In the good old days, skiers coined the term après that time of day when one had earned the right to indulge and share their passion for powder and sport. Resort towns like Whistler can trace the inception of après culture back to hippy ski-bum days circa 1967. Today, it is a globally recognized social phenomenon and universal celebration that takes place after sport.
Clearly, certain things have evolved over the years but the core elements are consistent. It isn’t a full ski or sports day without après. Establishments like craft breweries and upscale restaurants capitalize on the continuous popularity and expansion of this cool sporting culture but overlook the basics. It’s not the atmosphere or the menu that make for great après but the following ingredients.
Cause for celebration: The core vibe of après is a celebration. Traditions may vary but the term itself is universally understood. Après is permission to party, to let your hair-down, raise a glass and celebrate the fact that you have conquered another epic day playing outdoors. Après can involve any number of people as long as they all share the same passion. They came together, they played hard together and then gathered in the late afternoon to toast the day.
Playing hard has rewards: Even though the ski and snowboard culture can take credit for putting après on the map, après Is no longer just something that happens slopeside. Whatever the season, whatever the sport, après must involve pushing yourself physically. Be it an epic powder day, a hard day on the trails or in the surf, après is the reward for hard earned efforts.
Drink of choice: Après is not about debauchery or hardcore partying but about pace and choices. Wines and spirits have their place but not during an après session. While poutine, wings and tapas are tempting and tasty, true après calls for beer and nachos.
Mandatory attire: Unless you are still clad in sports gear, it is not sanctioned as après. Though skis and snowboards will forever dominate the gear of après culture, it has recently expanded to include other sporting gear such as mountain biking, cramp-ons, ice skates, soccer cleats and more. Wearing your gear at the bar is mandatory.
Good company: Sharing is caring and the same goes for après. It’s all about comparing tales and epic moments over a nice cold brew with good peeps.
People place and time: No matter what season or sport, the principle remains the same. Get outside and challenge yourself and then go directly to a patio, restaurant or bar and party with friends. Après can start anytime post feat, but officially ends when the gear comes off.
When you break down the elements of après, the message is simple.
Rip up alpine, dirt or sea before you celebrate in good company.
The menu consists of nachos and beer but call it après only if still wearing your gear. Cheers