not-so-great days, to get "first tracks" at the bar at 11am.

At après, it's socially acceptable to pay $5 for a PBR tallboy. ♦

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About The Author

Jen Forsyth

Jen Forsyth is the editor of the Snowlander series.