Mike Walsh | Powder Report: Where's the apres action at in Berkshire County
The question was never quite answered, though. Is it really all about the apres?
I've been told I use a lot of words in this space every other week that people don't understand. Well, apres simply means after, so what happens after you shread the gnar, cut some cords, stomp out a crunchy melon grab or two and hope not to beef it. Got it? Good.
I endeavored this week to find out what your favorite apres spots are in the Berkshires and beyond. As I've tried to explain to my quickly-developing urchin fiance: snowboarding and skiing are about 25 percent work and skill, 50 percent looking steezy and 25 percent apres.
Now, I'm not here to argue to cinematic validity of the achievement in modern filmmaking that is Out Cold. I'll say nothing of the career-launching point of Zach Galifianakis, Criminal Minds' A.J. Cook, Reno 911's Thomas Lennon, David Koechner, the great Lee Majors and the great for other reasons Victoria Silverstedt, except that it fits right into this conversation about the apres.
I love Out Cold, and contend that no ski weekend is complete without a complete viewing. A violently dehydrated Powder Report columnist very nearly busted the work laptop of one of his best friends while trying to eject his copy during the early morning at the end of last weekend's jaunt to Okemo and Magic Mountain. A las, I decided I could trust my old Little League compatriot with one of my most prized possessions.
In the film, they all gather after a day of fresh Alaskan powder at El Matador, the almost perfectly-crafted apres ski bar. The old jukebox, local bartender with a heavy pour and men's room door that simply leads out into the snowy woods. While it is tough to find a spot closely resembling that here in the slightly more primly-packaged northeast, it should be the goal.
I heard from a bunch of readers who's favorite spots ranged from on-mountain watering holes like the Tamarack Lounge at Bousquet or Christiansen's Tavern at Jiminy Peak, to more out-of-the-way restaurants like the Old Forge in Lanesborough and Barrington Brewery in Great Barrington.
Personally, all those places have a special place in my heart for what they are striving to be. The fire place at Tamarack, and easily accessible back deck is choice, as is the low-lighting, just enough to make out the bunnies and the beer list. Speaking of which, you'd be hard-pressed to find better ones than at Christiansen's which pours neighboring John Harvard's own, and Barrington for obvious reasons and you can't beat the oldschool ski decor at Forge. Variety on tap is key, as it goes hand in hand with your day on the slopes. We ride when its 11-below and want a smokey stout with a bit of heft to it. We ride in T-shirts and less come time for the bikini slaloms and cardboard carnivals and are looking for something with some hop character and pizazz to it. Thunderbolt IPA out of Wandering Star made a play a few year's back to capitalize on that ski bum mentality we talked about last time with Warren Miller. While the Thunderbolt Race has been hard-pressed to get going in recent years, Chris Post's middle-of-the-road IPA is drinkable all season long and always on tap at Tamarack.
All these are great options, and I hope to hear from more of you on your favorite apres spots and activities. The hunt continues to find my own El Matador, a seemingly out of place bar with a mechanical bull.
Until I find it, remember. Last run's always Poppa Muntz style.
Keep your tips up and stay spoice!
Mike Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.
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