While it’s prime time for a winter wonderland getaway (no coincidence that January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month) winter-sports enthusiasts know that half the fun of an outdoor adventure is relaxing and warming up afterward, whether chatting by the fire with some cocoa or dancing and having a drink with friends. So in the spirit of the season, here are our favorite apres-ski hotspots. By Fodor’s Editors
Aspen: Party Like a Movie Star in Colorado
Why Go: You'll see it all in Aspen—Hollywood celebs in cowboy boots, glamorous wives of Saudi royalty shopping, tanned European ski instructors, and fascinating and friendly locals. East Hyman Avenue is the best place for bar-hopping—a cluster of nightspots share the same address and phone number. To stay where you play, consider the Little Nell, where you can ski-in, ski-out and the bar hosts one of town's most fashionable après-ski scenes.
Jackson Hole: Drink with the Cowboys in Wyoming
Why Go: A place to appreciate both as a skier and as a voyeur, Jackson Hole is truly one of the great skiing experiences in America. Although most outdoor activities in the region are found in Jackson Hole and "The Valley," you might headquarter in town for more nightlife. There’s never a shortage of live music in Jackson, where local performers play country, rock, and folk. Some of the most popular bars are on Town Square.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Fodor's Jackson Hole Travel Guide
Photo: flickr / enahmanson
Killington: Rock with the College Crowd in Vermont
Why Go: It was a tough call between Stowe and Killington for the Green Mountain scene, but even though the Stowe crowd is a bit more mature (late 20s and up) partiers can't resist a free shuttle. TIP: Check out the lodging and nightlife locations on the full schedule of "The Bus." In the morning rush to the lifts, the four-mile access road can seem uninspired but after the skiing is done, it's a lively scene. Some big name bands play the hot spots; local beers like Long Trail Ale are popular thirst-quenchers.
Whistler: Keep the Post-Olympic Party Going in BC
Why Go: No Whistler trip would be complete without experiencing the town's après scene—be it after a day of skiing or hiking the trails. With amazing mountain views and ample patio space, there's a surprisingly good choice of nightlife, most of it in the pedestrian-oriented village and within walking distance of the hotels and ski slopes.
Verbier: Celebrate Ski Season in Switzerland
Why Go: Ski all day, party all night. With satisfying slopes for intermediate skiers, where Verbier has really sealed its reputation is the epic, challenging off-piste runs. Hire a guide and get ready to work up an appetite. And there’s no letting up when the sun goes down, as this resort has one of Switzerland’s wildest après ski and nightlife scenes.
Solden: Dance the Night Away in Austria’s Alps
Why Go: The nightlife here varies from nonexistent to wild, depending on the season. In winter the more than 85 bars, discos, pubs, and eateries are packed, and many nightspots have live bands, but expect cover charges around €5. Sölden's reputation as a wild, après-ski party town is well deserved so if you are also looking for quiet part to your ski holiday, you may want to try the village of Hochsölden—on the slopes above town.
Chamonix-Mont Blanc: Sample French Saloons
Why Go: As home to the first Winter Olympic games in 1924, the ski station of Chamonix, set at the foot of Mont Blanc, provides an ideal winter backdrop for all winter outdoor activities. Chamonix après-ski begins at the saloons in the center of town: the Chamouny, the Brasserie du Rond Point, or, in spring, the outdoor tables. Argentière's L'Office is an Anglo refuge, while Francophones head for the Savoie. Le Jeckyll, next to the Hotel Des Aiglons, is a hard-core party headquarters, along with Cantina and Le Pub, although Wild Wallabies Bar may be the wildest of all.
Bariloche: Head South for Argentina’s Après-Scene
Why Go: Need a cool escape from August heat? Looking for powder in September? Check out Argentina and the largest ski area in South America: Mount Cathedral. There's a disco at the base of the mountain, but the town of Bariloche has a number of bars that are perfect for tasting local brews and enjoying dazzling twilight mountain and lake views. To learn more about the area's cervezarís artesanales (artisanal breweries), read our local beer sampling guide.