Skiing—it’s one of our beloved cold-weather pastimes. A healthy dose of fresh, crisp air and a day on the snow-covered slopes is the perfect remedy to chase away those winter greys. While many of our region’s ski hills are happily still open to the public (albeit with modified operations and reduced capacity due to COVID-19—please check individual websites for details), the time-honoured tradition of the après ski might be a little more challenging to enjoy… at least as it was in times past.
More challenging? Yes. Impossible? Never. In fact, we at York Durham Headwaters are pleased to bring you ideas for how you can create your very own après ski experience at home. Spend a day on the slopes, followed by an evening of your favourite après ski activities indoors with your loved ones. Here are some options to get you started.
What’s après ski without a belly-warming brew? Stop by Hungry Brew Hops in Newmarket for a curated charcuterie board paired with wine for your at-home enjoyment, along with beer or meal packs to go. Nearby in Newmarket is Market Brewing Co., where you can load up on delicious proprietary brews as well as hand-picked selections from other Ontario breweries and cideries. For a more varied assortment of flavours, consider A Taste of Main Street in a Bag, where a delicious collection of products from local small businesses in Markham have been smartly assembled for your safe enjoyment at home.
For a belly-warming brew of the non-alcoholic variety, try some Belgian Hot Chocolate bombs from Old Firehall Confectionery in Kleinburg and Unionville. Light the fireplace (or maybe just crank the thermostat up a few degrees) for that extra cozy feel. Enjoy your night. Repeat as needed.
For the kids, throw in a few fun DIY activities to bring the family even closer. With locations in Vaughan and Newmarket, Glama Gal Kids Spa has their Glam Craftery Boxes, filled with fun activities, available for online ordering ahead of time. For an extra $35 per hour, you can have your Glama Gal experience led virtually by a live instructor for some interactive après ski fun. Or, Crock A Doodle in Markham has a number of doodle-to-go project kits, complete with paints, brushes and step-by-step instructions. Scroll through their selections online for the perfect kit for your kids… or yourself. Hey, it’s fun for all ages.
Gather your foodie fanatic friends for a day on the slopes followed by an evening at your home. On January 24th, cookbook author and host of TopChef Canada, Eden Grinshpan, is interviewed on Zoom by local business owner Lisa Hutchinson from The Passionate Cook’s Essentials. Before your at-home après ski event, prep your guests with copies of the book ‘Eating Out Loud’ from Blue Heron Books and challenge them to tackle a recipe to nosh on as you watch. Secure their ‘seats’ by pre-registering at Blue Heron’s online store.
No one wants to cook? Not to worry. Pick up curated 4-course meals, prepared by the culinary team at the Urban Pantry Restaurant, using recipes from Eden’s book. With locally-sourced and sustainable fare, this Feast On™ Certified restaurant can be a key contributor to your party.
After a day on the slopes, we’re sure your comfy couch and your jammies are calling! Stock up in Headwaters for everything you need for a classy spread of après ski delights as you cuddle with your special someone. Next door to Dufferin’s premier ski and snowboard destination Hockley Valley Resort is the award-winning Adamo Estate Winery. Pick up some fine wine, decadent estate reds and crisp, floral whites. Don’t forget to check out Adamo’s well-stocked pantry goods, too. Marinated olives, antipasti, crackers and estate honey are all perfect additions to an après ski cheese platter.
While you’re in the area, swing by Am Braigh Farm’s roadside store for ready-made soups and shareable dinners made with local produce by local chefs. Hot soup after a cold day? Nothing is more perfect for après ski. In Orangeville, the queen of cheese and pairing advice, Christine Patton of Fromage, will help you choose cheeses, meats, spreads and crackers to keep your Adamo goodies company. Heck, she even sells the boards and platters! A few doors down, you’ll find delectable desserts at Le Finis. We recommend getting a few different types of gateaux to share amongst your vintage buddies!
Finally, be sure to stop by Caledon’s newest bottle shop and brewery, Sonnen Hill. This small family brewhouse run directly on the farm, produces fresh, pale beers with character. Pick up a few bottles to share a taste of Caledon amongst friends!
Plan ahead and safely. Please check with all the businesses for hours of operation and protocols.
Story by Katherine Ryalen