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Powder Play

A highly abridged encyclopedia of skiing and snowboarding

Après

Literally, “after” (Fr.). Refers to non-slope-related activities, especially eating, drinking and bragging endlessly about one’s exploits on the trails.
Should you happen to spot a burly bartender wearing a baby-pink cowboy hat at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, chances are he’s being punished. “The staff has decided that on Sunday nights they should wear cowboy hats,” explains Charlee Starr, a 20-year employee. “If you show up to work without a hat, you have to wear a pink one.” This fabled Jackson Hole, Wyo., institution—it’s been around in one form or another since the 1930s— doesn’t take its Wild West theme too seriously. The barstools are made of saddles and the place is cluttered with what its owner speculatively refers to as “artifacts.” The music, however, is another matter. Willie Nelson has performed here, as have Tanya Tucker, Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. And if your legs can handle it after a day on the slopes, there are even lessons in how to execute the après two-step.

Bunny Slope

A semi-tilted area where inexperienced adults fraternize with toddlers while enduring the smirks of onlookers; an inescapable rite of passage for most skiers.
Nowhere is the rookie skier’s sense of ignominy more acute than on the dreaded bunny slope. And Ski le Gap’s Bruce Eaves, a veteran instructor at the excellent Quebec school, has seen it all in his 42 years of teaching: the tumbles, the tears, the slow-motion pileups. One thing he’s learned is to not be openly amused by such spectacles—the prospect of ridicule being a major terror for the uninitiated, second only to unexpected contact with trees. So Eaves’ first step in getting his students off the bunnies is to lighten the mood. “If people are having fun,” he says, “they’re going to learn better.” The next step, not surprisingly, is addressing the running-into-a-tree issue. “Getting speed under control is a big priority for us.”

Celebrity-Spotting

A maneuver involving a slackening of the jaw and an extending of the index finger, coupled with a variation on the phrase “Oh my God, it’s Heidi Klum!”; may result in injury if practiced at high speeds.
At the Jerome Hotel’s J-Bar, in Aspen, Colo., “the most uncool thing you can do is ask a celebrity for an autograph,” says hotel general manager Tony DiLucia. This is partly why celebs from John Wayne to Johnny Depp have felt comfortable planting their elbows on the ornate Chippendale bar at this circa-1889 watering hole. Though the Jerome is reopening in December after a redesign, the J-Bar remains largely untouched (save for some new furniture and a lick of paint). Certainly, no one is in a hurry to change the spirit of the place. “All are welcome,” says DiLucia, “and all are treated the same.”

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