Skiing and snowboarding is a rather interesting hobby. For many we dream and obsess all summer long, anxiously awaiting the first turns of the winter season. We simply cannot wait for the snow to fall. What’s intriguing though is that although nothing is quite as good as an epic powder day, one can make the argument that the best time to ski is in the spring.
Days are longer, the temperatures are warmer, the bumps are softer and, most importantly, the après ski tailgate scene is in full effect. While most visions of après ski conjure up images of lodge beers and boot dancing on bar tables, tailgating trailside in the spring is a whole different experience. It is a right of passage from the frigid days of winter to the warm days of spring.
A good après-ski tailgate should not be taken lightly. More than just showing up with a cooler of beer and some smushed bologna sandwiches you’ll want to take some time to prepare. Plan ahead and your friends will sing your praises. Show up all willy nilly and you may have to go begging from someone else’s party.
Good food and good drinks are absolute necessities, but that is definitely not enough. To be a titan of the tailgate you’ll want to make sure that you have these 9 pieces of gear to elevate your game to new heights.
Decked Drawer System – $1449.99
Photo Credit: Decked
Staying organized is crucial to the success of your après ski tailgate party. The Decked Drawer System will turn your truck into the ultimate tailgate destination. Waterproof and weatherproof it will keep all of your tailgating essentials organized and secure while shredding the gnar. Then when the time comes, open the drawers, slide them out and you’ll have easy access to everything you packed for your party. Less time wasted means more time drinking brews, eating tasty food and enjoying the company of friends.
Camp Chef Versa Top – $169.99
It’s all about the versagrillity (as Camp Chef would say) when it comes to their Versa Top. The pre-seasoned non-stick griddle is out-of-the-box ready and offers 247 square-inches of cooking space. That’s a ton of space to work with, but it’s not all. The Versa Top is also compatible with most of Camp Chef’s other 14-inch cooking systems including the grill and pizza oven. All are easy to switch out when the time comes ultimately giving you endless possibilities when it comes to what tailgate food you want to cook. When finished, the Versatop cleans easily and packs away rather simply and without taking up much room. A grill this adaptable hard to come by and certain to turn you into après ski tailgating royalty.
iKamper RTT Blanket DPL – $199
Photo Credit: iKamper
Yes, it is spring but that doesn’t mean the temperatures can’t dip and be a little chilly. After all, it is the mountains. Having a blanket on hand is therefore imperative. The RTT Blanket DPL is made for two people. It also happens to be water resistant and machine washable making it perfect for the tailgate environment.
Dometic CFX3 45 – $892.49
Photo Credit: Dometic
The Dometic CFX3 is a cooler powered by battery. That means no ice and more space for the things that are important like food and beer. Say goodbye to melting ice and soggy food. Set the temperature anywhere between -7 and 68 using the handy mobile app and keep your items cool and fresh all day long. The elimination of extra ice also makes it pretty lightweight and easy to move to the truck to wherever you want to keep it. Plus, the CFX3’s rugged design will stand up to all your tailgating antics. Well designed, convenient and easy to use, the Dometic CFX3 is a must for your next tailgate party.
Photo Credit: 10 Barrel Brewing
Every good après ski tailgate needs beer. Why not reach for the new Rock Hop IPA, a collaboration from Danner Boots and 10 Barrel Brewing? The Cold IPA style is one of the hottest new trends in beer. By combining German yeast and lagering techniques with higher American hop rates, the brewers at 10 Barrel have created an IPA that is appealing to fans of hoppy IPAs and Lagers. Adding to its appeal is that when you crack one open you’ll also be drinking for a good cause. Part of 10 Barrel’s #drinkitforward campaign, proceeds will be donated to the Trailkeepers of Oregon foundation.
Brumate Hopsulator Trio – $29.99
Photo Credit: Brumate
This is, hands down, the most versatile can cooler on the market. Nobody likes warm beer and whether you are drinking beer from a 12 oz. can, 16 oz. can or out of a mug, the Hopsulator Trio has you covered. 16 oz. cans fit perfectly in your Brumate while the freezable adaptor takes up the extra space in the bottom and keeps your 12 oz. cans even colder. Prefer to drink your beers from a glass? No problem…the Hopsulator turns into one and the new MÜV Collection features their BevLock™ Technology with a fully leak proof locking lid. As far as can coolers go, it simply doesn’t get more multifaceted than this.
Runamok Cocktail Mixers – $17.95
Photo Credit: Runamok
When it comes to après ski drinks, maybe you are more of a cocktail person. Runamok is a Vermont based company that offers a variety of products from maple syrup to maple bitters. Their maple cocktail mixers are excellent for tailgating. With flavors for Ginger Mules, Old Fashioneds or Tonics, all you need to do is add the appropriate spirit and start drinking. This ultimately cuts down on the amount of ingredients you will need to bring without sacrificing the flavor you are looking for.
Tifosi Swank XL Sunglasses – $29.95
Photo Credit: Tifosi
Everyone needs a good pair of sunnies for the tailgate party. What you don’t need though is to spend a ton of money on them. Tifosi helps you save some of that money for more fun at après. Featuring high-quality Grilamid TR-90 frames and shatterproof polycarbonate lenses, the new Swank XL are comfortable and functional. The best part though is that they are a fraction of the cost of other higher priced sunglasses on the market. Looks like you can load up on another case or three of beer.
Stretch Loc Straps – $24.95
Photo Credit: Sea to Summit
You don’t know what you might need these Stretch Loc Straps but just having them around is worth it. Made from stretchy TPU material, they grip whatever you are trying to secure and keep them in place. Adjust the straps to whatever size you need or connect two for added length. From keeping your skis secured tightly together or anchoring a water bottle to the side of your cooler and more the Stretch Loc Straps are something you just need to have around.
Rich Stoner is the founder of the après-ski lifestyle clothing and media brand, All About Après, and the co-host of the Beyond the Après podcast. No stranger to the ski and après-ski scene, Rich has been a long time contributor for many publications on topics like skiing, gear, beer and food. However, his passion is on the slopes and enjoying good times with good people. You can find him perfecting his craft carving turns and drinking beers in the Green Mountains of Vermont. @allaboutapres