top of page

"Apres-Ski: The Art of Forgetting an Unforgettable Day on the Slopes"


The journey to your Apres

The Après-Ski

The après-ski is a long-held tradition among the ski community. It consists of the most prized hours following a stint on the slopes where you, essentially, drown your weight in alcohol in celebration of the act of getting yourself out of your house and atop a mountain. If you have ever buckled into a set of skis, you have probably done so with the unknown intent of competing in a successful après. "Competing in an après? Whatever are you talking of? You are a crazy person! There is no such thing--I would have won already..!" These are fair and astute questions, concerns, and observations. Though I myself may not be the prized après-skier that many of you are, I can boast of my observation of these parties, only tending the far less fun side of the bar. I've been able to witness the pride with which some people are able to crown themselves the "Lord of the Après" as they sink 5 Fireball shots, 10 espresso martinis and 2 nacho chips. Celebratory or sorrowful (whichever experience the mountain gave you on the day), an après is a planet of its own, one with no rules, low morals and a damn good time (unless you are bartending, like me...far less fun of a time).

Après culture is the reason that every bar and restaurant in the ski village is bumping and short of space from 3-5pm, the normal "dead hours" of the restaurant industry. The absolute need to 'wet your whistle' after bombing down the mountain steeps headfirst allows the price of beers to hike themselves up to $18 at the base of the mountain. None of that matters because when it comes to stepping onto the après scene every person instantly transforms into a glowing billionaire with money to burn. Thousands of dollars of champagne sprays out to rain down on the crowd of animalistic souls jumping up and down and wagging their booties in the weirdest and least cohesive fashions while, impressively, ignoring the extreme discomfort (and probably injury) of their ski boots.

All in all, "après-ski" is the sophisticated noun assigned to the act of getting messed up and losing your mind after skiing. The deserved celebration for going outside, almost dying by mountain or fellow skier but SURVIVING and pampering yourself to a liquid reward to the detriment of your bank account. It's the excuse to torture your feet with ski boots instead of heels, and still flirt with the line of a broken ankle while jumping around in glee and exclaiming many excited "WOOS" with your hands raised firmly in the air.

Moments that led to the creation of my Apres Collection

An Ode to Après-Ski

The idea of creating a collection to celebrate the culture of apres-ski came to me while I was deep in the haze of my very own après. Encouraged, or perhaps soothed, by a pint (or two) of my favorite Jessup Farm Barrel House stout, Connor and I were plying my coworker with stories of our skiers' 'feats'. In the fog and the mist of a wonderful après I do not have a single clue on how the idea came to fruition. I do know that it was born from that special occurrence where conversation amongst friends take a turn for the weird and wonderful, ending in crazy ideas. Just a couple of friends, bashing out funny thoughts, letting our filters fly to the wind. Eventually the idea of a person messing with people at an après but in ways that they flew completely under the radar transformed itself in the very first idea of "the phantom of the [après]". Luckily, through the mist and fog of the après dimension that had taken a hold of my brain, I managed to write a note in my phone to immortalize the idea. It was a real shock to wake up to this note and find it had its merits-- après-thoughts almost never turn out like that.

As with discovering any good idea, I proceeded to sit on it and chatter about doing it for months. Again, this was in the time before I had decided to really dedicate to creating art. Instead, this was during my "craft brewery" phase of life; everything was about homebrewing and appreciating the nuances of a well-made pint. It was not until I moved to Vail, Colorado many months later that I decided to follow through and create the visuals for this idea. During the time I had taken staling and avoiding transforming these ideas from thought to art I had brainstormed a couple more ideas with Connor to make this series a quintet. Once I finally got the courage to tackle these lofty ideas, I was surprised with how quickly this collection flowed together. It did help that I had ample time to bring them to life as the entire collection was created in the 10 days I had to quarantine due to a household infested with Covid.

The Art of the Après-Ski

The après quintet features these five ideas:

The Phantom of the [Après]

The Planet of the [Après]

The Lord of the [Après]

It's a Wonderful [Après]

The [Après] King

As with the beginning of all projects, I first went to my trusty sidekick, Google, to request help with my quest to find the perfect posters to recreate in the essence of après. I wanted to find posters that would bring out the liveliness, and silliness, of an après while preserving the retro-vintage aesthetic and feel of the movies themselves.  I wanted to create a unique and offbeat twist of my own and also felt like I had to walk the fine line of representing the movie poster while avoiding becoming a copycat. I decided to also go on the hunt for the perfect slogan to build my motif around for each piece and provide me with the right direction.

ski poster that depicts the planet of the apes
No human can remain human on the planet of the [apres]

The motif for creating the "Planet of the Après" was a no-brainer; as a bartender, I can attest that no truer slogan describes the launch from our world to that of the après quite like "no human can remain human on the planet of the [après]". No, indeed. I kept the warm hazy hues of the desert planet on my palette and proceeded to do line work to sketch in the apes themselves. I wanted to create the effect of the apes becoming a part of the planet which is why I opted to do suggestive sketch work for the apes instead of coloring them in and making them a separate dimension. I let the warm background colors shine through, embracing the apes as part of itself. The idea that once you find yourself on the planet of the après it is the only thing you can see, feel or believe in led me to decide to also leave the googles blank. To really transport us to an actual après planet I made sure to cache hills and mountains of cocktails, shots and beer glasses scattered about. The final element that I used to tie this piece together was mimicking the tell-tale calligraphy of the original poster.

In my search, the old retro book cover for 'the fellowship of the ring' caught my eye pretty instantly. I decided on recreating the silhouette of the fellowship of seven walking across the shire. I loved the idea of transforming the "party tree" of Hobbiton, which stood atop the 'Bag-End' hobbit hole on the poster, into a martini glass for all to hail. I had the motif of "one [drink] to rule them all" in my head and loved that fellowship were marching below the overbearing cocktail glass, ready to do its bidding. It felt like a fun and appropriate juxtaposition of the "lord" being ruled by the drink. As with "the planet of the après" I stayed true to the traditional style of the calligraphy attached to the lord of the rings to really bond the two versions together.

a ski poster

Admittedly, I found it much harder to find a good, concise, slogan for "the Phantom of the [après]". Perhaps this is why I ended up staying very true to the original artwork. I did love how simple the visual of the poster was, with more of an emphasis on the cracking shards of the title. I liked the idea of playing with the shadows of the background. To add a ski flair, I dressed the mask up with some trusty goggles that took on the intense colors of love swirling with the haze of infatuation.

"It's a Wonderful [Après]" is based on "It's a Wonderful Life", a movie that I still have not seen the

a retro ski poster of two skiers at an apres-ski party

entirety of no matter how many times it showed itself on TV through the holidays. I loved the movie poster and instantly thought how funny it would be to change the characters to retro-styled skiers connecting at an après on a snowy winter day. The starring credits on the original poster really caught my eye. I began to think about "what are the starring roles of a successful après?" It dawned on me that they would have to be bad decisions and a hangover! This also was the first piece that I really played around with adding digital effects via Photoshop. At the time I was still pretty awkward at drawing human features, especially side profiles of the face. I played around with different effects to hide the imperfections in my ability level. I also felt like it created a funky and fun retro aesthetic that wouldn't have been possible for me to create by only using watercolors.

an apres ski poster featuring the lion king

The last of my original après collection to be created was the "Après King". "Hakuna Matata: means no worries for the rest of your après" was the motif I used. I knew that I wanted to replicate the scene of Rafiki presenting the sacred Simba, future ruler, to his subjects. I quickly swapped out the lion cub for a martini glass that is overflowing with the golden nectar of life. Cocktail is King and Rafiki is just the chosen vessel. As with 'it's a wonderful après' I used some digital stylization to blur the background colors to blend them seamlessly together in order to allow our king to stand out and get the attention he deserved.

Whether you learned a little bit more about what exactly it is that I keep harping about in a lot of my work or gained a bit more insight and detail into the behind the scenes thought backing each piece of my Après Collection, I ultimately hope you have had a lovely and lazy morning read this Sunday and will read with me again on the next!

As always,

Keep it offbeat!

ski posters being held up next to a ski lift in colorado
Original Après Series

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page