How to Après Like a Canadian, Eh

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is an Aussie travel writer and a self-confessed Snow It All who covers all things winter and ski.

Après is as big a part of skiing and snowboarding as, well, snow. And just like snow it can elevate your ski holiday to legendary status filled with local rituals, spirits, brews, and absurdities that you may or may not want to post on your social feed. If you après in British Columbia, then that status goes up a lumberjack notch (pun intended), with everything from heli-fondue to wiener roasts and flaming cocktails.

Speaking of hot, those burning their thighs on the beast that is Whistler Blackcomb head straight to Merlin’s and prepare to party. Fortify that après belly with some Vladimir Poutine crispy hot fries and cheese curds with gravy and wash it down with the biggest, baddest Bloody Caesar in history (think of it as another meal in a glass).

When the chairlifts close at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in the Interior, locals in the axe-throwing league (yes, that’s a thing) head to Peak Axe Throwing to sharpen their blade before hurling it at a log target. You don’t have to be in the league to do the same; Dustin the axe master will kit you out in your own plaid shirt, talk you through the technique, and pump up the tunes before letting you and your axe loose.

Need to loosen up that throwing arm first? Try the local Revelstoke Monashee Spirits distillery around the corner for BC barrel-aged Negroni, Duck Fat Sazerac, and Organic Ethos Gin-style cocktails with a twist or, if you think you can handle the heat, try the maple-based Vulcan Fire Cinnamon Liqueur. We warned you.

Gunbarrel Coffee | Big White Ski Resort

If it’s not axes and gin, then it’s spirits like you’ve never had before. Ski into the Gunbarrel Grill at Big White Ski Resort in the Okanagan for a smoking-hot cocktail of flaming brandy, crème de cacao, coffee (or hot chocolate), and more fire with blazing Grand Marnier poured down the groove of a double gun barrel straight into your glass. One of these and your ski socks will be well and truly knocked off.

BC resorts are home to many a local brewery for beer you won’t find elsewhere. Try Rossland Beer Company when skiing at RED Mountain Resort and expect to line up like a local with a one-in/one-out policy come 5 p.m. quitting time. Once inside pull up a stool at the bar and indulge in hearty preservative-free ales and stouts. Tip: Get your favourite to go in a “growler”—that’s Canadian-speak for a large glass bottle with a handle.

 

Fernie’s Ice Bar | Fernie Alpine Resort

Those crazy folks at Fernie love the winter so much they’ve built an Ice Bar at Cirque Restaurant at Lizard Creek Lodge. It’s where all the cool kids go (dad joke, right there) for flights of vodka and Champagne toasts in a hand-carved bar made purely from ice.

Not to be outdone, Sun Peaks Resort hosts a wiener roast on the side of a frozen lake every evening during ski season. OK, you have to snowmobile to get there, but that’s half the fun. You’ll be guided through snow-laden forests and fields on a dedicated snowmobile track out to your very own wiener roast—think of it as a Canadian barbecue on a Canadian beach. Did we mention the sunset as you sled back to civilization?

The Panorama Spring Lodge provides access to the Panorama Springs Hot Pools | Kari Medig

Step into the heli at Panorama Mountain Resort and take a scenic flight to the top for cheesy or chocolate fondue by the fire in the Summit Hut before a chopper ride back down. Nice one. For those who prefer a more languid style of après, ski into the slopeside hot springs-style pools and sweat it out in the hot tubs and pools while the snow gently falls from above.

Sleigh Ride | SilverStar Mountain Resort

Sometimes all you need to end the snow day is a soothing hot chocolate laden with marshmallows and cream. SilverStar Mountain Resort has got you covered Wednesday through Saturday afternoons with horse-drawn sleigh rides through wilderness trails to Wild Horseman’s Cabin for cauldrons of hot chocolate by the fire.

Coal Oil Johnny's | David Gluns

Adventure skiers enjoying the wild terrain that is the cult classic Whitewater Ski Resort need only return to home base and Coal Oil Johnny’s Pub for an end-of-day Nelson Brewing Company beer before hitting up nearby Nelson to cheer on the Nelson Leafs‘ Ice Hockey team at the downtown rink. Check the net, check it again!

Now, go forth, don your toque (beanie), stock up on your loonies (dollar coins) and toonies (two-dollar coins) and make some classic Canuck après memories.

Header image: Dining in Whistler | Leo Zuckerman

Revelstoke Mountain Resort | Andrew Strain

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POSTED BY: Rachael Oakes-Ash

Rachael Oakes-Ash, a.k.a. @misssnowitall, is Australia’s leading ski and snow journo and the founder of Snowsbest.com. The self-confessed snow addict has schussed the slopes of the world’s best ski destinations, including British Columbia, for 15 years by chairlift, cat, heli, and skins and written for all the big guns from Condé Nast to ESPN Freeskiing, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, TIME, and more.

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