Featured Image: The Little Nell
You’ve spent the day ripping around the resort, and you’re feeling on top of your game, but now it’s time to push yourself to the limit; it’s après time. Depending on where you ski, you might find anything from shot skis to beer-fueled table dancing (in ski boots, no less) to sophisticated wine and charcuterie on cobblestone streets. In no particular order, here are a few locations that stand out for their signature après scenes.
Most Over-the-Top | Aspen, Colorado
At Aspen Highlands’ Cloud Nine (an alpine-style cabin situated on the mountainside), it’s not unusual to witness high-dollar bottles of champagne sprayed across a room of dancing skiers shortly after lunch hour. Down below, in the town of Aspen, find an array of custom cocktails or a local pint at popular slopeside spots like Ajax Tavern. Belly Up is a lively concert venue that could have you out dancing ‘til the wee hours, while the Aspen Art Museum hosts groups on its rooftop if you’re looking to impress a certain someone.
Best Range of Options | Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Whistler Blackcomb, one of the largest resorts in North America, has an equally massive après scene. With nearly limitless options, expect everything from open-air patios with live music to intimate fireside lounges. Whether you’re looking to rub elbows with A-listers at the Four Seasons or Fairmont Chateau, or simply down a few cold ones with your buddies at Dusty’s or HandleBar, Whistler has you covered. Oh, and just a reminder: the legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19.
Best Mountain Town Vibes | Breckenridge, Colorado
With a rich history that dates back to the mid-1800s and an elevation of 9,600 feet, Breckenridge is a quintessential Colorado mountain town. After a day of lapping the resort’s four terrain parks, you’ll be looking to quench a mighty thirst, and the T Bar deck is an ideal first stop before your nightlife in town begins. From there, hit some of the classic spots like Downstairs at Eric’s and the Breckenridge Brewery. If you still have some energy, Cecilia’s keeps the party going late into the night.
The Original Après | Val d’Isère, France
Val d’Isère, one of France’s most famous resorts, is home to a consistently wild après scene. At 2 p.m., ski helmets and goggles are hanging on chairs at La Folie Douce, one of the world’s most-storied on-mountain après bars–conveniently located at the top of La Daille gondola (yes, you can ride the gondola down if you’ve had a few too many). By 4 p.m., it really doesn’t matter where you are because most of the valley transforms into a huge thumping party, complete with tourists dancing on tables in their ski boots. Hit up Dick’s Tea Bar or Bananas if you want to keep the party going.
Best SoCal Vibes | Mammoth, California
If you’re into a DJ spinning music from an elevated gondola car and poppin’ bottles of champagne, give springtime in Mammoth a go. The Weekend Après Party at Canyon Lodge pulls out all the stops. Once it’s over, head to Clocktower Cellar for an outstanding whiskey and beer selection. Lincoln Bar is another popular spot thanks to the massive outdoor areas and stunning mountain views.
Best Poutine | Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada
While smaller than some of its western counterparts, Mont-Tremblant is an awesome après ski scene for East Coasters, not to mention it’s home to quite possibly the world’s best après food: poutine (cheese curds and fries topped with gravy). Expect cobblestone walkways, outdoor fire pits and a distinctly European vibe while exploring the bars and restaurants at the bottom of the ski hill. With four different types of poutine and countless drinks on the menu, Le P’tit Caribou in Mont-Tremblant is the place to create (and maybe even later forget) some great times.
Best Poolside Après | Portillo, Chile
Skiing and swimming don’t usually go hand-in-hand, but then again, you’re probably not used to skiing in the middle of summer either. Whether you opt for a pisco sour (the national drink), a glass of local wine or a cold beer, it will taste infinitely better while wading in a warm pool looking across the Laguna del Inca lake at the impressive snow-covered Andean peaks.
Most Far-Fetched | Gulmarg, India
In India, most people don’t drink alcohol, so this seems like an unusual place to après–it is! But if you make friends with the right locals, they’ll invite you to a private party where icicles are smashed into cocktail glasses and the booze was probably smuggled in from a neighboring village. Not exactly a wild party, but because of the unique circumstances, it might be the most memorable après of your life.
Best On-Mountain Bars | St. Anton, Austria
With everything from world-renowned DJs to classic beer-hall style terraces, St. Anton’s après features something for everyone. Krazy Kangaruh is a classic on-mountain spot where schnitzels, beer and table dancing combine for a party that kicks off around 11 a.m. Another mountain party cabin, MooserWirt, pumps out the Euro tunes under a giant disco ball until you’re ready to ski a few hundred feet of vert to the village below, where you’ll find a ton of options that range from chic G&Ts to old-world schnapps.
Best East Coast Vibes | Stowe, Vermont
The Matterhorn has long been the go-to après ski bar at Stowe and is widely considered one of the best in the country. If you’re hankering for some top-notch Rye Whiskey, check out The WhistlePig Pavilion at Spruce Creek. Or perhaps you’re more interested in sampling some freshly brewed Heady Topper (one of the world’s most-coveted beers) at the nearby Alchemist brewery. Whatever your pleasure, picture-perfect Stowe is the epitome of an idyllic ski town and a great place to revel in North America’s après roots.