If you grew up in Canada, chances are your vocabulary includes such expressions as “shred”, “fresh pow” and the dreaded “gaper gap”. You’ve perfected the graceful chairlift dismount, learned the hard way that a double-black diamond isn’t a rare gemstone and eaten enough $3 chalet poutine to fill a food group. And from the ski bunnies to the snow bros, you’ve met your fair share of après ski regulars along the way. These are the 11 people you’ll inevitably run into off the slopes in Canada this season. After all, after the fresh pow party is the after party, amirite?
The yard sale waiting to happen*
She totally remembers tackling Mont Tremblant with her family when she was six (or was it seven?), and skiing is just like riding a bike, right? Her 1973 Rossignols look like they’ve been collecting dust in her parents’ basement for a decade or three, and you’re pretty sure she’s about one accidental mogul run away from a desperate run to the masseuse. You’ll spot this slope-side specimen clinging to the T-bar from behind, or sipping a caesar in the chalet while rubbing her achy knees.
*A yard sale is a particularly nasty tumble where your equipment flies off in all different directions. See: the person side-stepping his or her way back up the hill to retrieve a wayward pole.
The snow bro who moved to Whistler for a summer and never left
You can spot his goggle tan from across the lodge, and his Australian accent is punctuated with not-so-occasional “eh’s”. Everything he owns (read: board wax, bandana, 36 toques in various shades of highlighter he’s spent his hard-earned snowboard-instructor dollars on) can fit into a Herschel backpack, he tells you with a lopsided grin. His wiry frame, shaggy shoulder-length waves and tall tee make him easily recognisable from behind. Just yell “bro” in his direction and he’ll come loping your way.Search for flights to Whistler
The retired Olympian
That septuagenarian in the vintage one-piece snowsuit, expertly carving up—and lapping you on—Blue Mountain? Strike up a conversation in the chalet and you’ll hear all about his stint in the 1972 Sapporo winter games. Take a selfie (or better yet, a shotski) with him and send it to your parents—you never know, he just might be their generation’s Shaun White.
The sponsored snow bunnies
Decked head-to-toe in Billabong or Burton, these ladies make your leisurely downhill descent look about as exciting as a paddleboat ride. They’ve lived on the slopes since they could walk, and can out-ollie the professionals in the halfpipe any day. They opt for Sorels over stilettos and know a beanie is perfectly acceptable après ski attire.
The underprepared tourist
Maybe they’re first-timers on the slopes, or maybe they’re used to less, well, Canadian temperatures, but these out-of-towners aren’t exactly dressed for the occasion. You spotted them earlier skiing in jeans, peacoats and goggles, and now they’re laughing off the frostbite over an anticlimactic pitcher of Molson Canadian (another thing no one seems to have warned them about: Our trademark national beer is not quite a craft brew).
The overprepared tourist
They’ve bought all-new, head-to-toe—er, toque to boot—equipment for their two-day stint in Kelowna, British Columbia, which the resort staff will no doubt find abandoned in a closet after check-out (gotta abide by those baggage weight restrictions!). These high-rolling vacationers are a veritable après ski ad in their white fur and silver Moncler, popping bottles of the resort’s finest and soaking in hot tubs after hours. Basically, they stick out like a shiny, sore thumb.
The family that takes this stuff very seriously
They’re the first ones on the chairlift in the morning and the last ones on the hill after sundown. They whiz by you in matching snowsuits, sending poofs of powder skyward. They communicate telepathically (or at least it looks like it), turning onto the same double-black diamond slope with the precision of a synchronized swim team. You’ll spot them in the lodge later, clinking beer steins and hot chocolate mugs while talking strategy for tomorrow (yours is just to stay out of their way).
The person who came to party
They’re a nightly fixture at the bar at the base of the mountain, and you wonder how they could possibly get up and hit the slopes the next morning after revelling into the wee hours. Spoiler alert: they don’t. They’re here for the après ski, not so much the actual-ski.
The person who just came to tube
Who needs a lift ticket when you can have just as much fun sliding down a toddler-riddled track in an inner tube, right? This person will be carefully side-stepping questions about her favourite runs of the day. And why no one’s actually seen her for the past six hours.
The next big thing
You wonder how this fresh-faced teen is allowed in, let alone on, the bar, and then you remember this is Banff, Alberta, where the drinking age dips to 18. They’re the talk of the ski town, with whispers of sponsorships, scouts and Olympic prospects following in his or her wake. These kids will be hanging out with groups well beyond their years, sipping cocktails you still can’t pronounce, alternating between perfect French and perfect English with the ease of a Trudeau.
The costume party
This group of 20-odd friends couldn’t help but catch your eye earlier—what with their Disney get-up and all–and their costumed antics continue well into the night. They’re celebrating a graduation, a bachelor party or a Saturday, and they’ll either repeatedly invite you to do shots with them or ask you to take a group shot of them. But probably both.
Main image: istock.com/CathyYeulet