Skiers and snowboarders can agree that half the fun of hitting the slopes is the après-ski experience that follows. Today, après means more than Hot Toddies consumed by a roaring fire: mountainside resorts across the country are stepping up their offerings for post-skiing fun. From a ski-in, ski-out whiskey distillery to warm your bones in Utah to a spacious New Hampshire spa specifically devoted to working out ski-induced strains, these 10 stellar après-ski experiences are worth the trek this winter. —Alexis Korman
Sun Valley Lodge
WHERE: Sun Valley, Idaho
So famous for its celebrity clientele that its suites are named after stars who have stayed (and skied) there, the Sun Valley Lodge remains Idaho’s premiere après-ski destination. Following a major renovation, the Lodge reopened in 2015, and posh powder hounds can now enjoy a variety of classic drinks (like hot buttered rum) in the sleek Duchin Lounge. But more laid-back types will enjoy the Lodge’s revamped bowling alley; one of the oldest in the Northwest, it has six 1950’s-style lanes, video games and a new bar with snacks, including Idaho’s own famous spuds (in the form of crispy, loaded potato skins).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Sun Valley Guide
Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge
WHERE: Telluride, Colorado
With a prime location in the heart of Telluride’s Victorian-esque Mountain Village, the Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge attracts well-heeled skiers with luxurious accommodations and indulgent spa treatments. In addition to après-ski food and drink options that show a flair for local products, snow enthusiasts can recover in high style at the property’s own Oxygen Bar, which assists guests in acclimating to the mountainous altitude (the hotel is situated at 10,000 feet). If heights pose no problem, opt for the F-Scape to Telluride Winter Package (it includes a personalized helicopter tour of the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, plus liquid courage in the form of Champagne).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Telluride Guide
Heavenly Mountain Resort
WHERE: Lake Tahoe, California
It’s hard to beat this Lake Tahoe resort if you’re looking to party hard after putting down your poles: Heavenly Mountain Resort offers a virtual club on the mountain with its DJ Cat, a customized slope groomer with a cutting-edge sound system, helping skiers and snowboarders loosen up. But the festivities don’t stop on the snow: the resort’s buzzy Tamarack Lodge—located at 9,150 feet—offers the Unbuckle Après Party, where guests can dance, enjoy discounted drinks and food, and watch the club’s scantily clad “heavenly angels” heat up the crowd.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Lake Tahoe Guide
High West Distillery
WHERE: Park City, Utah
Purportedly the world’s only ski-in, ski-out distillery, High West Distillery & Saloon is also the state’s first legal distillery since the 1870s. Perfectly situated at the bottom of the Quittin’ Time ski run (and located next to Town Lift) in the heart of Old Town Park City, the Western-style restaurant and bar serves stick-to-your-ribs fare, like wild boar stew and a bison burger. But you came for the whiskey, right? Visitors can defrost with a tasting flight of High West’s own whiskeys ($13 for four tastes) or a cocktail from its ‘winter warmers’ menu (the Cowboy Coffee features American Prairie Bourbon).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Park City Guide
Omni Mount Washington Resort
WHERE: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Perched at the base of the Northeast’s highest peaks—the snow-capped White Mountains—New Hampshire’s stately Omni Mount Washington Resort boasts awesome mountain scenery (not to mention 464 acres of skiing and snowboarding, plus more than 100 trails and glades). After a perfect powder day, guests can enjoy bespoke spa services at the resort’s 25,000-square-foot spa. Try the Skier’s Massage: it features trigger-point therapy and assisted stretching specifically tailored to ski bunnies. The resort offers a wealth of other wintry activities for outdoor types, too, like ice climbing, snowshoeing and dog sledding.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's White Mountains Guide
Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
WHERE: Beaver Creek, Colorado
You’d be hard-pressed to find a resort with more creative après-ski options. Don’t want to regain any calories you burned on the hill? Consume alcohol vapor through a straw at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch’s luxe Bachelors Lounge (with flavors like apple pie and chocolate truffle, the “Vaportinis” double as guilt-free desserts). For more traditional post-skiing fare, the comfortable Lounge also offers a cigar bar, premium wines and a Colorado beer and cheese pairing experience, not to mention a warming fire. Bonus: guests of the hotel can enjoy the steam, sauna, hot and cold plunge pools at no extra charge inside the property’s 21,000-square-foot spa (though the Black Diamond Facial is worth the $375 splurge if you’ve got that sun-damaged, ski-goggle effect).
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Beaver Creek Guide
Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa
WHERE: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Conveniently located slope-side at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and a favorite après spot among locals, the fire-lit Spur Restaurant & Bar attracts skiers fresh off the hill with a variety of filling but artfully presented plates designed for sharing. Chef Kevin Humphreys’ mountain-inspired cuisine plays off of regional ingredients; menus might include Snake River Farms’ pork tenderloin, dry-aged buffalo sliders and fries with braised elk gravy. Don’t miss local beers from Grand Teton Brewing Company and Snake River Brewery, along with craft cocktails like the Daily Drop, created with house-infused sweet tea vodka.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Jackson Hole Guide
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
WHERE: Vail, Colorado
In addition to a complimentary ski valet, equipment storage and gratis GoPro cameras to document your best downhill run, the European-style Arrabelle at Vail Square resort offers a fun twist on an old après-ski classic. Guests of the swanky hotel can unwind in their sophisticated guest rooms with a steaming cup of custom hot chocolate topped to their liking with a variety of sweet treats (think marshmallows, peppermint and milk chocolate), all courtesy of a roaming hot cocoa cart. Prefer to mingle? Camp out near the hotel’s Great Room fireplace with a cocktail or head to the Tavern on the Square for live music nightly during peak season.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Vail Guide
WHERE: Barnard, Vermont
Cross-country skiers will find some 300 acres of majestic meadowlands to glide through at this upscale Vermont resort, plus six groomed ski runs are located on the property to boot. But Twin Farms can create a personalized ski-in/ski-out experience by offering private, high-powered snowmobiles with drivers who can transport guests back to the top of the mountain, skipping the crowds. Once you’re beat, head back to individually designed guestrooms outfitted with wood-burning fires for a custom après ski experience. Farm-to-table dinners, bonfires, s’mores, canapés and cocktails are all a part of the inclusive stays.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Central Vermont Guide
Waldorf Astoria Park City
WHERE: Park City, Utah
For the ultimate après ski experience, book a room at the Waldorf Astoria Park City. Following your ski run, an “après butler” will prepare a personalized cocktail kit, including a recipe and all the ingredients you’ll need for shaking things up in your guestroom, then light your fireplace and lay out a custom cheese and charcuterie spread. Prefer to remain outdoors? Try the hotel’s Hot Tub Après: you’ll soothe sore muscles in an alfresco hot tub before feasting on oysters, steamed pork buns and chocolate covered strawberries, rehydrate with unlimited bottled water and toast to a great winter getaway with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. (Guests stay warm between soaks in fuzzy bathrobes that double as keepsakes.)
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor's Park City Guide