Like many things French (fries, kissing, liberty) the Alps-born concept of the après-ski has disseminated worldwide as an activity of equal importance with the actual sports of skiing and snowboarding. While most European après-skiing revolves around a Euro-style clubbing mid-mountain, most American ski towns have given the tradition their own twist. Some of these mountains let you belly up to the bar of an old hunting lodge for a spiked hot chocolate. You can order a drink from a bar made completely out of ice, or ski down to a distillery in a gastro-saloon.
Here are just a few of the can’t miss après-ski destinations in America.
Park City, Utah. Park City is home to the world’s only ski-in distillery, High West, which is part distillery and part gastro-saloon, serving up Western-inspired food and cocktails and flights using their award-winning craft spirits. It is also one of the few liquor stores open in Utah on Sundays.
Continuing with the old-western theme, mere steps from High West is Washington School House, one of the last surviving school houses built in 1889 that has been converted to a ski hotel, outfitted with a swanky fireside après-ski lounge with fare that is complimentary for guests.
The St. Regis Deer Valley ice sculpture is a little like Elsa’s castle, but for grownups. (Jo Piazza for Yahoo Travel)
For a more luxurious experience head to the St. Regis Deer Valley where you can indulge in a glass of bubbly, delicious caviar and the hotel’s famed tuna on ice outside of a stunning ice castle at the exclusive Ruinart Champagne ice bar, aptly called Après.
You’ll have to do some sleuthing to find this pop-up champagne bar in Aspen. But trust us, it’s worth it. (Photo: Oasis)
Aspen, Colorado. Super chic and stylish Aspen has a unique après that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. You’ll want to visit the Oasis by The Little Nell, the world’s only pop-up champagne and caviar bar, where skiers have to follow clues on Twitter to find its location on Aspen Mountain. Aspen also has its own saloon, J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome. Order the “Aspen Crud,” a genius take on a bourbon milkshake, and thank me later. For more of a happening spot, head to 39 Degrees Lounge at Sky Hotel to see and be seen by all of the pretty people.
It’s getting hot in here. Not really. It’s still pretty chilly. (Photo: Tamarack Lodge)
Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is split in two between North and South Lake Tahoe. South is where you’ll find more of the token, vibrant ski-town ambiance where you come off the gondola just steps away from great pizza and cold (or warm) drinks at Base Camp Pizza Company, or local craft beer at Stateline Brewery. Heavenly Mountain Resort, has their own après-ski party outside of the Tamarack Lodge atop the mountain, where DJs spin music on a tricked out snowcat, dubbed, DJ Cat. North Lake Tahoe is also no stranger to après-ski. Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, the second-largest ski area on the lake next to Heavenly, has everything from an Irish pub to a sushi bar to a Bavarian beer garden, Chalet, which is only accessible by skiing or snowboarding.
Grand Tetons of Wyoming. Jackson Hole has been known for its “steep and deep” terrain, which always attracted expert and adventurous skiers. (Photo: AP)
Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole is still the wild west of ski destinations in America, considered home to some of the toughest ski runs (and best backcountry skiing). Here saloons outnumber the coffee shops. Staples include the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, which dates back to the early 1900s, and has been the stage for the likes of Hank Williams and Willie Nelson. Just around the corner is another old school saloon, the Mangy Moose, which has been named by multiple publications as one of the best après-ski bars in the world. Want a little more food? Try the Spur Restaurant and Bar at the Teton Lodge, where you’ll find no shortage of wild game, and The Handle Bar, a whiskey, beer, and mess hall at the Four Seasons by award-winning celebrity chef Michael Mina.
Killington, Vermont. I would be remiss not to mention at least one east coast destination. Naturally it is Killington, which is home to the largest ski area in the east. A Killington landmark is the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse, which is as much a nightclub as it is steakhouse when live bands take the stage. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes. Also of note for their live music is the Pickle Barrel, which is known for being the stage for some major acts. For something more low-key, try McGrath’s Irish Pub or Outback Pizza, which is not to be confused with the Aussie chain steakhouse.