Evolution of Whistler Après: Longhorn Saloon
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Evolution of Whistler Après: Longhorn Saloon

After a day of shredding on the mountains, it is common practice to take part in the Whistler après culture with your mates. Regardless of whether it’s bike season, ski season or something in between, the art of après amplifies the celebration of earning your beverage of choice. No need to go clean up, wear your day with the gear you’ve been earning it in and get ready for an evening or potentially a night of celebrating!

The History of the Whistler Après at the Longhorn

It is inevitable that if you’ve spent time in Whistler you’ll recognize the perfectly placed patio at the base of Whistler Mountain known as the Longhorn Saloon, and hopefully that you’ve experienced a proper Whistler après session there first hand. The Longhorn opened in 1981 in the Whistler Village surrounded by world-class skiing and later mountain biking. Its location is still one that cannot be beaten today in any season, it is easily recognizable by its iconic yellow umbrellas which are a beacon for those making their way down the mountain. Owner Joey Gibbons has memories etched in his mind of skiing down to the base as an 8-year-old and watching “adults having the time of their lives with great music” at Longhorn. If you’ve passed by recently, you know the same vibe exists.

1980’s outside the Longhorn Saloon 1980’s. Photo supplied by the Whistler Museum

Behind the Scenes

Joey feels it is an honor and privilege to keep the legacy of the Longhornthriving. His father, Richard Gibbons put a lot on the line to make The Longhorn Saloon take shape initially. Growing up watching the adults embrace the Whistler après culture was what inspired Joey to eventually purchase The Longhorn Saloon from his father and start throwing his own epic parties.
The atmosphere is everything to Joey and The Longhorn team is all about ensuring it is just right. From cozy fire pits to bumping music and wild champagne water guns (when the occasion calls), the unified team is all about making the experience memorable for the guests.

The evolution of après never stops at the Longhorn. Photo Rob Perry

Building the Whistler Legacy

Gibbons Whistler and the Longhorn Saloon have contributed over the years to the evolution of Whistler village. Back in the day people only visited Whistler five months of the year, and the rest of the time Whistler was a ghost town. Business needed to be sustainable, so to entice visitors to come not just for the skiing (the mountain bike park was not yet a feature), Joey’s dad (Richard Gibbons) paid for the first softball field to be built and for the teams to come up from Vancouver to experience Whistler.  Gibbons also sponsored hockey leagues and more, to bring business into the village. It’s always been about sharing the magic of Whistler, no matter how or why the people end up here it’s been ingrained in the Gibbons family that Whistler is where your soul is set free to create, inspire and chase dreams. This mentality is fully achieved when shared with others.
The once dubbed shoulder season now brings new guests and now feels just as bumping as any other time of the year. With events like Tough Mudder, Cornucopia and the Whistler Beer Festival there’s always a reason to visit Whistler. A big game changer came with the arrival of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, suddenly apres wasn’t just for the winter enthusiasts anymore. Locals and tourists started flocking from all over for the new attraction. Now, biking is flawlessly integrated into the Whistler culture, you’ll find bikes lining the racks outside The Longhorn Saloon all summer long.

The atmosphere is everything. A comfortable place to gather with good music, good people and good drinks.

Always a Party

Longhorn has carried the same Whistler après party vibe through the years. The wild scene has evolved with different trends over time and a recently much welcome addition are champagne guns, these just scream good times ahead! Along with being the perfect après spot, it is also a well-known venue choice for bachelor and bachelorette parties, regularly visited by Bar Hop too. Find out more about a Bar Hop experience here.

The Longhorn is an experience that ties in flawlessly to the end of any day on the mountain, you simply rack your skis, board or bike outside, and roll into the party. People travel from all over the world to experience Whistler and the team at Gibbons thinks this should be a destination on everyone’s list, locals included. The venue is a gathering spot to relish in the day’s achievements, let loose, mingle, eat and enjoy drinks. Owner Joey believes in “simply facilitating the people.”

Earn your après in any season at the Longhorn Saloon.

Earn Your Après

Whether you have been shredding snow or dirt, Joey hopes guests can “be present and happy with all they have accomplished either that day or with life in general. We get guests from all over the world who work hard and take little time to smell the roses. Après at the Longhorn is like smelling the roses.”

Gibbons is so passionate about apres Joey crafted the perfect beverage for the occasion; Gibbons Après Lager. No surprise you can find this thirst-quenching beer being consumed by many at The Longhorn Saloon.

Après Lager making a splash by locals and visitors alike on the Longhorn patio.

From entertaining visitors to keeping it real with the locals, the Longhorn Saloon has your back. Go play, have an adventure and celebrate with us after, the Longhorn is always ready for your classic Whistler apres indulgences!

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year round snow seeker, photographer and writer. She's living life one adventure to the next with her dog by her side.