Wish you were here? (Picture: Philippe Desmazes/ AFP via Getty)
Craving an alpine hit but stuck indoors?
If you’re lucky enough to live near a hill and have had a bit of snow over the past few weeks you might well have managed a few runs but the rest of us have had to make do with wistfully watching Ski Sunday.
And while you could try a ski simulator, roller skiing or grass skiing, none of them will really hit the spot.
What’s far easier to recreate in your living room is the après. It’s up to you how far you take it. If you want to put on your entire ski outfit – including boots – and dance on the table to Sweet Home Alabama or some obscure European dance hit, don’t let me stop you.
However, if you’re just hankering after the sounds, smells and tastes of your favourite mountain bar, here’s how to recreate a little bit of that magic.
Create your own Spotify playlist
When it comes to music, Spotify is your friend. You can search ‘après-ski playlist’ and find several of varying quality, although you might trip over a few classics you’ve forgotten about (I can’t be the only one who remembers ‘Hey, wir woll’n die Eisbären seh’n’, even if I didn’t actually know what it was called at the time).
But the best thing to do is search for the name of your favourite après bar and you’ll probably find it there – Cocoricos in Val d’Isère, Farinet in Verbier, Rond Point in Meribel, Mooserwirt in St Anton – they’ve all got playlists, official or otherwise.
You can track down your fave acts on Après Ski Bands.
Alternatively, if you want to hunt down the band you saw last year try Après Ski Bands, which lists acts you’ll have seen around resorts. So if you loved Revolverlites’ rendition of The Fratellis’ Chelsea Dagger at the Loop Bar in Tignes last year, this is where you can relive it.
Get the drinks in
Us Brits are known for enjoying a good drink after a day on the slopes and while nobody’s going to be doing table service, the good news is that whatever your favourite mountain tipple, you can probably find a version of it somewhere in the UK.
Vin chaud, or glühwein, is another mountain staple. And if you don’t fancy making yours from scratch, most supermarkets have their own that just needs heating up – but do chuck a stick of cinnamon and some slices of orange into the pan for a more home-made flavour.
This’ll warm you up! Author Claire has a go at making mountain drinks at home (Picture: Claire Coleman)
And while shots might be a bit less appealing when they’re not served up on a ski with holes cut out for the glasses, Jägermeister is widely available and that mountain classic, toffee vodka, is also online (Bullet Toffee Vodka Spirit, £8.95).
Eat all the cheese
You might not have quite the same appetite when you haven’t spent the day schussing down a mountain but the current weather is the perfect excuse for a bit of mountain fare.
The Hospiz Alm restaurant in St Christoph, Austria, is as famous for the slide that takes you down to the loo as it is for its ribs, slathered in sauce and served with a huge jacket potato and sour cream.
Tartiflette is just what you need after an afternoon sliding down a mountain… or sitting around at home (Picture: Getty Images/Foodcollection)
And you can’t go wrong with a fondue. The French Comté has fondue available for delivery nationwide, starting at £23 for two and including gherkins, onions and potatoes, with the option to add charcuterie.
While we’re on the cheese tip, we have to mention tartiflette, an unholy alliance of cream, potatoes, onion and reblochon cheese. Rumour has it that the Les Gets resort has recently installed a tartiflette vending machine but those not in the vicinity, will have to DIY – try the Hairy Bikers’ recipe, which you will find on the BBC food website.
Bear in mind the Swiss or French would never dream of drinking anything but a crisp white wine with cheesy dishes like these – look for an Apremont or a Roussette. And if you want a truly authentic experience, hunt down classic digestif Genepi (£27.99) .
Get ski fit
If and when they do open, most European resorts should stay that way until mid-April and beyond – after all, if there’s snow around, they’ll want to recoup some of that lost income. With that in mind, if you’re still holding out hope that you’ll be able to hit the snow later in the season, be primed to make the most of it by ensuring you’re ski fit.
Warren Smith, who is usually based in Verbier, has a dry land training programme but if you want live Zoom workouts and can bear the torture of glimpsing the blue skies and mountains through someone else’s window, check out Project Performance Morzine .
It’s a virtual ski party! (Picture: Project Performance)
Personal trainer Ian Mellor is based in the Alps and together with fellow coach Jude Humphries runs five live Zoom classes a week that offer all-round fitness with a focus on strengthening the muscles you need for skiing.
Clients are a mix of locals and Brits who are hoping to be able to put those muscles to use before too long. It costs €40 (£35) per month, which works out at under £2 a class.
Finally, if you really want to get into the spirit, time your session around Ski Sunday (6.15pm, BBC2) – it’s not ideal but until resorts and borders open up again, it’s all we’ve got.
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