The Ultimate Aprés Guide

Who says the aprés life is only for skiing? Sure there’s skiing and snowboarding and cross country, but snow bocce, curling, and Winter ‘Minton deserve their rightful place at the aprés counter. Here’s our guide to winter’s aprés alternatives. 

Ski Ballet & Champagne on Ice 

A favorite sport from the 1970s, ski ballet is everything you love about ballet (the jumps, the drama, the sophistication), just on skis. Get your interpretive dance on then pop some bottles. 

Polar Bear Plunge & Hot Toddies

Seems self exlpantory. Take the plunge, then warm up as fast as you can. 

Yukigassen & Shotskis

The Japanese art of epic snowball fights. Two teams, seven players each, 90 snow balls, one flag on each side. It’s capture the flag meets dodgeball meets snowballs – better wear your helmets. Shake hands and share a shotski when you’re done. 

Bandy & Brandy

Though it never officially made it into the Olympics, Bandy is a hugely popular winter sport because it’s just like ice hockey but instead of a puck, it’s a ball. Brandy, is a hugely popular winter spirit. The two seem to go hand in hand. 

Wok Races & Sake Bombs

Like sledding, but with greased up woks. (The pros swear by it). Follow it up with a round of sake bombs. Ichi, ni, san! 

Kite Skiing & Eggnog Coladas

Trade the surfboards for skis and you’ve got kite skiing. Same goes for the seasonal change-up in the eggnog colada. Bonus points for following-up with karaoke…. “If you like eggnog coladas, and getting caught in the rain…” 

Winter Minton & Whiskey Smash 

Like summer badminton, but, you guessed it, in snow. A match consists of the best of 3 games of 21 points. After every match, recoup with a Whiskey Smash (Like a Whiskey Sour but with clementine and cinnamon. YUM). 

via GIPHY

Need leisure sport wear? Shop our Men’s and Women’s winter styles. 

Don’t Let the Cold Stop You: Get Outside With These Winter Family Activities

Staying active in the winter months can be tough; from an individual standpoint is one thing, but throw some kids and a couple of pooches in the mix and it can seem downright impossible. We all have our “excuses”: It’s too cold! There’s too much snow! I have so much to do! But maybe it’s time to change our perspectives.

Whether it’s the bitterly cold temperatures or dumping snow that once deterred your outdoor activity, the gloomy, grey skies and uninspiring lack of sunshine, or the business of the season – we get it, there’s holiday shopping, holiday office parties, kids’ holiday concerts…holiday burnout – we have a few winter activities for kids and the whole family that’ll keep you moving all season long. 

Plan ahead

IMG_3307_crop

We know it’s cold out there, so planning ahead is a great way to set yourself (and kids) up for success. In our family, it’s easy to get the kids outside. The bigger challenge at times is keeping them outside. For us, layers are the answer! 

Go for a base layer (natural fibers like hemp will help wick away any sweat or moisture), a zip-up or half-zip like Toad’s Telluride Sherpa Pullover (to easily dump extra heat), and then a jacket (to keep them dry). 

Then, accessorize. Little fingers and noses can get cold! So find the gloves, hats and scarves/neck tubes your child is willing to keep on – and keep them in a designated location (so they don’t get lost!). We have dedicated “winter accessories” basket in our kids’ bedroom for easy access. To add a little more fun to the mix, consider letting the little one(s) pick the accessories they want to wear for that outing – having the opportunity to choose their favorite hat can help inspire them to get outside!

Remember to keep yourself cozy, too. If you’re cold and uncomfortable, it will be significantly more difficult to keep the kids happy. Layering and fun accessorizing isn’t just for kids!

Just keep moving

DSC_3156_crop

The prep to get outside might take you 45 minutes or more (no shame here), but once that’s done, the hard part is over! 

If you live in town, walk or bike around the neighborhood to check out the holiday lights and decorations. If you live in a rural area, explore your own property or the side roads on foot (we also love using a wagon and each kid shares pulling the others!). And if you’re lucky enough to have trails right outside your door – use those!

If you need to keep the kids engaged, challenge them to fun games or have enticing destinations in mind. Playing “I spy” along the walk/ride is a great way to heighten their awareness (and distract them from saying “are we there yet?” ten thousand times). We also enjoy spotting and counting birds or other critters. And if the locale fits, plan a mid-walk break at a cafe (did someone say hot chocolate?) or the library to pick out a new book. 

And remember, even a short walk will do your body and mind some good. Staying active is a big part of staying healthy during the colder months!

Make snowpeople

IMG_0400_crop

You’d be surprised just how much work it takes to build a snowman. Seriously, if you don’t break a sweat rolling snowballs, I’m impressed! Whether there’s 2 inches or 2 feet on the ground, take advantage of the fresh snow and get in it! 

This is also a great time to play in-snow games like tracking critter prints, and make other snow creations like snow angels.

Get crafty

DSC_7950_crop

While arts and crafts are usually sedentary activities, it’s easy to shake them up a bit by taking them outside! In fact, many of our favorite craft days are nature-inspired.

Whether we’re making pine cone bird feeders, driftwood/tree branch picture frames or rock “art”, each craft starts with a hike to gather our supplies (cones, sticks, rocks). 

It’s also fun to bring along a warm snack or beverage to share with the kiddos. Cracking open our insulated thermos and pouring hot (warm) chocolate or sharing a tasty soup into trail-ready mugs is never a bad thing!

Tweak old & start new traditions

IMG_3621_crop

From the foods we make during the holiday season to the way we share gifts, traditions are important to so many of us. But how can we take these family-honored traditions outside to help us stay more active? For us, it is a no-brainer. Our family goes Christmas tree “hunting” every year, but rather than driving the truck up to a tree, we choose to bike it out of the woods! 

If you have access to national forest lands (or state lands in some places), you can do it too! Or, if you live in the city, grocery stores, corner lots and hardware stores all carry cut trees this time of year. Grab your bike and a trailer (or borrow one from a friend), plan ahead and make a family adventure of it! 

Get the gear

IMG_3555_crop

And finally, while you don’t need all the gear, adding a few pieces to your winter kit can help boost activity levels. From skiing to biking to hiking, our family has gathered gear from second hand shops, borrowed from friends and bought new over the course of the years, and it has definitely helped us diversify our winter activities. The gear you pick depends on the activities you really want to pursue. And when you’re looking for things to do with kids in winter, the gear can definitely help. 

For us, there are three must-haves in winter: adventure-ready stroller, bike accessories, and a trail-ready sled.

First, using an enclosed stroller helps get everyone in our family outside (and keeps our crawler cozy). We chose one with ski and bike attachments so our youngest could come along no matter the activity. 

Second, for our skiing-loving, bikeaholic child, we picked up a pair of ski attachments for a balance-style bike. Biking is an easy-access activity for us; in our family, if we’re not walking, we’re pedaling. With the “bike skis”, he can push and slide along when we take the fat bikes or cross country skis on snowy trails! 

Third, when all else fails, attach a sled! We use our pulk/sled while fat biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s a great option because its fun, both of our kids (and lunch/extra gear) fit in it, and it’s lightweight!

IMG_2893_crop

A Pennsylvania native and Colorado transplant, Ryan is a proud mountain mama to two wild outdoors-loving kiddos and a couple of equally wild cattle dogs. She’s also a photographer, writer and outdoorswoman. When she and her husband aren’t wrangling the pack – and more often, when they are – you’ll find them fly fishing, skiing or biking somewhere around their home in southern Colorado. 

Photography by Ryan Scavo and Sam Scavo.

Build a DIY ShotSki

There are few things we love more than a great weekend getaway to the mountains – outdoor adventures, cozy nights and long conversations with good company. And maybe a ShotSki here and there. Whether it’s the first run of the season or the last run of spring, we think a ShotSki is the perfect way to celebrate the good times. After all, friends don’t let friends (shot) ski alone. We’re digging back into the Toad archives to bring back a refresher on How To Build the Perfect ShotSki from Jeremy Benson at skimag.com

Toad&Co-W17-GiftGuide-Shotski

1.  Find the perfect ski
The first step (and arguably most important) in creating the perfect shotski is finding the right ski. If you don’t have old skis, ski shops will often have some pairs lying around (especially if it’s nearing the end of ski season). Remember, the longer the ski is, the more shots you can fit on it. Most standard skis will fit 4 shots, but go for the gold and see how many you can fit comfortably.

2.  Glued vs. Nested
There are two basic types of shotskis: The layman’s sit on top, where you simply measure out where to put your shot glasses then glue (or tape!) them down.  Then there’s the nested shotski where shot glasses rest inside the ski and can be removable to facilitate the cleaning process. We went for the nested version, because go big or go skiing later.

3.  Measuring
While perfection isn’t absolutely necessary with a shotski (you are, after all, drinking liquor from a ski), equal spacing will allow for easier maneuvering. First, pick the number of shots you’d like to have on your ski. Four is a nice round number and a good starting loin, but by all means try to get more on. Ideally, shots are approximately 18 – 20 inches apart, enough room for folks to face the shot ski head on. Make marks that are centered in the ski width-wise and get ready to drill.

4.  Drill
For the nesting tactic, we used a hole saw to drill the holes (a large paddle drill bit may also work). Ideally all of your shot glasses will be the same size. Figure out what diameter your glasses are by measuring them and finding a comparable size hole saw or drill bit (we used a 1.5-inch diameter hole saw). Line it up with the marks you made earlier and drill, being careful not to drill all the way through the base. By stopping your holes just above the base you can remove the core samples, making perfect, countersunk holes for the glasses to sit in. A flathead screwdriver or a chisel work great for cleaning out the holes. It is important to note that many skis out there have fiberglass, wood, metal and plastic in them, so be careful not to breathe in any fumes and wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.

5.  Velcro
After the holes are drilled and cleaned out, smooth out any imperfections with sandpaper. If you want the glasses to be permanently attached, super glue them into place. For removable glasses, use Velcro to hold them in place when the shotski is in use. Having removable shot glasses makes cleaning way easier (and promotes future shotskis).

6.  Deploy the Ski-shot
Call on some good company, pick your favorite brand of whiskey (add some maple syrup to each shot to do it the Canadian way) and take it for a run! Take shots to thank the snow gods for fresh powder or to urge them to make it snow. Mount it above the fireplace, keep it in the garage, sleep with it under your pillow, keep it in your car, give it to a college kid… Whatever you do with your shotski, hopefully it involves good times, deep snow and good friends. Bottoms up!

Look Good While You’re At It

Shotski-womens-items (1) copy

The Women’s Airvoyant Puff Jacket will keep you warm before the shots start flowing, and the Hutton Sherpa Jacket is as cozy as it is cute.

shotskimens

The Men’s Flannagan Long Sleeve Shirt is timeless and fresh, just like the shot-ski itself. Couple it with the Airvoyant Puff Vest and you’ll be looking good and feeling good.

Not Big On Shots?

Try some of our other delicious drinking activities. We love a good game of Kings Cup, which only requires that you drink beer. If you are in the mood to mix it up, try making some of these cold weather specialties.

Sled Field-Testing Guide

We don’t claim to be rocket scientists, but when it comes to sledding, we take our research VERY seriously.  We hit the slopes (okay, bunny hills behind our cabin) in Tahoe to test a variety of sleds for speed, precision, and overall extreme fun-ness. All in the name of science, of course.

CCO18279.jpg

Flexible Flyer Steel Saucer
Best For: Dizzy dynamos
Steering: Hand dragging
Speed: Blazing; you may want a helmet
Pro Tip: Sit in the middle, stay low and pray

CCO18280

Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge
Best For: Hard pack heroes
Steering: Sweet joystick
Speed: Smiles for miles
Pro Tip: Carve turns by leaning into turn and white-knuckling joystick

CCO18286

Plastic Toboggan
Best For: Frugal flyers
Steering: Not that we’re aware of…
Speed: Mouthguard recommended
Pro Tip: Lock your heels up front and try and lean to turn

CCO18292

Mad River Rocket
Best For: Powder sled shredders
Steering: Drag a paw and lean
Speed: Depends on the pow depth
Pro Tip: Goggle up and carve some face shots

Check out TobogganHills.com to find your closest hill and shop the look for Men’s and Women’s extreme sledding wear.

CCO14062.jpg

CCO14057.jpg

CCO14071.jpg

CCO14090.jpg

CCO14144

CCO14193.jpg

How to Build a Shot-Ski

The shot-ski is a great implement in the art of après ski bonding and a perfect example of how to upcycle.  We like the way it requires all participants to keep the same pace – no sippers allowed.  Recently we tried to make a shot-ski using a hot glue gun… it was surprisingly ineffective and we were forced to use tape instead. With thanks to the Jeremy Benson at skinet.com, behold six easy steps to shot-ski heaven.

1.  Find the perfect ski
The first, and arguably most important, step in creating the perfect shot-ski is finding the right ski. If you don’t have old skis, ski shops will often have some pairs lying around. Thrift and second hand gear shops are also a great place to look. Whenever possible find a ski that has some kind of sentimental value to you, like those Volkl P9s you used to shred moguls on back in the day. Remember, the longer the ski is, the more shots you can fit on it. For example, my 202 Spalding Extreme Powders comfortably fit four shots (on a 225 DH ski you could probably fit five).

2.  Kinds of shot-skis
In my experience, there are two basic types of shot-skis. There’s the lazyman’s sit on top, where you simply measure out where to put your shot glasses and then glue (or tape!) them to the topsheet. Then there’s the integrated shot-ski, (discussed) here. In this style the shot glasses rest inside the ski and can be removable to facilitate the cleaning process.

3.  Measuring
While perfection isn’t absolutely necessary with a shot-ski, it’s nice to come as close as you can to uniformity. First, pick the number of shots you’d like to have on your ski. Four is a nice round number and a good starting point. If you must have more than four shots on your ski, by all means go for it, but cramping the ski will probably only lead to awkward shot taking and more booze on people’s faces than in their mouths. A good rule of thumb for spacing is approximately 18 to 20 inches apart. Good spacing will allow for a more comfortable forward-facing approach to the ski, which is already a difficult thing to deal with. Make marks that are centered in the ski width-wise and get ready to drill.

Toad&Co-W17-GiftGuide-Shotski

4.  Drill
To make holes in the ski, I used a hole saw – but a large paddle drill bit may also work. Ideally all of your shot glasses will be the same size. I’d recommend buying a set that you will use primarily for the shot-ski, then all of your holes can be uniform and the process will be much easier. Figure out what diameter your glasses are by measuring them and finding a comparable size hole saw or drill bit. In this case I used a 1.5-inch diameter hole saw. Line it up with the marks that you made during the measurement process and drill, being careful not to drill all the way through the base. By stopping your holes just above the base you can remove the core samples, making perfect, countersunk holes for the glasses to sit in. A flathead screwdriver or a chisel work great for cleaning out the holes. It is important to note that many skis out there have fiberglass, wood, metal and plastic in them, so be careful not to breathe in any fumes and wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes.

5.  Velcro
After the holes are drilled and cleaned out, smooth out any imperfections with sandpaper or a grinding wheel. At this point those who want their glasses to be permanently attached can super glue or epoxy them into place. Those who want their glasses to be removable may want to consider using Velcro to hold them in place when the shot ski is in use. I bought some adhesive-backed Velcro at the local hardware store. The adhesive on the Velcro works pretty well, but gluing the Velcro into the holes and onto your shot glasses will ensure that it works for a long time. Having removable shot glasses makes cleaning your shot ski way easier (and promotes better hygiene). Plus, you’ll be less likely to make your (significant other) mad when your ski is in the sink.

6.  Deploy the Ski-shot
Now that your shot-ski is in working order call up a bunch of your friends and celebrate something. Take shots from your shot-ski to thank the snow gods for a big dump or to urge them to make it snow. Mount it above your fireplace, keep it out in the garage, or bring it to parties. Whatever you do with your shot-ski hopefully it involves good times, deep snow, and most importantly, friends. Because taking four shots by yourself is awkward.

by Jeremy Benson for skimag.com