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Artful Living | How to Create the Ultimate At-Home Après Ski Experience

Photography by Victoria Campbell

After months and months of winter, even the hardiest of us can grow tired of the indoor views this time of year. But who says outdoor dining has to end when daylight saving time does? We say you can still stylishly and comfortably entertain outside, turning to both the ski slopes and our Scandinavian neighbors for some inspiration. No matter how far you are from the nearest chairlift, now is the perfect time to create your own alfresco après ski tradition at home.

Setting the scene is easy. Your first consideration? Keeping everyone comfortable. There is an age-old saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Let your guests know they should bundle up to spend some quality time outside enjoying the distinct beauty of the season. Add a roaring fire, cozy lighting, comfy seating, and warm blankets for layering. Nothing says winter more than the look and smell of fresh evergreen boughs; incorporate this greenery accent into centerpieces, garlands and other little nooks throughout your venue. Strategically placed lanterns help define the space, while candles complete the look.

Artful Living | How to Create the Ultimate At-Home Après Ski Experience

Now to the undeniable reason we’re getting together: food and drink! A good après scene starts with a varied beverage offering, with some to keep you warm and others to refresh. Hot chocolate, hot toddies, Irish coffee and — my personal favorite — mulled wine are the perfect antidotes to the cold. I also like to sprinkle Champagne throughout the area to encourage partygoers to toast the day. A bucket or a snowbank keeps bottles chilled to the perfect serving temperature. Remember to keep your sparkling beverages cold and your warm drinks piping hot.

For fare, embrace a winter menu theme. Keep recipes simple, prepared ahead of time and with the right equipment for bringing outside. A clan favorite, cheese fondue with an assortment of breads, vegetables and meats keeps everyone happy. Hearty stews and homemade chili are also delicious and easy to transport in slow cookers and placed on warming trays. Keep things uncomplicated so you can dine in gloves or mittens.

Artful Living | How to Create the Ultimate At-Home Après Ski Experience

Cold winter weather doesn’t have to stop you from having a little alfresco fun when you follow the hallmarks of outdoor entertaining: plenty of beverages, easily accessible and easy-to-eat food, and of course a showstopping atmosphere. After all, there’s no reason why our patios, decks and gardens should only be enjoyed six months of the year. Après ski started with the sole . purpose of connecting with friends after a great day on the slopes — let’s carry on that tradition in our own backyards.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

Chris Plantan’s Top At-Home Après Ski Recipes.

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