Most of us have a bucket list of ski resorts we’d like to visit one day, but what about ski resort bars? All resorts have bars, but some have become establishments themselves after decades of operation. These iconic ski bars now carry an aroma of skier sweat that no amount of air freshner can quite cover up; their walls forever echoing the sounds of tens of thousands of tales of great days on the slopes.
Here are some of the best known and most loved ski bars in America:
1. Gold Pan, Breckenridge, Colorado
Opened in 1879, the Gold Pan Saloon at 103 North Main Street is one of the few ski bars that actually pre-date the arrival of skiing in the resort. Despite clocking up nearly 140 years in a town that’s now thronging with tourists, it has resisted the temptation to become just another bland ski-torn tourist trap. Instead, the Gold Pan remains a serious spit-and-sawdust bar where you can put down your iPhone and try your hand at the old bar game of throwing a ring over a hook.
2. Mangy Moose, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
2017 marks the big 5-0 for the Moose, located at the base of Jackson Hole’s slopes since long before they decided to build a base village there. There’s live music from 4pm and you can enjoy a signature Moose Drool Ale on tap. (The equally famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in downtown Jackson is a second must-visit bar when you’re in town.)
3. Snowshoe Sam’s, Big White, BC
Winner of two big accolades, Ski Canada Magazine’s “Canada’s #1 Ski Bar” and Great Britain’s Good Skiing and Snowboarding Guide’s “Best Après Ski Venue in North America”, the ski-in Snowshoe Sam’s has achieved high kudos in the ski community. When you first walk in, you may not be immediately impressed, but that’s the point—Sam’s doesn’t attempt to impress. The impressive thing is that it has survived as a classic ski bar through to the modern day. A plethora of Aussies who have made Big White their resort of choice in North America just adds to the ambience.
4. The Wobbly Barn, Killington, Vermont
Part streak house, part bar, part night club, The Wobbly Barn has been a Killington, Vermont and American skiing institution since 1963. Built by using pieces taken from ten separate New England barns (how cool of a pedigree is that?) ‘The Wobbly’ is known for its drinks specials, live bands, great atmosphere and, these days, its excellent steaks and seafood. (Must be 21 to go to the night club.)
5. Kochevar’s Crested Butte, Colorado
Kochevar’s Saloon and Gaming Hall is the oldest bar in the last great Western town of Crested Butte. It was established in 1886 by Jacob Kochevar who had built the bar by hand even before the first skiers arrived – you can’t get much more dedicated than that! Mosey in here and you’ll literally be following in the footsteps of Butch Cassidy who left a gun here while he and The Sundance Kid were being chased. But if you need any other reason, Happy Hour lasts for five hours from 2pm – 7pm daily.
6. Rose And Crown, Banff, Alberta
With more than 50 bars to choose from, it can be hard to stand out in a great ski town like Banff. The Rose & Crown, Banff’s oldest pub (even though it’s not THAT old, established in 1985) has grown to be one of the most popular watering holes in town. Located downtown, it serves a quarter of a million customers each year. You can buy your beer by the pint or by the stein and there’s an eclectic mix of live music every night.
OK, so there are probably some more great ski bars you’d like to tell us about….?