After a smile-inducing day on the slopes, nothing can quite put a proper cap on the experience like an authentic, celebratory apres-ski session. Whether you’re looking for a cold, locally crafted brew or libation, live music, friendly locals, finger-licking appetizers or perhaps even a felicitous hot tub encounter, you’ll find just what you seek at these choice North American après-ski scenes.
Ajax Tavern–Aspen, Colo.
Sun-basking and dance parties only touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to apres-ski enjoyment at Aspen’s Ajax Tavern. Based out of the swank Little Nell this lively spot is a favorite among Aspen locals and guests alike, boasting Colorado microbrews, excellent wines (including plenty of bubbly) and a menu featuring gourmet burgers, sandwiches and salads that satisfy the hungriest skiers and snowboarders.
Where to stay: The Limelight Hotel is just a two-block walk from Ajax Tavern, and the pool and hot tub provide the perfect setting for bringing the party back to the hotel.
Mi Casa–Breckenridge, Colo.
Hearty, authentic Mexican fare and more than 100 types of tequilas greet you at Mi Casa after a day at Breckenridge ski resort. Plus, with $1 tacos, $2 Tecate beers and $5 wings, there’s no better place for the budget-conscious to apres-ski on a Breckenridge ski vacation.
Where to stay: Situated just across the street from Mi Casa, the Village at Breckenridge provides spacious one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condominiums and convenience to historic Main Street and the Quicksilver lift.
Merlin’s–Whistler Blackcomb, B.C., Canada
After the long, 5,100-plus vertical descent from Blackcomb Peak it’s usually time to call it a day and head to Merlin’s for mountain-high nachos, Kokanee on draft and daily live music compliments of local rockers, the Hairfarmers.
We're giving away 3, 4-night/3-day ski trips to a few of the top resorts for après-ski: Aspen, Breckenridge & Whistler.
Mangy Moose–Jackson Hole, Wy.
After you’ve clicked off your skis or unstrapped from your board for the day, you’re going to want to head straight to the Mangy Moose for a famed spicy margarita. Located in Jackson Hole’s Teton Village, you can practically ski up to this longtime Jackson Hole apres-ski favorite. Established in 1967, the Moose has enjoyed a long-standing acclaim as one of the top apres-ski spots of North American ski resorts. The Moose offers exceptional live concerts, hosting the likes of Julian Marley, the Blues Travelers and many more.
Where to stay: Hotel Terra Jackson Hole is within perfect stumbling distance from the Mangy Moose, as well as the base-area restaurants and lifts.
Le Chamois–Squaw Valley, Calif.
This revered Squaw Valley hotspot is recognized by Powder Magazine as “a vortex that draws people in at the end of the day where they can brag about what they skied.” Located in the Squaw Valley base area, Le Chamois is a great place to hang out in the California sunshine and enjoy budget-friendly brews. Just make sure you show up with a group of friends—you’re going to need them to help you take advantage of the mind-blowing beer specials. Purchase the “Buddy Pass” for just $40 and you’ve got 20 pints of beer.
Where to stay: Squaw Valley Lodge provides rabble-rousers with reasonably priced, ski in ski out condominiums just a stone’s throw from Le Chamois.
The Clocktower Cellar (Alpenhof Lodge bar)—Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
The Clocktower Cellar is a favorite post-skiing establishment for its pub grub menu and more than 150 whiskies and 26 drafts from around the world. The Clocktower is conveniently located just across from the Village Gondola beneath the Alpenhof Lodge, making it a cinch to collect your gear and belly up for a traditional Mammoth apres-ski experience.
Where to stay: Of course, Alpenhof is the best choice for ultimate convenience, but the Village Lodge is just a couple blocks away and offers awesome ski access and an awesome outdoor pool.
If you dream of a sunny patio, a refreshing adult beverage and a great view overlooking the slopes when you picture your perfect apres-ski experience, then you may have to pinch yourself when you show up at “Garf’s” after a great day of skiing or riding at Vail. The Lionshead Village-based bar and restaurant features a spacious deck perched above the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Don’t miss their “$3 You Call It” Special on Friday nights—it’s the best happy hour deal in Vail.
Where to stay: Also located in the Lionshead base village, Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort isn’t just convenient to Vail’s best apres-ski spot, but the Eagle Bahn gondola and a host of other bars, restaurants and shops.
Peruvian Lodge Bar–Alta, Utah
If you’ve been dying to experience a true skier’s bar, Alta‘s Peruvian Lodge bar is it. Taxidermy line the bar walls and skiers in full goggle-tan regalia, beer or whisky in hand, float in and outdoors, where a sunny patio, two hot tubs and a heated pool await. If you’re at the Peruvian on Sunday you’ll be treated to live music, which usually draws a considerable crowd. Don’t be surprised if you get handed a shotski.
Where to stay: Obviously the Peruvian Lodge is your best bet, but the 16-person, ski in ski out Wildcat Chalet also provides a unique Alta lodging experience.
The Wobbly Barn–Killington, Vt.
Constructed back in the early 60s with salvaged pieces of old New England barns, the Wobbly Barn, located on the main Killington thoroughfare, is still standing more than 45 years later. In fact, this steakhouse/night club is not just still standing— it’s still rocking. The Wobbly Barn brings some incredible live bands and DJs to the Killington area and is one New England dance party you don’t want to miss.
Where to stay: For a full-service ski hotel, Killington Grand Hotel is at the top of the pack. Plus, you can easily—and safely—get to and from the apres and nightlife thanks to an evening shuttle service.
High West Distillery & Saloon–Park City, Utah
There’s a couple of notable aspects which makes High West Distillery & Saloon a don’t-miss Park City apres-ski experience. For one, you can literally ski right up to the distillery/saloon via the bottom of Park City Mountain Resort’s Quittin’ Time ski run. Two, this ski-in saloon & restaurant is a historical masterpiece—both the distillery and the gastro-saloon are repurposed historical buildings from the mining era. Three, High West Distillery is Utah’s first distillery since the 1870s, making it a historical experience in more ways than one. If you garner a taste for the hand-crafted Park City whisky, which is likely, you can purchase bottles all over the U.S. and relive your Park City ski vacation from the comfort of your home.
Where to stay: For easy walking access to the lifts and High West Distillery & Saloon and plenty of other apres-ski hot spots and nightlife, Resort Plaza is highly recommend.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.