What To Do After a Day of Skiing in 2021

We all know the 2021 season looks a little different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have some fun after a day out shredding with some friends.

Curated expert Chris Goodhue sitting with two pairs of skis in the back of his van

Photo by Curated expert Chris Goodhue

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You’ve been out zipping through corduroy and hitting every powder stash you can find since the lifts started turning early in the AM. Your legs are feeling beat, but you are still riding the high of sliding on snow. Now what?

In years past, you probably would head to the hillside bar for some après drinks. Think pitchers of beer, crowds, loud music, and maybe a drinking game or two. This year, that’s not going to happen. We all know the 2021 season looks a little different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have some fun after a day out shredding with some friends. Here are a few ideas of how to make the most of your new après time!

The Parking Lot is King

There is something special about the parking lot at the bottom of a ski area when the lifts stop spinning at the end of the day. It’s a place full of dropped truck tailgates, frosty beers, and stories being told about what you got into in that zone on the backside that day. This area is something to embrace this season!

Before you leave in the morning, make sure you pack a few bevies in the cooler, make a sandwich or two, and pick up a friend on the way to the mountain. Then when your day finishes, you have everything you need for your very own après bar in the parking lot. I can guarantee that you won’t be the only one out there, and there’s no better way to make some new friends than to swap ski stories over a few drinks. Just make sure that you pack enough of everything to share because nobody likes a party without enough supplies.

Man relaxing in a natural hot spring with his campervan and snowy mountains in the background

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan

Find Some Natural Hot Tubs

If the parking lot isn’t your scene—and you are west of the Mississippi river—you are going to want to look around for some natural hot springs. These are naturally occuring pools that are heated by the Earth. Basically, they are Mother Nature’s hot tubs.

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to find many of these out on the icy East Coast, but they can be plentiful out west. Make sure you check them out online ahead of time to make sure you know how hard it might be to get there, if you have to pay to use them, and what their policies are around COVID this year. More often, you’ll find that most hot springs are actually owned by a spa or other local company and they can charge a bit for you to use them. Paying this fee is a great way to give back our ski towns while we can’t be eating out and hanging out in their bars after hours.

You may just get lucky enough to find a truly natural hot spring. No fee, no infrastructure, just open land and steaming hot water. This is something to cherish; there are fewer and fewer untouched springs in North America, and they are becoming scarcer every year. The only way to find one might be through a local who is willing to give you some beta on their favorite spot, but don’t expect that to come easy. Just like you don’t want to tell anyone about that powder stash you found your first day of the trip, a local is not going to want to give away the springs they have been going to since the 90s. But if you do get the lowdown, make sure to keep it quiet. No one wants to show up to an already full pool.

Get Gourmet at Home

Without hitting the bar or restaurant in town this season, you will probably have to turn to the kitchen of your homebase to get you the energy you’ll need after a big day. Why not make the most of it?

Head down to the local grocery store and pick up something you wouldn’t usually cook. Make some steaks, try out that new recipe you just found on Instagram, get the kids in on the action and make a batch of cookies. The possibilities are endless and your tired muscles will thank you for the meal.

There are a lot of different directions you can go, but nothing feels better after a long day than some crispy roasted potatoes. Check out the recipe below for a foolproof way to make some of the crispiest potatoes you’ve ever had.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound of Potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Pinches of Salt
  • Pepper to Taste
  • Dash of Garlic Powder
  • Dash of Oregano
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes into 1” cubes. If you bought mini potatoes, this job is already done!
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Place potatoes in a pot with cool water. Bring potatoes and water to a boil over high heat.
  4. Once potatoes reach a boil, boil for 10 minutes or until a fork can easily reach the center of one of the 1” pieces.
  5. Drain potatoes and place in a large heat-proof mixing bowl.
  6. Add Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder and Oregano. Toss potatoes to coat.
  7. Place on a baking sheet and in the oven for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes.
  8. Once 15 minutes goes by, drizzle honey over the now crispy potatoes and finish with 2 more minutes in the oven.
  9. Enjoy!

Pair these potatoes with any of your other favorites and enjoy a meal that will get you ready to go when you want to catch first chair the next day!

Break Out the Games

From dice to board games to card games, games have always been part of mountain culture. They are a great way to pass time when the weather turns on a hut trip or when you have finished a big day in the backcountry. But this year, they can be a getaway after a long day on the lifts. With a deck of cards and a hand full of dice there are endless games you can play, and there is something for just about everyone. All it takes is a few minutes of Googling and you will have something that will work perfectly for what you’ve got and who you’ve got. Heck, maybe you even want to put some money on it to keep things interesting! At least it will be staying among friends.

So yeah, this year does look a little different after the lifts stop spinning, but that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. It gives us an excuse to take things a little slower, do some things we might never get a chance to otherwise, and stay stoked for the next day out there. So get out to those hot springs, break out your culinary skills, throw a few dice or just break open that cooler in the back of your truck. Don’t worry, your favorite packed bar at the base will be there next year to welcome you with open arms and cold pitchers.

Whatever it is you end up doing at the end of the day, just make sure you are doing it with your buddies. There may be no friends on a powder day, but a couple of parking lot beers are a lot more fun with company.

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Written By
Conor Doyle
Conor Doyle
Ski Expert
Skiing for over 12 years from Chicago to wherever there is snow. Spending summers dreaming of winters.
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