Winter’s almost over – maybe. While it’s still in full swing, make a point to fit in some downhill thrills, and more importantly afternoon après ski fun amusement. Some of these hot spots are perfect for spotting celebs, and others are just plain fun. If you must splurge here, at least save on flights.
Check out our top picks for après ski destinations this winter.
- So cool it’s hot… check out apres ski in Banff
The crystal blue lake is just one of the perfect attributes around the ski region of Banff. Once you’re done glorifying the frigid sweeps, take to Banff’s upper hot springs, which usually stay around 100 degrees F. Once your hunger sets in, try an upscale meal at the Maple Leaf, or a more traditional eatery like the Saltlick or the Grizzly House.
Talk about patience. The chef at Wildflower Restaurant at the Fairmont Chateau starts preparing the maple glaze for the cedar planked salmon months before he uses it. It’s a must-eat in this après ski haven, and is processed through 200-liter oak barrels, whiskey, maple syrup and must be stirred four times each day. Work up an appetite on the slopes, and head straight to the Fairmont (after you’ve cleaned up, of course.)
In Aspen, a day’s worth of rugged skiing prompts a night’s worth of posh après glitz. At the Sky Hotel 39 Degrees Bar, turn up the heat in its 104-degree hot tub and watch ladies and gentlemen in designer duds strut their stuff around mingling. There is also a waterfall, so just consider this a winter pool party with martinis.
Called “salotto dei famosi,” meaning “the celebrities’ living room, Cortina, Italy has been known to draw epic A-listers like Ingrid Bergman, Brigitte Bardot and Clark Gable. Visit to revel in authentic Hollywood historic figures’ footsteps (or ski tracks) and rub elbows with the well-to-do modern folk. Try Via del Mercato for a selection of over 700 wines, or Blues Bar Lacedel at the base of the Socrapes for something lower-key.
A little less glam, a lot more neighborhood vibe, Telluride has serious slopes and equally distinctive restaurants and watering holes. Here, Victorian buildings have been converted into bars, shops and bistros. Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise have been seen gallivanting around the gorgeous San Juan mountain area, but another hot spot for ordinary folk is the New Sheridan Bar, with (extra happy) happy hour menus.
The skiing is extreme here, and so are the activities afterward. Once 3pm hits, skiers flood the bars, like Senn Hutte, which has a German show that encourages guests to dance on tables, or Krazy Kanguruh – right on the piste, which is known for a party atmosphere. Plenty of late-night discos and karaoke bars make perfect excuses to miss the slopes the next morning.
Uma Thurman and Harrison Ford apparently frequent Jackson Hole, so if it’s good enough for them… Soak up the beauty of the fine Wyoming landscape by day, and choose from western saloons or elegance at night. For a fancy dining experience clean up for the Four Seasons, and for something more casual, drink at the Mangy Moose or the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Its dry-air “Champagne Climate” makes St. Mortiz a go-to for skiers and snowboarders. The area shares trails with Silvaplana, Celerina, and Pontresina, so the diversity of slopes, lounges and social scenes make it attractive and fun. Ski fondue, lobster, sun decks and terraces make its après ski atmosphere a decadent blast, well into the night.
This alpine resort attracts a lot of love. Kylie Monogue plans parties here frequently, and Elin Nordegren (Tiger’s first lady) used the haven as an escape while the public calamity went down. Mont Blanc just seems to attract female fame, including Le Privilege, a nonstop party locale.
A lot of famous people — Cameron Diaz, Kelsey Grammar and Clint Eastwood, among others — like Vail. Maybe it’s the Red Lion – a nightly live music venue that’s known as the place to be. Nightlife gurus suggest getting there early to snag a good seat. Garfinkle’s in Lionshead has a huge outside deck that overlooks the terrain, and also has live music.
Photo by Alaskan Dude