Après Ski & Wine
Après Ski & Wine
If you’ve been following my Instagram account for a while, you’re likely familiar with my “Après Ski Sunday” series. When I moved to Colorado I was ecstatic to learn to ski. I’d skied once in high school with a friend – although I’m not sure you can call what I did skiing – before taking up snowboarding during my years in Southern California, which I equally struggled with. So, when I moved to Colorado, I knew I wanted to embrace the culture and lifestyle here, and as an avid outdoors woman giving skiing another shot was first up on the docket. Now, four ski seasons later, I basically live for ski season, pow days (fresh powdery snow for you non-skiing types), and of course…après ski! This was the inspiration for my Sunday Instagram series.
Not familiar with après ski? Let me fill you in. Après is one of the few French words I am quite familiar with, and it means “after.” Quite simply, après ski means after skiing. The cultural meaning, or implied meaning, is much deeper though. We wouldn’t call “après ski” doing laundry or taking a nap, instead, “après ski” implies a ski culture tradition of imbibing in local beverages. Simply put, après ski is post-skiing happy hour, and a happy hour is something I am always ready for!
Après ski can take on a different meaning depending on the ski resort or country. Each ski area or ski resort here Colorado has a slightly nuanced culture different from the other resorts. The Texans, for example have overrun Breckenridge and totally ruined the après ski culture there in my opinion. At Loveland, the après ski culture is chill, drinks are relatively inexpensive, and people relaxed. At Loveland après ski happens in the parking lot as a tailgate, or at the benches and tables outside their unassuming lodge. Further up I-70 in Vail and in Aspen the après ski culture is entirely different, with fur coats, expensive cocktails, and out of this world dining. Post-skiing happy hours are slightly different at each ski area or ski resort.
How do I après? Well, it depends on the day, the conditions, and how long I’ve skied. But for the most part my après ski style is a tailgate in the parking lot before heading into town for a drink and dinner. One of the reasons I started my “Après Ski Sunday” series, however, was to showcase wine instead of the usual craft beer found at an après tailgate. I’m not a big fan of beer, partly because I can’t eat wheat or whole grains, and partly because most beer gives me an immediate headache, and in general tastes disgusting to me. In Colorado that statement is practically sacrilege, I know. I don’t care though, I’m here with the après ski wine and a call to pop corks slope side – er, or in the ski resort parking lot.
My tips for après ski are simple, bring a wine you like and drink it after skiing. Prefer sipping on the mountain or on the gondola or chair lift? Well drinking on the gondola or lift chair is actually frowned upon, and is illegal at some resorts, so I can’t encourage it here, but if you were to – hypothetically of course – pop a top in that situation I would recommend canned wine. Though I’m typically not a proponent of canned wine, they are really ideal in this situation. Canned wines offer a slimmer, smaller, and more durable design making them easy to carry in a ski jacket pocket. Cans also pack more than one serving of wine per can, but less than a full bottle, which is also perfect for après.
When I’m back at my jeep and actually finished skiing though, I typically pop a bottle to share with friends. Popping a bottle at a tailgate is a perfect way to toast to the end of a ski day, and a great way to make new friends. One of my favorite things about skiing is how it brings people together, and how easy it is to make new friends. Don’t believe me? Just pop a bottle and ask if anyone nearby wants a glass of wine or bubbly and watch what happens.
Looking for après ski wine recommendations? Here’s a list of my favorites:
· Light whites like a dry Riesling or Chenin Blanc
· Medium bodied Chardonnay
· A jammy Zinfandel
· A Champagne, prosecco, or sparkling wine