There’s something about Spring skiing that indicates that all is right in the world. Is it the epic snow that invariably falls when the resorts are contemplating closing? Is it the warmer weather that makes skiing shirtless a distinct possibility? Or is it the addition of a few more hours of sunshine, making après skiing festivities just a bit brighter? There are a multitude of reasons, but the fact remains: An après scene can be a key factor in the skiing enjoyment equation and finding the best après spot is crucial.
As always, we have your best interests in mind. Here are 10 of the most unique venues for Spring après shenanigans.
Sitzmark Bar & Grill, Alyeska, Alaska
It’s worth waiting until the sun goes down to visit the Sitzmark Bar & Grill, located at the base of the mountain at Alyeska Resort. When you get there, make sure you have a peek at the “Sitzstine Chapel.” Designed and painted by local artist Dawn Gerety, this ceiling has caused a few patrons to panic as it starts to glow. Not to worry, though—it’s just the black light paint design. Wander around to spot signatures of local skiers, or if the interior is too trippy, head outside to enjoy the wrap-around deck equipped with a fire pit and unbeatable views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains.
Order: An Altos Margarita, the $5 drink special for April.
Outkast Inspired Après
Barefoot Bistro, Whistler, BC
“Now what’s cooler than bein’ cool?/ICE COLD!”
Sitting at a balmy -25F (-32C), the Barefoot Bistro in Whistler, BC, has the world’s coldest vodka tasting room. It features more than 50 vodkas from across the globe that’s distilled from everything from rye, wheat and soya to hemp seeds. Here, you can taste four vodkas of your choice while wrapped up in a Canada Goose, Arctic-ready parka. The vodka expert will explain the intricacies of distillation and filtration, which affects the flavor profile of the finished product.
Order: Vodka. Duh. For a local connection, try the Schramm Organic Potato Vodka from Pemberton, located about 20 minutes north of Whistler.
Sugar Rush Après
Sweet Spot, Crested Butte, CO
It’s not always about the alcohol. Well, most of the time it is, but sometimes your sweet tooth needs a bit of lovin’ too. Enter the Sweet Spot, located in the base area of Crested Butte Ski Resort. Fun and funky, this bar serves cocktails and wine as well as candy and ice cream. Having trouble with the altitude? Sweet Spot offers Acli-mate Martinis. These drinks are mixed with locally made, all-natural Acli-Mate, a supplement created by a local doctor to help visitors with altitude adjustment (Crested Butte’s location is about 9300 ft. above sea-level).
Order: A Sa’ more Martini. Or, if you’re feeling poorly, an Accli-mate Martini. Because there’s nothing better than a martini to alleviate altitude sickness.
South of the Border Super Soaker Après
Skiing in Portillo, Chile is unique experience as it is the oldest ski area in South America. There is no town, no shopping centers and no Starbucks, but there is one big yellow hotel and one beautiful, world-class ski mountain. The area is almost home to two of the largest hot tubs. You and your 50 closest friends can enjoy stunning views across the Lake of the Incas and the distant peaks of Los Tres Hermanos on a warm spring day after dominating the mountain.
Order: Me gustaría un Pisco Sour, por favor.
Moving Target Après
The Oasis, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is the land where “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” come true, so it’s only fitting that one can satisfy those champagne wishes at a pop-up bar. That is, if you can find it. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, The Oasis, operated by The Little Nell hotel features champagne from Veuve Cliquot and is in different locations on Aspen Mountain. You can find this mirage-inducing destination by social media and, while The Oasis is normally only open during lift-operating hours, you might be lucky enough to find it in the Gondola Plaza on select weekends.
Order: A glass of snow-chilled champagne. Throw in an order of caviar to make it a Robin Leech-worthy moment.
East Coast Brew Hound Après
Station Tap Room , Mount Snow, Vermont
Satiate your hops-loving heart at the Station Tap Room, the only slope side craft beer bar in New England, located at Mount Snow in Vermont. With 18 rotating taps dispensing a variety of hard-to-find, small batch brews, even the most discerning palate will find some sort of sustenance. Wander out to one of the two outdoor decks overlooking the base area, and soak up the sun while sipping a glass of the Curieux from Allagash Brewing Company or An Dreoilin from Mystic Brewing.
Order: An unfamiliar brew you’ve never tried before. Peruse the giant dry erase beer menu to see what’s new.
High Altitude Hot Tub Après
High Camp, Squaw Valley, California
Situated at 8,200′ above sea level, the High Camp Pool & Hot Tub Deck is one of the highest après hot tubs in the Sierras. Knock out a few laps in the free-form pool, enjoy the waterfalls, or skip right to the fun stuff at the Umbrella Bar. Of course, there’s the hot tub, perfect for lounging and enjoying views of the Sierra peaks and Lake Tahoe. Be sure to inquire about the theme weekends so that you can pack accordingly.
Order: a Polar Plunge to inspire a real polar plunge.
High West Distillery, Park City, Utah
The world’s only ski-in distillery and gastro-saloon and Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, High West Distillery and Saloon is conveniently located at the bottom of bottom of the aptly named Quittin’ Time ski run and next to the Old Town Lift. Schuss in for a sample of one of the varieties of whiskeys or vodkas offered; take a tour to see—and taste—how it’s done. After sipping a wee dram (or three), you’re ready to continue the après party in Park City. Though you can, technically, grab your skis, walk across the street and jump on the Town Lift straight back onto the mountain, it’s better to ski in than ski out.
Order: Whiskey. Unless you’re a yellow-bellied coward.
Sun Sans Sand Après
The Beach, Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
In the spring, Arapahoe Basin’s Early Riser parking lot becomes a stretch of prime real estate known as “The Beach.” Bring your lawn chairs, boom boxes, four-legged friends (on a leash and attended), gas grill (no charcoal) and plenty of sustenance (no glass) and get ready to beach it all day long. Backing up to the three lower mountain chairlifts, The Beach makes it possible to socialize for a bit then take another run and repeat as necessary. It’s a scene unique to the Basin and fills up fast. There are 10 spots available for reservations; the rest are first-come, first-served.
Order: Whatever you brought in your cooler. We recommend PBR, but only if consumed un-ironically.
Your Yurt Awaits Après
1936 Bar, Verbier, Switzerland
Perched on the piste, 1936 Bar is one of the ultimate après-ski experiences in a place famous for both skiing and après. Serving drinks from two yurt huts 5700 feet (1740m) above Verbier, 1936 Bar is accessed from the Medran cable car and chairlift as well as en route on the “les Ruinettes” to Verbier run. Settle into a deck chair and soak up the sun and stunning views which munching on barbecue or Mongolian fondue.
Order: Mulled wine. It’s Switzerland. Go with it.
These are just a few unique après ski opportunities awaiting enjoyment this spring. Of course, the most important part of “après ski” is the skiing itself—because if you didn’t hit the hill, how will you have stories to embellish during the après part?
HERO PHOTO: The Oasis, Aspen – The Little Nell