Aspen Untucked: A Shot and a Ski |

Aspen Untucked: A Shot and a Ski

by Barbara Platts


Here are a few ideal locations in Aspen and Snowmass to find a ski to strap a shot to...

Base Camp Bar & Grill

73 Wood Road, Suite 1100 in Snowmass Village


Camp De Fiori

205 S. Mill St. in Aspen


Highlands Alehouse

133 Prospector Road, Suite 411B in Aspen


Mi Chola

411 E. Main St. in Aspen


Red Onion

420 E. Cooper Ave. in Aspen


Slow Groovin’ BBQ

67 Elbert Lane in Snowmass Village


The New Belgium Ranger Station

100 Elbert Lane, Suite 115 in Snowmass Village


Venga Venga

105 Daly Lane in Snowmass Village


Peppered throughout bars and restaurants in Aspen and Snowmass is a tool sure to bring party people and adventurous spirits together in intoxicating ways. We call it the shotski, and it is exactly what is sounds like: a shot plus a ski.

If you still aren’t sure what a shotski is, let me explain. It’s a ski (one singular board to be exact) without the binding. From tip to tail, there are shot glasses attached, typically three to six. A shotski cannot be taken alone, it must be coordinated with fellow drinkers. To take one, each participant simultaneously lifts the ski with the shot up to their lips and empties their glass. This synchronized motion requires teamwork, as the height of the apparatus must be lowered to the shortest person in the group. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, the movement becomes swift and easy.

Shotskis can be found in many watering holes in most ski towns. Locally, they are aplenty (see sidebar for more information).

We’ve come to love shotskis as a natural bar accessory, but where did they come from? Unfortunately, the exact origins of the shotski are difficult to find. We do know that these drinking devices became prevalent in the late 1900s, however there’s some debate over who invented it: the Europeans or the Americans. “Aprés-ski” culture has been around in Norway since the mid-1800s, and it’s believed that the term was first coined in La Revue du Ski, a French ski Magazine, in the late 1930s. But the shot glass, a quintessential piece of the shotski, is not mentioned in the media until the 1950s. However this drinking tool came to be, it has since been embedded into our ski culture. Sure, it’s intensely silly and maybe a bit too indulgent at times, but its ours.

Once one group of friends has a shotski then everyone else sees it, it’s on display, then everyone wants to do it.

To learn more about the shotski, I decided to experience it firsthand. Slow Groovin’ BBQ in Snowmass offers four shot options to be taken off of their fancy wooden ski: Jägermeister, Rumplemintz, Marble Distilling’s Moonlight Espresso or Fireball. My friends and I decided on the Moonlight Espresso and enlisted our waiter to help us accomplish the shot. Once we were lined up, all on the same level height-wise, we tilted the ski toward us and the flavored vodka went down seamlessly.

I also ventured with a few willing participants to Red Onion. They have several shotskis to choose from, depending on the size of your party. We went for a four-shooter, once again insisting a member of the waitstaff to join. Danielle Arca was more than willing to help out. This time, we shot Jägermeister.

Arca said one of the fun things about shotskis is how contagious they are.

“It generates a lot of enthusiasm, and it adds to the spirit of the bar atmosphere,” she said. “Once one group of friends has a shotski then everyone else sees it, it’s on display, then everyone wants to do it.”

That’s the funny thing I learned about the shotski on my bar adventures: In one fell swoop, it can get the crowd pumping. Taking it becomes a challenge, a common event that all participants have in common. It puts everyone on an equal playing field, and not just because some have to crouch down to accommodate the shortest shooter. Similar to talking about the weather or the latest deal you got on ski gear, the shotski reminds us that we are all in this together.

So, next time you’re at a bar with some friends or even some strangers, consider taking a shotski. It could be the perfect prop to bring your crew even closer together. Plus, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

As always, imbibe responsibly.

After some thorough research, Barbara Platts is done with shotskis for a while. Reach her at