For the Love of Après

For the Love of Après


I was watching Oprah a while back. Actually, scratch that—Oprah was on, my girlfriend was watching, and I just happened to be in the room. Oprah was talking to this lady who called herself the Million Dollar Matchmaker and she was doling out free advice for all the lonely souls seeking true love and companionship.

“One of the best places to look,” the Matchmaker explained, “is on a ski hill, or at a ski resort.” Oprah was surprised (does Oprah ski?) but actually it makes perfect sense. Ski hills, especially a big one like Whistler Blackcomb, draw tens of thousands of healthy, adventurous people to the slopes each day. For the most part these are fun, outgoing folks with real jobs who enjoy physical activity, the serenity of the outdoors and who appreciate the finer things in life. So congratulations! We are all Matchmaker material. And if ski runs are prime romance-finding zones then the Whistler après scene must be like a heat-seeking arrow fired straight from Cupid’s bow.

“Après is the time when the day marries the night,” says Whistler legend Mike Varrin in this week’s Whistler Sabbatical Project video. So love is already in the air before you even make it to the patio. Toss in a kick-ass band or a DJ playing only 45rpm records and you’ve got an instant dance party. Add a couple drinks to keep everyone socially lubricated and before long you’re totally immersed in a crowd full of hip-shaking, arm-waving, head-bopping revelers ready to strip away their inhibitions (and a few layers of ski gear.)

Après is like having an afternoon New Year’s Eve party every single day of the week that absolutely everyone is invited to. And when the clock strikes midnight and you’re still dancing in your ski boots…like Mr Varrin says, “You’re an après winner.” Bonus points if you’re rocking rear-entry boots.

But what about the Matchmaker’s theory? Will après ski really help to find you the next love of your life? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t but if you’re après-ing correctly it won’t matter either way. You’ll be having way too much fun with all your new friends.

— Feet Banks

Mike Varrin is an après super-host who books the best bands, hires the friendliest staff and ensures that everyone he meets understands exactly what makes Whistler amazing. He’s called this valley home for over 18 years and he’s as stoked today as when he first arrived. A few years back Whistler’s mayor even went on the record as saying, “I’m the mayor from 8 AM to 4 PM. After that, it’s Varrin’s town.”

A Whistler Insider Exclusive Video

Mike Varrin explains what the perfect day in Whistler ought to look like in this exclusive outtake from the Whistler Sabbatical Project.

Feet Banks

Feet Banks

Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.