“Always start the day with coffee, and end with champagne,” the old saying goes. Or maybe it was just a birthday card I once received. Well anyways, it’s one I try to live by, especially during the holidays, except mine has a slight twist: “Always start the day with coffee and a choc-au-pain, spend the day in powder and end with champagne.”
And happily, it seems I am not alone. Ski resorts around the world have been responding to this basic human need of powder and fizz by creating slope-side champagne bars, sometimes with the added fun factor of appearing and disappearing from one day to the next.
Here are five of my favorites around the ski world:
1. Aspen’s Oasis of Veuve, Colorado, USA
Aspen’s Oasis Champagne bar has claims to being the world’s first slope-side, pop-up Champagne bar after materializing overnight on Aspen Mountain a few season ago.
Run by the magnificent Little Nell Hotel, the Oasis serves one of the world’s finest champagnes, (complete with ‘By Royal Appointment’ crests of successive British queens) Veuve Clicquot, along with the less lavish California Caviar.
On Friday to Sunday afternoons throughout the season, the Oasis emerges at different locations on Aspen Mountain in front of the disbelieving, but joyous, eyes of exhausted skiers and boarders. It can be easily spotted with Veuve’s signature yellow umbrellas, chaises-lounges and solar-powered sound system. You can find out where it is going to be next by following The Little Nell’s social media feed.
“Because Oasis may be gone as quickly as it appears, it compels you to experience it, or risk missing the opportunity,” according to Ted Mahon, a long time ski instructor. “It’s not about having a drink – it’s about spontaneity, and living in the moment.”
2. Moet Bar, Baqueira Beret, Spain
Moving through the alphabet of world-class resorts, we come next to Baqueira Beret in Spain – this time the strong Royal family connections are Spanish, not British, but the champagne remains, of course, French.
Baqueira Beret’s Moet Bar has, as the name implies, opted for another great house of Champagne, Moet et Chandon. A live après-ski DJ set on most afternoons helps to give a friendly atmosphere with lots of dancing & funky tunes.
You do have to ski a bit after your flute of fizz so don’t go in for too many refills! The good news is that the final section is a fairly short and fairly easy stretch back to the resort base.
3. Ice Bar, Coronet Peak, New Zealand
If you’re in need of a drinks, stop south of the Equator—the ice bar located at the top of the Greengates chairlift at Coronet Peak (near Queenstown) is where to head.
Its operational status can be variable and you may have to pre-order your Champagne, but you’ll be able to relax on the awesome chairs made from old skis, whilst you savor your well-deserved drink.
Deer Valley’s exclusive St. Regis Deer Valley celebrated its fifth anniversary last winter by launching its own champagne bar on its ski beach by the slopes.
Named simply Après, the main attraction here was not just the Champagne, but also the spectacular ice sculpture at its centerpiece.
For the St. Regis, the house champagne chosen was Ruinart. Après served up their flagship Blanc de Blancs, as well as Ruinart Rosé and the vintage Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2004. Nibbles included caviar and the St Regis’ famous tuna on ice.
The sculpture was made from 3,200 icicles created each night, using a total of around 1,200 lb of ice. LED lights, embedded within them, made a spectacular light show each night.
On the resort’s Mountain Terrace nearby visitors can also view a ‘champagne sabering’ demonstration each night.
View Deer Valley lift tickets.
5. Ice Cube, Mouton Noir, Verbier, Switzerland
2,200m up on the slopes above Verbier, the Mouton Noir Mountain Restaurant has opened an ice bar with a Champagne theme on its extensive terrace.
The champagne of choice? (The bright yellow gondola cabin that hangs above and the bench made of bright yellow snowboards is something of a giveaway.) Yes, it’s Veuve again, and this time, there are stunning dance acts to accompany the DJ and the fizz.