Photos: Damian Cromwell
The Sacred Après
Après…the word simply means “after” in the language of our more passionate friends, the French. And naturally it is the French who managed to retain ownership of this celebrated post-adventure celebration tradition. After all, the French (and Europeans in general) have perfected the practice.
If you’ve never experienced a Euro après session you haven’t witnessed the nuances of a proper patio party. I once saw a mom spill beer on her baby while dancing energetically to loud trance music. She simply wiped her baby off in the snow until the infant’s one-piece was clean, then casually returned to the dance floor to keep on givin’er.
This arguably irresponsible behaviour (if you’re someone more judgmental than me) showcased an important attribute; après is for everyone, and après can happen anywhere, anytime, as long as it happens after adventure. You can’t just show up to the bar in ski boots and posture at a party. To après is to reward oneself for activity. Imposters will be strung up by their refreshed legs and ridiculed publicly. Remember that.
Here are a few more important points about the all important after party.
1. Après doesn’t have to be a drunken melèe, but it should certainly involve beer. Wine is a suitable substitute but makes for a more difficult cheers-ing ritual. We suggest putting wine in a pop can to keep it classy and clean…and secret too.
2. Dancing in alpine ski boots is hard. Choose your boots wisely. Vibram soles help immensely while cutting a rug but seriously hinder the following dance moves: MJ’s Moonwalk, Usher’s glide, anything done by Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
3. Après is not restricted to skiing but does have limits. It can be reveled in after any sport that doesn’t involve a ball or stick. If you have to ask why team sports don’t get permission to call their post-sport beers “après” then you don’t get it. Go back to the football game, sport.
4. Nudity is the hallmark of mountain culture, and après nudity is both a celebration of life and a mating call. A good rule is to remove one article of clothing for every song your mom would dance to. If your mom loves to shake it, you’re in trouble.
5. For those who have a tendency to take things too far, remember this: après after après is just called partying. Slow your roll, partner.
- Mike Berard