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Throwing a post-ski tailgate party.

“I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table.” —Macbeth

The ski-resort tailgate: a tradition possibly as iconic as skiing itself. After a memorable day on the hill, continue the camaraderie back at the cars with more shenaniganry, swapping ski stories of powder days past and heroic hucks landed or lost. A tailgate takes proper planning—one missing item or unforeseen circumstance can easily derail the whole party train. So, we consulted a panel of experts (read: had an office meeting) to compile some tips for honing your skills en route to the Tailgate Hall of Fame.

Essential Items
Extra chairs
Folding tables
Firepit & wood
Prepped food
Extra layers
Trash bags

Getting Started
You’ll need to nominate a grill-master to get things going. Said grill-master should head down early to set up while the rest of the gang takes “two more, skip the last.” Check the resort’s guidelines on how long you can stay, and which items are permitted or prohibited—open fires, loud music, alcohol, grills, etc. Move your car to a better parking space as the lot clears out: somewhere close to the slopes but away from heavy traffic, with a good view of the mountain. Pop off those boots and slide into something more comfortable. Light the fire and get all your offerings in place.

Party On
Bump some tasteful tunes to energize the crowd. Got games? Break out the cornhole. The post-ski tailgate is a place to relive the day and make plans for tomorrow. Gather ’round, build the flame, and get animated as you replay Eddie’s yard sale on Flippers. Well-told ski stories are infectious, and often lead to glorious plans for the coming days. Spin on, dream on, and throw on another log. The snow gods will look down and smile.

Clean Up
Make sure your trash bags are stationed at visible, convenient locations throughout the evening—extra points if you separate cans and compost. Pack everything out, including unused coals. Don’t leave a mess of black briquettes in the parking lot. Clean up all dog poop and do a once-over before you leave to ensure the area looks how it did when you arrived. Last but not least, make sure everyone has a safe ride home.

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Dos & Don’ts
DO bring your dog to the party. She’s been cooped up all day and could use some exercise and socializing.
DON'T let her beg for people’s food, run off into traffic, and cause an overall ruckus.

DO have a beer or two, laugh and tell stories, and enjoy time spent with good friends.
DON'T get shitfaced if you don’t have a ride. You want to ski tomorrow, don’t you?

DO bring something to contribute; chips, beer, something to grill. If you weren’t planning on coming, but were invited impromptu, offer to chip in for food costs.
DON'T show up uninvited and ask for a burger. Unless you have good rapport with the host, stand back and make room for others.

DO invite passersby to join. Wasn’t it Jim Bridger himself who invited the Donner Party into his post?
DON'T rudely heckle people, throw snowballs (unless it’s someone you know), or act like you own the whole place. We’re all here for a good time.

DO double-check that you’ve cleaned up the entire area before departing.
DON'T leave a single piece of litter in the parking lot. Tailgating is a privilege and you could ruin it for everyone else.