Let’s get real: how many of you hit the slopes for the skiing, and how many hit the slopes knowing that, come day’s end, regardless of snow conditions or tram laps completed, the good times will roll on a sun-washed deck, in a stuffy dive bar, or across a sprawling base village “beach” complete with local draft beers and live band playing pop country covers? Yeah, we thought so. All the more reason to be grateful to our Nordic ancestors who invented après-ski, our friends in the Alps who coined the term, and our European adventurers who brought the time-honored tradition to the slopes of US ski resorts.

Perhaps to your disappointment, après ski is not simply the art of getting sloshed with friends after a day on the slopes. The tradition comes from a much more refined practice of ending a long, cold day with spiked cider or mulled wine, huddling with friends to unwind before heading home for household responsibilities. Granted, it later shifted into the more raucous scenes of the popular Alps and the Andes, where some skiers went the way of massive parties, swanky clubs, and even the practice of all-day après. Today it can take on many forms: from a Glühwein on a slopeside hut in Chamonix to shotskis on a bar in Colorado. Regardless, après ski is a part of ski culture to be enjoyed by all. When it comes to après skiing like a pro in North America, there are some key things to consider to ensure the best possible experience. Keep reading for our top 6 rules of après ski.

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