Sante, salute, prost: Learn how to apres with the world, Vail |

Sante, salute, prost: Learn how to apres with the world, Vail

Katie Coakley
Daily Correspondent
Four women take a "shot-ski" of Jagermeister in Pepi's bar while enjoying the apres hour in Vail on Jan. 29.
Townsend Bessent | |

Hang at their ‘house’

Want to get up-close-and-personal with the athletes? Check out the opportunities at the different “houses.” For example, Bully Ranch will become the German House during the World Championships. The central hub for celebration and activity with the German Ski Team, Bully is where the athletes will be hanging out every night.

To attend — and practice spricht Deutsch — purchase tickets ahead of time or try for a walk-in space. Pre-sold tickets are $175 per person, which includes a three-course German meal with beer, wine and live entertainment. Tickets can be purchased by calling 970-479-5435 or emailing

The world is coming to Vail and Beaver Creek for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, and while Coloradans are well-versed in how to apres in the Rocky Mountains, traditions, languages and even drinks are different in other countries. In order to maintain diplomatic relations, it’s necessary to know how to party with the people from around the globe. Luckily, the Vail Valley is full of international residents who are willing to share their knowledge, and we got the insider tips for this cultural happening. So brush off your social skills and get ready to raise a glass — it’s time to apres with the world.


Stefan Schmid, general manager at the Sonnenalp Hotel

Schmid, who is from Hidelang, Germany, described the apres scene as having great energy with authentic Bavarian music, often with an accordion and guitar, singing, yodeling and everyone having fun. The community tables make it so that everyone feels welcome.

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “You must be from Europe because of your accent,” or “Can I join in the group? It looks like you guys have so much fun celebrating,” or “Can I have a Prost with you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Stefan said. “You’re in. It doesn’t matter with apres ski.”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Apres starts with hot, spiced wine known as “gluehwein,” and then progresses on to Jagertee — gluehwein with schnapps (after two, you start dancing on the table, Schmid said), then beer and then schnapps.

What do you say to “cheers” in Germany? Prost!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Germany? “Apres ski becomes a big part of skiing, especially when the temperatures get warmer,” Schmid said. “You can take one run and apres ski. There’s really not much skiing. You do that in January. In March, skiing becomes secondary to apres ski. Apres ski is the big thing. It’s a fun group activity where friends meet after skiing and celebrate the good times.”


Simone Larese, owner of The Blu Cow

Larese, whose mother and father are from Australia and Austria, respectively, has perspective on both cultures and their apres ski habits. Apres ski in Australia can be somewhat tame, Simone said: “It’s not like we’re going around chasing kangaroos.”

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “So, what do you think of American women?”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Fosters beer.

What do you say to “cheers” in Australia? Let’s get flat out like a lizard drinkin’, mate!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Australia? “At the end of the day,” Larese said, “whether Australian or Austrian, may we celebrate our love of the mountains on common ground … at the pub! G’day!”


Pascal Coudouy, chef and co-owner of Gore Range Brewery

Coudouy grew up in the French Pyrenees and describes apres not as a few-hours-long event, but more of a lifestyle — one that lasts all day.

“There is no apres in France — we drink all day,” Coudouy explained. “It’s all apres. When you go skiing, you go for lunch and have a one-hour lunch. You have wine and coffee, then go back skiing. Then after skiing, the drink is beer. Then you go get changed and by 7 p.m. you’re out again, then start drinking an aperitif and then dinner.”

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “Where are you from?” or “What brought you here?”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Wine with lunch, then beer: “We drink classics,” Coudouy said, “Belgian beer, French beer, pale ale — nothing strong or hard beer.” Then it’s on to an aperitif before dinner.

What do you say to “cheers” in France? A la votre!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Austria? “It’s an all-day party,” Coudouy said. “It’s not just apres ski. I remember we used to ski in the French Alps — we ski hard in the morning. After lunch, you start to relax, then you ski another two hours, then it’s party time. It is what it is. Skiing and partying in France, it’s together. But you don’t get completely wasted — you just have a good time. That’s all you have to know — you just have a good time.”


Tessa Manning, owner of Tessa Clogs

Manning, who is originally from Sweden, explains that apres there is an all-out party.

“Apres is a lot crazier there than here,” she said. “If a Swede goes for apres, it’s a full on party.”

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “Can I buy you a beer?”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Beer and schnapps — whatever is offered. Jagermeister for shots.

What do you say to “cheers” in Sweden? Skal!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Sweden? “Prepare to be in your ski boots until midnight,” Coudouy said. Of course, not everyone participates in apres all night. “It’s not something that you do every day.”


Sheika Gramshammer, of Pepi’s and the Gastof Gramshammer

Sheika Gramshammer and her husband Pepi just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Hotel Gastof Gramshammer, but the two are originally from Austria.

“In Austria, for apres, you can get a feeling of relaxed or get crazy,” Gramshammer said. “The main reason is to meet new friends or gather with old friends. You talk about which run you did, how many runs you did, then of course there is a little flirting going on and a lot of catching up. It’s a fun sport. In addition to skiing, the best sport is apres.”

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “Americans are very good at this — you just say ‘Hi’ and ask ‘Where are you from?’ ‘How did you come here?’ ‘How do you like it here?’” Gramshammer said. “Just a friendly word to say welcome and how are you? And then further the conversation.”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Gluehwein or hot cider, but it’s really whatever you prefer — beer and wine is OK, too. Then there’s the Jagermeister. “It cures and kills everything,” according to Gramshammer.

What do you say to “cheers” in Austria? Prost!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Austria? The most important thing, Gramshammer said, is to learn a little bit about the personality about Austria and to learn a few new words — make an effort to learn the language such as danke (thank you) and bitte (please). “Prost is very important,” she said. “When you know that word, you can go any place with it.”


Marco Tonazzi, owner of Valbruna

Tonazzi, who hails from the village of Valbruna in the Julian Alps, said that apres in Italy is “another opportunity to do our favorite thing — spending time with friends, enjoying what Italians love the most: good food, good wine and good friends.”

Best opening line to get a conversation started: “We usually don’t need an icebreaker,” Tonazzi said. “Once you are talking, food or the favorite soccer team are good subjects of conversation.”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Wine is a popular choice, as is beer (a small beer is known as “birretta”). However, on the slopes in a rifugio, the “Bombardino” is the way to go for apres. The basic ingredients are a base of Vov, which is an egg liquor, and whipped cream.

What do you say to “cheers” in Italy? Salute! Or Cincin, from the sound that glasses make when you toast. “Most importantly, you always look at people right in the eyes when you toast, or else it would be seven years of bad … luck!” Tonazzi cautioned. “Often, in the mountains, you also hit the table with your glass to toast all who cannot be there, a way of always remembering good friends.”

What is the one thing you should know about apres in Italy? “In my region, we like to say that ‘You can’t leave each other like dogs’ when someone wants to leave,” Tonazzi explained. “That means that differently than dogs that might hang around each other for a while and then just go on their own way, we as people can’t leave each other without celebrating … with one more drink!”


Daniel Joly, chef and owner of Mirabelle

Originally from Belgium, chef Joly describes apres in Belgium as “fun with no pretension.” Like with many sports, apres is the reward after the exercise of skiing. “Everyone sees it a different way,” he said. “Some may like a coffee and tart and some may like a caloric liquid.”

What’s the best opening line to get a conversation started: “Just be yourself,” Joly said. “Belgians like to help out and are happy to be in a conversation — mostly if you’re buying the cocktails.”

What is the drink of choice for apres? Though we all know about the Belgians and their beers, Joly said that champagne is a great option after a good day on the hill.

What do you say to “cheers” in Belgium? Sante!

What is the thing you should know about apres in Belgium? “You might forget your skis or maybe start to see double,” Joly warned. “Or just go for dinner in your ski pants!”

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