What does apres ski really mean?
EAGLE COUNTY – Some people religiously follow their ski day with some sort of ritual. When your legs are feeling it at the end of the day, it’s a toss up for some between beer and blues, Tylenol and a sauna, or, as the case may be, a round of laser tag. A hot soak seems to be the consensus for how best to end a day on the hill, but, depending on where each skier is coming from, his or her age and familiarity with altitude, skiers and snowboarders have different ideas about their ideal apres activity.In a place where there are ample apres ski drink specials, musicians and happy hours, a random chair lift survey at Vail yielded an array of specimens who would take a hot tub over a bar hoe-down any day.
“I love to relax and go to the hot tub, and then go out and walk around and have dinner,” said Annie Suarez of Texas, who was in town for the week with her husband, Juan Carlos, and son, Carlos. “Not every time it happens. Sometimes we can’t get out of the hot tub. It depends on how tired we are.”Even more important than a hot tub is a place to stretch one’s legs after a day on the slopes, according to Juan Carlos. He and his family typically enjoy a stroll around Vail Village every night.”It’s great for us,” he said. “We’re not the happy-hour type. Walking around Vail – that’s entertainment enough. But for the kids, we haven’t found enough to do.” Carlos, 10, enjoys nothing more than following his day of snowboarding with a few trips down the tubing hill at Adventure Ridge. “I also like laser tag,” he said. “It’s inside the building at Adventure Ridge.”
“I would like to see something like Adventure Ridge at the base of the mountain, so you don’t have to go back up at the end of the day and freeze,” his father added. “We like to find a good, relaxing place for us, not a bar with too much excitement. The hot tub is a great thing.”Of course, not everyone has easy access to a hot tub. But those who don’t sometimes seek one out.”Last week we were out with the Over the Hill Gang,” said Jack Halley from Australia, who, along with his buddy, Nick Vanderspek from New Zealand, is living in Vail for the winter and working as a bus driver. “One of the ladies invited us back to her place with a hot swimming pool in Potato Patch. That was just delightful. With a bottle of beer on the side of the pool, just soaking away … that’s really good.” “If you had that, why wouldn’t you do it every day?” Vanderspek pointed out. “We spent the last afternoon over at the base on the deck of (the Tap Room). It’s nice to be there having a drink in the sun.”
The gates to happy hourThe Tap Room is one of several bars in Vail Village that provides an opportunity for skiers to continue their turns at the end of the day with the Bridge Street Slalom, a pub crawl of sorts where participating bars each offer different specials every Wednesday.”I met up with a guy from Chicago the other day,” Halley said. “He comes across here four days each month to ski. When he finishes every day, he likes to go to Pepi’s Bar where somebody’s playing the guitar, then he goes across to Christiana’s to see someone who’s playing the accordion. He likes that sort of entertainment. To me, bars are noisy, and sometimes you’re standing up. I like to sit down and relax.”Of course, once you’ve put enough days on the mountain – as a lifestyle, let’s say – the whole notion of aprés ski is virtually nonexistent.
“We usually end up going home,” said local Jeff Rogish, who was skiing with fellow local Aaron Burwell earlier this week. “There are no rituals. Maybe we have a couple beers, hang out, see if there’s a soccer game on or anything. That’s a daily event.” “I’ve been here for 10 years. I’m married with kids,” Burwell said. “I’ve been here, done that. Plus, a 30-pack of PBR is cheaper at the liquor store than a whole afternoon of happy hours. There’s always something I need to do at home after I’m done skiing. We’re boring specimens.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado