Ways to Imbibe on the Mountain

Bota bag

Gone are the days when you had to rely on a St. Bernard carrying a mini-keg of rotgut brandy around his neck to come save you and warm your innards. Today, there are countless ways to get a little pick-me-up and warm-me-up on the slopes, without heading inside to one of the resort’s fine establishments. Following are a few you might see your chairlift partner uncorking. 

Bota bag:

This tried-and-true booze bag dates back to the early (and cold) Spanish days in the Pyrenees. It’s a traditional Spanish liquid receptacle, used mainly as a wineskin and most often made out of leather (or goatskin). While it’s typically used to carry wine, you can use it for any liquid, from hot chocolate to Red Bull. Traditionally, bota bags were lined with goat bladders; other times tree sap or other resins were used to prevent liquid from seeping through. Thankfully, the ones you’ll find at shops today (try Ski Haus) have plastic liners and a nozzle for easy slurping.

Pros: The whole tradition thing; leather makes you feel cool; sling carries well bandolier-style over your shoulder. 

Cons: It kind of dates you; red wine can dribble down white ski coats; that whole “squishes-when-you-biff” thing after hucking a cork 540.


This flashback to evenings of grandpa sitting around the campfire has resurfaced among today’s Millennials, with flagons, hipflasks, canteens, thermoses or whatever you want to call them enjoying a resurgence on the slopes. 

Pros: Fits easily (and contours with rib cage) into jacket pockets; has character — some even have initials; whatever’s inside usually warms you right up. 

Cons: Metal gets cold; they dent; easy to lose cap; they only hold so much.

Pocket Beers:

Of all carrying receptacles, the canned beer (we’ll go with PBR) is the probably the simplest method; and you don’t even need to fill it. Simply grab it from the fridge and go. And the beers from cheapskate manufacturers (like, ahem, those 11.2-ounce Stellas) are actually skinnier and fit in your pockets better. 

Pros: Multi-variety; that refreshing burst when you open it; goes down so smooth (and actually helps hydrate you); can crush the can after crushing your beer to carry home.

Con: Gets shaken up when you fall; kinda’ bulky in the pocket; always wish you brought more. 

WhiSki Pole:


For a quick snort on the slopes, it doesn’t get more clandestine — or dorky — than the WhiSki Pole, a ski pole that, yes, actually doubles as a flask. And not just one flask, but two! The adjustable poles are made with aircraft-grade aluminum, but more importantly, each pole grip (or Stash Handle) holds 8 ounces of your favorite beverage, secured with a screw-on cap. Simply untwist, twist your neck back, and get twisted. $79, www.whiskipoles.com

Pro: Can sneak through any frisking by authorities; you have two of them; great way to impress friends. 

Cons: They’re kind of dorky; extra swing weight when skiing; inherent bias against snowboarders; hard to tell how much you have in there. 

How Many Beers Can Your Vest Hold? 

Not that we’re advocating this, but If you’re Josh Burton of Laramie, Colo.’s WhatVest (whatvest.com), you can carry far more beers than however many friends you have. Watch his YouTube clip (youtu.be/9iAcM36fMTU) and you’ll learn that he can carry a whopping 41 coldies with him in his WhatVest on the slopes, broken down as follows: Vest pockets (6); Front pockets (4); Lumbar pockets (4); Back top goggle pocket (6); Main rear pocket: (21). “But I wouldn’t recommend it for your daily skiing,” he says.