Most ski resorts tend to load their first chair for the public around 9:00am and stop spinning their lifts around 4:00pm. That leaves a big chunk of time to enjoy the post-skiing vibe after a day on the hill. While it’s great to get out there and mingle with fellow riders, you don’t necessarily want (or need) to spend all your money on expensive après activities to make the most of your night.
Having been a full-time ski bum, a weekend warrior and a short-term visitor at different ski areas throughout my life, I’ve found a bunch of fun – and cost-friendly – ways to enjoy après ski. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
CHECK OUT LOCAL EVENTS
Is there a park jibbing competition, a concert or a festival happening that evening? Maybe a pro freeskier or outdoors sports photographer is giving a presentation nearby? Do a little online research, drop by the visitor info centre or check out local bulletin boards to find out about free or fairly cheap events in the area.
KEEP THE ENERGY GOING
If you’re still craving more time in the snow, look into night skiing – some places charge less than $30 a ticket so this can be a way to get more time on the slopes. If you’ve had enough of your ski boots but still have energy to burn, the larger ski resorts often have lots to do beyond skiing and snowboarding, like indoor rock climbing or bouldering.
RELAX AND UNWIND
After ripping down runs all day, you might want to just chill. If the place you’re staying at has a hot tub (or if you know someone else who does), go for a dip; some places let you use the tub for a day fee. Other ideas? Check out the local community centre to use their hot tub, go for a swim or take part in a yoga class. Afterwards, treat yourself to a classic ski movie and sit back with something warm to sip.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP
After last run, ski town locals and visitors usually end up in a lounge somewhere at the base of the mountain to swap stories. Regardless of ability level, everyone who made it up the mountain has a story to share from their day, so this is a great way to meet up with friends and recap what’s happened since first chair. This is also where you may be able to get the inside scoop on powder stashes by chatting with resort staff.
MAKE MONEY (WHILE SAVING MONEY)
Earn some extra bucks at a job that begins after the lifts stop, like bartending or waiting tables. This not only allows you to ski to your heart’s content during the day but also helps you replenish your savings. Since you’re working at night, you won’t be tempted to go out and grab food and drinks with friends… and that new ski equipment you’ve been eyeing may soon be within reach.
PREP FOR THE NEXT DAY
Whenever the forecast shows more than 15cm of snow coming down overnight, I make it a rule to skip the night out and get a good sleep so I’m ready to line up early for first chair.
Even if the forecast isn’t that great, I’ll sometimes still bypass typical après activities so I can tune my skis and examine backcountry maps to get ready for the next day. After all, a ski bum values having an awesome skiing experience above all else.