Apres Ski … Not Just for Skiers Anymore

By Ryan St.Onge (above photo by Jordan Luciano/Anne Skidmore Photography)


Just what would skiing be without après-ski? It’s the perfect atmosphere to laugh with friends and family about the day’s events. It’s a chance to kick back, warm-up, eat, drink, and listen to some good music. Whether it’s a quick bite before hitting the road, or a tease as to what lies ahead for the night, après-ski is firmly rooted in many of our ski highlights of the day. Even the kids are perfectly fine with running around the lodge and dancing in the isles, while mom and dad get some more together time. Throw ‘em a few bucks for fries and skittles, and they’ll be just fine wasting whatever energy they have left.

But the Mt. Washington Valley (MWV) offers a vast selection of winter warmer events that aren’t just reserved for the ski and snowboard crowd anymore.

Most, if not all, of our Valley alpine areas offer electrifying pubs with a vibrant scene that welcomes the greater community—not reserved for downhillers alone. These fantastic little afternoon events may be known as après-ski, but even if alpine skiing isn’t your thing, that’s not nearly enough reason to avoid hitting the town early afternoon to take in some excitement and festivities.

One of the nice perks of après-ski is they often operate mid-day between 2-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays; and all week during vacation periods. It doesn’t even stop there. Following many of these festivities, the party continues into the evening, as many non-ski mountain local venues are more than obliged to start their own personal après events after the ski resorts’ end. This means après-ski can venture far into the night for the hearty at play.     

In addition to this area being an outdoor lover’s mecca for all things winter, the Valley boasts itself as being a bit of a musical anomaly, in that there is a plethora of great live acts to take in almost every day of the week. One can expect to find acoustic soloists, acoustic duos, trios, jazz ensembles, rock bands, funk bands, reggae bands, tribute bands, and the occasional show of top-notch comedians amidst the après scene.

Skier or not, there will be a crackling fire, conversation, nosh, and entertainment aplenty. Walk on in!        

Personally, I’m a bit biased about the aprés-ski scene. I’ve been a musician here in the MWV for 18 years and have had the great honor of knowing and/or playing alongside a great selection of talented area musicians. From big-band members of the 60 and 70s, to rock classic legends, 80s icons, percussionists that played with Hendrix at Woodstock, to British chart toppers, I’ve crossed them all. One of the most beautiful and exciting things about an après is that you never really know who’s going to be there. Couple this with a warm environment (physically and energetically) that’ll defrost your icy bones on the coldest of days and the collective energy of meeting friends—old and new—and you’ve found yourself in après-ski perfection.

It’s not unheard of to see something totally fresh, such as new musicians meeting and playing together for the first time, or maybe a well-seasoned musician who hops on stage to jam. So don’t be fooled by the name—everyone can join in and enjoy après-ski merriment.

The Gravel Project

Gravel Project is an up-and-coming band with Valley ties and a fresh sound that can be heard at a number of après venues this winter; such as King Pine, Shawnee Peak, Wildcat Mountain, and Seadog Brewery. For tour dates and venues, plus a sneak peak at their new album and video, check out www.thegravelproject.com.



Must See Après-Ski Music

Here are a few personal selections of must-see après-ski acts that have either been in the Valley for a long time, or are new to the scene and raising eyebrows. There are far too many to mention, so I apologize to leave anyone out. Have fun exploring to enjoy them—and all the other amazing talent in the Valley.

Al “The Rev” Shaftner: classics, contemporary

Riley Parkhurst Project: classic rock, eighties, contemporary

Shark Martin: rock, funk, and originals in a party-style mix

White Lightning Duo: 90s pop, dance

Candie Tremblay: pop, top 40 

Rek’lis: mix of rock, pop, and dance

Dennis and Davey: Irish/Scottish music with a contemporary blend

Simon Crawford Band: classic rock, traditionals

Jonathan Sarty: country, classic rock, jazz

Cause & Effect: acoustic and percussion duo playing eclectic mix

Motor Booty Affair: disco, dance

Miss Maybell and Slimpickins: ragtime, blues, country, jazz


Catch this article in the 2018 winter edition of Mt Washington Valley Vibe, available at any of these locations around the region.

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