9 Best Places for Apres Ski
Set high up on the mountain, these nine bars and restaurants—from Alpine discos to South American refuges—are the best places for apres ski across both hemispheres.
Cervo, Zermatt, Switzerland Elevation: 5,500 ft.
While Gstaad and St. Moritz will always vie for the title of Switzerland’s glitziest ski resort, Zermatt remains its most iconic. Chalk it up to the photogenic Matterhorn, the famous 14,000-foot peak that presides over this pedestrian-only village and its enormous ski area. Pair mountain views with mulled wine and local small plates at Cervo, a boutique hotel that’s the de rigueur destination for après–ski. Located on the intermediate-friendly Sunnegga pistes, Cervo is Zermatt’s only ski-in, ski-out property. After a leisurely cruise off the mountain, click out of your skis around 3 p.m. and saunter onto the chalet’s stone terrace, where you’ll find a sophisticated crowd of sun-basking regulars toasting an epic day on the slopes, popping champagne, and dancing to a live band. Late winter to spring is the best time to go, when the sun shines higher above the narrow valley, and the warm, Mediterranean temperatures creep over the nearby Italian boarder.
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Colorado: Elevation: 11,000 ft.
Table dancing in your ski boots is a pastime rarely found outside the Alps. Unless of course you’re talking about Aspen Highland’s Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, a former ski patrol shack turned restaurant, where daily lunches devolve into champagne-spraying dance parties. Perched at 11,000 feet and set against the backdrop of the iconic Maroon Bell mountains, Cloud Nine has room for 130 revelers inside, with space for an additional 120 on its deck. And all of those seats get filled during high season, so make your reservations well in advance. Fondue and Veuve Clicquot flow in abundance, as do the 80s hits and euro pop that pour out of the thumping sound system. The devoted crowd—a mix of jet-setting Europeans, Latin Americans, New Yorkers and LA-based celebs—is convivial bordering on hedonistic, so expect to get showered in champs whether you like it or not.
Moritzino — Alta Badia, Italy: Elevation: 6,888 ft.
Italian skiers take their lunches seriously. Rifugios—mountain huts ranging from simple mom and pop eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants—dot the slopes of the Sella Ronda, a 360-degree linked ski resort surrounding the pink, limestone spires of the Dolomites. The liveliest on-mountain après–ski is found at Moritzino. Owned by local impresario Moritz Craffonara, the popular restaurant and wine bar—a favorite among the hip, well-heeled Milanese who have frequented this area for generations—has been throwing a high-altitude dance party for 50 years. Burn off all that truffle and cheese fondue filled ravioli starting at 2 p.m., when resident DJ Luca Noale takes over the turntables. Disco and house dominate his sets (listen for cuts by electronic music pioneer and Daft Punk collaborator Giorgio Moroder, who grew up in the area) as guests dance, sing, and swill glasses of local South Tyrolean wine—a terroir famous for its pinot grigios and chardonnays.
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Le Rouge — Verbier, Switzerland: Elevation: 5,000 ft.
Verbier’s drinking and dancing options are as varied as its 255-miles of ski terrain, not to mention its cosmopolitan clientele. Scandinavian ski bums grab beers at on-mountain yurts, British hedge funders cap the day with bottle service, and everyone parties into the following morning at Ibiza-style clubs. But the apotheosis of après–ski goes down daily at Le Rouge, a rooftop terrace located at the base of the main run back into town. If the regulars here resemble the same beautiful people you’ve spotted in St. Tropez, it’s probably because they are, while resident DJs Niko and Stefan work the lively crowd into a lather with simmering sets of soulful dance music. Stay warm with sheepskin throws, or just pretend you’re at some glamorous beach club by soaking in the sun and ordering a few bottles of their ever-popular rosé (you’re in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, after all.)
el Paradiso — St. Moritz, Switzerland Elevation: 7,500 ft.
St. Moritz’s glitterati flock to el Paradiso, a chic hut located on the Swiss resort’s south-facing Corviglia ski slopes. Known for its cheeky aesthetic and indulgent lunches—guests congregate around candelabra-topped tables and gorge themselves on Simmental cheese fondue and Ossetra caviar—it’s the downstairs club level where the party really gets going every afternoon. Limited to 99 card-carrying “St. Tropitz” members, everyman skiers and boarders can hobnob with these après–ski insiders after paying $100 for a day pass. Once through the velvet rope, as it were, commandeer a banquette on the outdoor terrace, swaddle yourself in a sheepskin blanket, and order a bottle of Prosecco, then enjoy unobstructed views of the lake-fed Engadine Valley — perhaps the most beautiful pocket of the Alps.
Troll Hallen Lounge, Stein Eriksen Lodge — Deer Valley, Utah Elevation: 8,100 ft.
Utah’s Troll Hallen Lounge proves that après–ski needn’t be out of control to be enjoyable. Set just off the pristinely groomed slopes of Deer Valley in the Stein Eriksen Lodge, the indoor/outdoor bar is equal parts laid-back and chic, much like its locale. Grab comfort food—try the deviled eggs and garlic cheese fries—inside the spot’s handsome dining room (wood beams; elaborately carved Nordic bar), or lounge outside over Moscow Mules and local craft beers. No dance parties found here, but you won’t care when you’re working on your tan underneath the warm Wasatch Mountain sun.
Hospiz Alm — St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria Elevation: 5,900 ft.
When it comes to post ski drinking, Austria’s St. Anton is best known for the Mooserwirt, a wild après bar where Oktoberfest essentially takes place every afternoon. Further up the mountain in nearby St. Christoph, however, a more civilized version of the experience can be found at the Hospiz Alm. Technically more restaurant than bar, the Hospiz—a ski-in, ski-out chalet that’s typically slumped under snow—fills up at noon and stays packed until the late afternoon with an international crowd that’s only too happy to abandoned the rest of the day’s ski plans. Blame the gemütlich Tyrolean atmosphere: open fireplaces illuminate the rough-hewn dining room, while outside the lederhosen and dirndl clad wait staff ply skiers with schnitzel, spätzle and glasses of crisp Grüner Veltliner. Speaking of wine, tour the joint’s extensive cellar (home to the world’s largest collection of Bordeaux magnums), accessible via a slide to spare you from clomping down the staircase in your ski boots.
Balmalp — Lech am Arlberg, Austria: Elevation: 7,100 ft.
Considered the birthplace of modern skiing, Austria’s historic Arlberg—a collection of five traditional farming villages all linked by 190 miles of ski trails—is also the epicenter of après–ski. Slope-side hotels and rustic mountain huts cater to skiers who want to hit the schnapps as hard as they schuss, but the best and most blissed out vibe is found at Balmalp, a luxe, cliffside eatery perched dizzyingly high above the posh village of Lech. Skiers and boarders post up inside the sleek, stone and timber chalet for lunch, refueling on everything from wood-fire pizza to traditional bacon dumpling soups to Asian stir-fry. Come afternoon, the party moves outside to the heated, south-facing deck, where revelers sip champagne, table dance to house music, and watch the sun slowly drip behind the serrated alpine skyline.
Tio Bob’s — Portillo, Chile: Elevation: 9,450 ft.
With no town and only three hotels, a ski vacation in Chile’s Portillo can feel like you’re on a cruise ship that’s somehow been marooned in the snowbound Andes. And that’s just fine with its singularly focused skiers. Everyone from powder hounds to Olympic downhillers like Lindsey Vonn come for Portillo’s summer season, when dry, South American snow blankets the surrounding 15,000 foot peaks from June through October. Thankfully, you can rest your weary legs, socialize, and soak in all the brilliant sun at Tio Bob’s, a no frills mid-mountain restaurant and bar that’s the perfect place to drain pisco sours and take in the treeless panorama. Stake out prime après territory on the deck, set just above the resort’s deep blue Inca Lake, or lounge by the indoor fireplace and party away your cabin fever till midnight.
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