There’s no denying it: sometimes the best part of a ski day is the après-ski. From laid-back to lascivious, there are all sorts of après opportunities around the world. We know how it works in our own backyards, like New England and Utah, but what about in far flung locales? It’s possible to ski year-round, traveling from hemisphere to hemisphere, so it’s necessary to know how to après wherever the snow falls, from Australia to Austria and Chile to Canada.
In order to help you out on your next international ski trip, or simply provide a bit of inspiration for your next après experience (“upside-downer,” anyone?) we compiled this continent-by-continent guide with the help of some après loving friends.
Our neighbors to the North know how to après and have plenty of resorts at which to partake. From British Columbia to Alberta and Ontario to Quebec, there are enough opportunities to après that it would take a lifetime to experience them all—but it would be fun to try.
The classic Canadian après scene includes a fireside seat at the GLC (Garibaldi Lift Company), a steaming bowl of cheesy, gravy topped poutine, Molson Canadian beer and a spicy Caesar. Get it fully loaded, bacon, beans and all, to fuel back up after a huge day on Whistler Blackcomb. [Tip by Jess Smith, account manager at OutsidePR]
For a more “off-beat” option, don’t miss après ski tobogganing at Sunshine Mountain Lodge (Banff National Park’s only slope side lodging). Too tame? Check out hot tub bingo at the lodge’s 30 person hot tub – the largest hot tub in the area. [Tip by Jason Tamagi, Director Sales and Marketing at Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort]
When the heat rises in the United States, it’s time to venture south of the Equator for your turns. Chile, as well as Argentina, is home to some amazing ski resorts, while Bolivia has a 600-foot stretch of glacier that can serve as a run during the winter, if you’re really desperate. We suggest sticking to the sanctioned slopes for the most fulfilling après.
Valle Nevado’s après scene focuses around two things alone: Pisco, the drink of Chile that tastes roughly like bad tequila, and the hot tub which is so enormous that you can set up a volleyball net straight through the middle of it and play volleyball while hot-tubing. [Tip by Steve Kopitz, CEO of Skis.com]
Austria is considered the home of après ski—some might even say that they invented it. As a result, you can be sure that no matter where you go, there will be plenty of opportunities to party. Wear your most comfortable ski boots as you’ll soon be dancing on the tables in them.
St. Anton is where you find some of the rowdiest slope side bars that get going early in the afternoon and keep going until the evening. It’s not unusual to see (very drunk) people trying to ski back to the village following an afternoon session at the Krazy Kanguruh or Der MooserWirt. [Tip by Sarah Plaskitt, Director of Scout]
In Austria, it all comes down to Pear Williams Schnapps, which is akin to lighter fluid. However, the REAL Pear William actually grows the pear inside the bottle. [Tip by John Urdi, Executive Director, Mammoth Lakes Tourism]
Italy’s Dolomite mountains are home to some of the most well-regarded slopes in Europe, where it’s possible to ski all day and not repeat a run. The après ski scene usually takes place in bars in town after a full day on the slopes.
A favorite way to après in Italy is having Bombardinos (a Bombardino is an eggnog-based drink served hot) made on top of a mountain in a Refugio, then skiing down at sunset. [Tip by Chris Anthony, Skier and on-screen personality with the Warren Miller Film Team]
While France may not see as many après-related ski injuries as its Austrian friends, France has its fair share of lively resorts where, when offered a pitcher of beer to swig from while dancing on a table in your ski boots, the only acceptable answer is “Oui!”
In France, the après parties are like open air night clubs on the snow, particularly at a club called La Folie Douce, which has branches in Meribel, Val Thorens and Tignes. There’s champagne falling from the sky (literally – they spray everyone with bottles of it), DJs, professional dancers and, of course, everyone dancing in their ski boots: either on or off the tables. [Tip by Sarah Plaskitt, Director of Scout]
One of the best things about Chamonix is the laid-back attitude. While the skiing here is taken pretty seriously (some a bit too seriously by the hardcore powder-heads) the après-ski is very much come-as-you-are. Some of the more high-end establishments aside, just head out in whatever feels comfortable! Though it’s not recommended from a purely practical point of view, you certainly won’t get any funny looks heading out in your ski wear, though it’s probably best to nip back to your chalet and change into something warm and comfortable as you’ll be cursing your saloupettes if you try dancing in them at 2 a.m. As for drinks, Oliver Bell has always been a fan of the beer in the MBC microbrewery on the Route de Bouchet just outside the town centre. [Tip by Oliver Bell, Owner of Oliver’s Travels]
It’s true: very few skiers think “Greece” when it comes to a skiing destination. But the same country that provides amazing beaches and ouzo also gives you the opportunity to ski and enjoy sea views at the same time.
For après at Mount Parnassus, skiers tend to return to their hotels, freshen up, dress in effortlessly casual evening wear (smooth black leggings and a stylish pair of flat, over-the-knee boots are de rigueur) and head into the town of Arahova for dinner at a taverna, often around 9 p.m. (Greeks tend to eat quite late). Then – if you have the energy to move, or are young enough not to care – it’s off to the cozy, smartly-outfitted bars hidden behind a traditional, stone-built exterior for a round of creative cocktails and dancing till the wee hours. The thing right now, drinks-wise, is a Greek version of mojito that includes deliciously aromatic mastic liqueur, sourced from the mastic trees that only grow on the northeastern Aegean isle of Chios, spearmint instead of mint and a good dollop of a traditional sticky vanilla sweet. [Tip by Helen Iatrou, PR & Communications Manager, Marketing Greece S.A.]
Après ski in Switzerland is a day-long affair, with revelers coming off of the mountain in the dark. Once down the ski slope, the party continues well into the night in bars and restaurants in town.
Après ski is just part of the ski day—it’s not a choice. Just as the lifts start and stop each day, après is just part of the day. There are tons of singing and dancing and lots of live music, wherever you are. It’s very festive and joyful. It’s simply not to be missed, even if you’re not a big partier. In Zermatt, you can’t walk down the street or ski down the slopes without hearing live music. It’s an all out celebration that doesn’t end when the lifts close. [Tip by Pat Peeples, President of Peeples Ink PR]
Japan is home to more than 600 ski resorts, so there are plenty of options to explore and plenty of après to experience. In addition to the multitude of bars and nightlife, be sure to get in at least one visit to the “onsen,” naturally occurring volcanic hot springs.
Japan’s après scène is a little more sedate in the early afternoon as everyone disappears to soak themselves in the natural onsen, but as the night wears on, there’s plenty of great sake and Japanese Whiskey to get stuck into. One of Scout‘s favorite après bars in the world is Bar Gyu+ in Niseko, otherwise known as the fridge door bar, since the front door is, quite literally a fridge door. Inside, it’s a cozy wooden room, with excellent cocktails and vinyl records playing in the background. [Tip by Sarah Plaskitt, Director of Scout]
In Niseko, there are more than 50 bars and restaurants hidden in between the 10 foot high snow banks. In Hirafu, which is the most Western-influenced Japanese resort, Sapporo classic on tap is a must, plus warm sake, ramen and a soak in the onsen (hot springs). [Tip by Pete Graham, snowboard instructor at Hokkaido Mountain Experience]
United Arab Emirates
Though Dubai is located in the Arabian desert, that doesn’t mean that you have to skip the slopes. Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, is located in the Mall of the Emirates and features 242,188 square feet of indoor ski area.
After skiing at Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates with a colleague, try the best option for a “traditional” après-ski: Hot chocolate at fireside in the St. Moritz Café nearby within the Mall. What is better than skiing in a perfect 30 degree temperature after feasting on Kentucky Fried Chicken in the Food Court? [Tip by Elizabeth Avery, Founder and CEO, Solo Trekker 4 U]
Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. While there’s not a huge après scene there now (most skiers prefer hot chocolate after a day on the slopes), we have a feeling that the influx of skiers from around the world might change the après scene in the next few years.
Koreans, in general, take a different approach to drinking than Westerners do. Whereas Westerners like to get out, toss’em back and mingle with the crowd, Koreans prefer to stick within a tight-knit group of friends, eat, drink and have a laugh. As such, the après scene in Korea is almost non-existent. If you’re in need of a few après beers after a day on the slopes, visit one of the local marts where you can buy canned beers to enjoy anywhere you can find to sit around the base area.
As most visitors to the Korean ski resorts either drive or get bused in from around Korea, they often enjoy the day and then hit the road back to where they came from. People do, of course, spend the night in condo-like arrangements and hit the sauce, but this is usually done within their group of friends, probably with a massive order of fried chicken delivered to the room.” [Tip by John Buckley, Assistant Professor at 동국 Dongguk University]
Think about Australia and what most likely comes to mind is the dry, uninhabited expanse of the Outback. However, Australia is home to several ski resorts, mostly in New South Wales and Victoria, and a population of avid skiers and snowboarders. Plus, there’s nowhere else in the world where your tree runs take you through eucalyptus.
Australians are legendary drinkers so you’ll find them skulling (throwing back) shots of schnapps and Jägermeister anytime after 10 a.m., perhaps before. On the slopes, Kareela Hutte on Thredbo Mountain is the place to be for tabletop dancing and schnapps shots, Schuss Bar is your 4pm watering hole and you’ll be dancing in your ski boots at the Keller Bar until close. [Tip by Jess Smith, account manager at OutsidePR]
New Zealand is known for its wide range of adventurous activities (it’s the home of commercial bungee jumping, after all) and is home to more than 15 commercial ski fields on both islands. Unfortunately, no hobbits have been sighted on the snow.
In New Zealand, a popular après bar near the resorts in Queenstown and Wanaka is called the Cardrona Hotel. It’s a historic place, is kind of in the middle of nowhere and is one of the few après places where you may even see sheep surrounding the yard out the back. [Tip by Sarah Plaskitt, Director of Scout]
Yes, there is skiing is Africa. Not much, but there are ski resorts. The Ice Station, the legendary pub at Tiffindell Ski Resort, is home to one of the most extreme après activities we’ve heard of: the “upside downer,” which involves strapping yourself into a pair of skis that are bolted to the roof, then downing a shot.