It’s springtime in the northern hemisphere and to skiers and snowboarders everywhere, this part of the season is particularly bittersweet. On the one hand we have the second-best snow to play in—spring corn—and longer days mean warmer temps and more sun, an opportunity to drop layers and trade foggy goggles for sunnies. On the other hand, it means our days on snow are coming to an end (for most of us). But that doesn’t mean that we can’t prolong our on-mountain Vitamin D intake.
Many resorts plan to be open through April and into May and some have announced running lifts well into summer, so you’ll find that après ski has moved out of the mountain bar or off your buddy’s couch and has relocated to the parking lot. We’ve rounded up the staples for having a parking lot party and separated them into 3 different tiers: The Basic, The Mid, and The Bougie.
The Basic Tailgate
This tailgate vibe is for you and your buddy or a small crew. You spend a long, hard day in the spring bumps and slushy bowls. You’re probably a little dehydrated and you’re looking for an enjoyable wind-down from the sunny stoke. You’re looking to enjoy the later afternoon sunshine and let the feet dry out before heading home. You’re not looking to draw much attention to yourselves, just to enjoy the great outdoors.
Here’s all you need to have a low-key après experience:
- Camp chairs OR you can sit on the literal tailgate if your vehicle has a good one for sitting. Pro tip: Use a cargo liner to help keep wet and dirt off your bums.
- Sunhat or sunscreen
- Car stereo for vibes
- Pocket snacks (quick and easy)
- Beverages and a soft cooler*
* Pro tip: if you don’t have a cooler, try parking somewhere close to a snowbank, put warm beers into the snowbank in the morning, enjoy cold beers in the afternoon.
The Mid Tailgate
This tailgate vibe is for when you want to go the extra mile and maybe attract other wandering souls or the neighboring cars over for good times, or you’re rolling deep with the on-snow squad. You’re definitely the early riser type and you go first bell until the slush slows you down. And those 60º temps are making you crave a classic grilled dog and spending the afternoon throwing bean bags around.
Here’s everything you need to level up that quickee beer and create a mid tailgate experience:
- Camp chairs plus extras for friends OR bring a hammock and get creative with multiple cars
- Sunhat + après leisure wear
- Bluetooth speaker for louder vibes
- Small grill / camp grill / portable pizza oven and easy grilling food
- A variety of bevies and maybe even mimosa supplies
- Travel-friendly games like corn hole or ladder toss (everyone LOVES cornhole)
The Bougie Tailgate
This tailgate vibe is when you don’t just want to be a parking lot party, but THE parking lot party. You pass along verbal invites in the liftline. Maybe you even made a flyer. Then you shred only until 11 am so you can finish setting up (or so no one steals your shit).
Here’s everything you need to throw the ultimate spring skiing parking lot rager:
- Every camp chair you own
- The latest in spring skiing couture
- A playlist that took you weeks to make and subwoofers to pump it out
- Stainless steel portable propane flat top grill, made-to-order burgers, and a smorgasbord of munchie food
- Beers, claws, minibar, and boxes of wine and Twisted Tea + cooler(s)
- Folding tables, cups, and ping pong balls for beer pong
- Portable fire pit
- Trash bags to clean up after everyone because you’re a decent human being that packs out all trash created by such an event
**Embarrassing pro-tip that definitely didn’t happen to me but could happen to you: If you’re using your car to pump tunes, make sure the bum warmers are turned off or be prepared to ask the human parked across from you to give you a jump before they leave!