Kicking back after eight hours on the slopes with tasty food and drinks among friends—aka indulging in the all-important après-ski ritual—has long been the cherry on top of a perfect ski day. Often hosted at lodges and other cozy spots around ski resorts, après-ski gatherings have moved outdoors, mainly due to the pandemic. Take it in stride; we have all the gear for a perfect après-ski parking lot tailgate.
To properly have a great time huddled around your truck in a snowy lot at the base of your favorite ski hill or mountain takes some planning, extra effort, and a lot more gear than a typical resort-hosted event. Thankfully there’s a ton of great stuff out there—some borrowed from the camping and overlanding world—that’ll make your next après-ski tailgater a memorable blast. Here’s how to equip yourself (and your rig) for an epic après-ski parking lot tailgate.
Everything You Need for an Après-Ski Parking Lot Tailgate
1. Weber Traveler Portable Gas Grill
Put fussing with a charcoal grill in the past with this slick little propane-powered beauty from Weber. You won’t have any trouble lighting this grill in a gusty ski resort parking lot as it has a push-button fire starter—and the large, 320-square-inch cast iron grilling grate is spacious enough to keep a crowd fed. The best part of this compact and portable workhorse is the gas strut hidden in the bottom that assists with opening and closing it. Use the small green propane bottles to fire it up or hook up a more environmentally friendly 5- or 20-pound tank for a longer lasting burn time.
2. Kelty Trash Pak
Your tailgating truck is probably already packed with a bunch of bursting duffels, piles of ski clothes, and mounds of grocery bags, so cramming in a leaky trash bag after the party isn’t ideal. That’s where you can make après-ski clean up easier by taken a cue from overlanders and attaching a durable trash bag like this one from Kelty to your spare tire. The 85-liter Trash Pak—made from tough 600D nylon and lined with water-resistant vinyl—has interior loops to secure a liner bag with attachment points galore on the outside and a padded back to protect vehicles without a rear-mounted tire.
3. Decked Drawer System
If the vehicle you’re driving to the local ski hill is a pickup, you’ll want to check out a Decked Drawer System. The durable and waterproof storage solution greatly increases the usability of the bed and makes stashing your gear a simple and secure task. Made in the USA, it has two full-length drawers that roll smoothly on sealed bearings so you won’t have to hop in the back to fetch any errant supplies. Plus, each can be configured in a multitude of ways to fit your needs, and can hold up to 200 pounds. You won’t be losing much bed utility as the top will support up to 2,000 pounds.
[From $1,000; decked.com]
4. Gobi Terrain Heated Camping Chair
It can get kinda chilly out there in the resort parking lot—especially as night falls. Toss your old raggedy, non-heated camp chair and go with this toasty throne instead at your next snowy event. Powered by a 7.4 volt lithium polymer battery, this comfy chair can keep your backside warm for up to nine hours. Three heat settings—low (113°F), medium (122°F), and high (131°F)—will make sure you’re the right temp, no matter the chill in the air.
5. Danner Cloud Cap Boots
Pulling off your tight ski boots after a day of charging down the ski hill is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Add to that feeling by slipping on a pair of Danner’s new snow boots. Built with Danner’s proprietary waterproof liner and stuffed with a generous amount of Primaloft insulation, these perfect après-ski boots are also shod with Vibram’s anti-slip Arctic Grip outer sole that will keep you from skating on ice. The soft suede and durable textile upper gives you all-day comfort whether stomping around snowy streets or chilling by a parking lot fire pit.
6. Rab Chilli Beanie
Popping on an eye-catching, cool and comfy pom-pom beanie (a.k.a. bobble hat) is de rigueur these days on the slopes. Pump up your après-ski style with this colorful chunky knit hat from Rab. The classic Nordic-style beanie is crafted from 100 percent acrylic so it performs well no matter how far the temp drops as the slopes empty. Also vital is the comfy fleece headband sewn inside which eliminates the itch factor.
7. Weston Hero Hands Gloves
Ski gloves modeled after traditional leather work gloves have been in style on the slopes for years. These Weston hand-savers are an affordable and durable option that work just as well handling a few cold beers as they do clutching ski poles. Made with soft and supple pigskin, they’re lined with Weathertherm insulation to keep the chill away and come with Nikwax waterproofing cream for good leather protection without compromising breathability.
8. Sea to Summit Cool Grip X-Mug
Keep this collapsible, 16-ounce cup in your ski pack to pop open at your next après-ski gathering without having to resort to plastic cups. Made from BPA-free, food-grade silicone, the ridged sides provide for a comfortable grip on a hot toddy—or with any combination of cocktail or wine.
9. RovR Rollr 60 Cooler
You’ve never known how much you need a wheeled cooler until you use one—and this feature-packed chill box from RovR is one of the best out there. It boasts all of the similar perks as most modern, roto-molded coolers: thick insulated walls for long-lasting ice retention; airtight gasket and rubber latches; plus a lockable lid that’s rated to withstand a grizzly attack. The pneumatic, all-terrain tires coupled with a dual-grip handle makes pulling this cooler down bumpy stairs or challenging surfaces a back-saving breeze. Extra bonus is the removable, foldable storage bin that attaches to the top for carrying snacks and supplies.
10. Barrel Brewing Co. Pray for Pow Winter Stout
Nothing says parking lot après-ski party like a cooler full of beers—and this new brew from 10 Barrel is made for all after-slopes celebrations. Touted as the breweries “most awarded beer ever,” this 7 percent ABV winter warmer offers notes of chocolate, coffee, citrus, and berries. Proceeds from this American stout go to Protect Our Winters, which helps outdoor adventurers protect the places where they play from climate change.
11. High West High Country American Single Malt Whiskey
No outdoor winter event would be the same without at a least a little bit of whiskey to pass around. This unique American single malt distilled in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah is one you’ll want to introduce to your flask. Aged a minimum of two years in both charred and second-use oak barrels, this Scotch-inspired whiskey brings a weighted mouthfeel and nutty malt character to your chapped lips. It’s absolutely essential for a top-notch après-ski parking lot tailgate.
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