Après-ski experiences in the United States have come a long way over the years. What was once just a rare drink special at resort restaurants has evolved to include more European-style après offerings, like pop-up bars, seasonal collaborations with champagne brands and even repurposed and revamped gondolas for slopeside wine dinners.
Traditionally, après-ski, literally translating to “after skiing” in French, refers to socializing and imbibing to unwind after a day on the slopes. However, après-ski has definitely evolved, and can really refer to a variety of entertainment, including culinary pop-ups, live music, board and arcade games as well as wellness treatments. Now that ski season is nearly upon us, here are the best resorts across America to witness the après lifestyle, from Aspen to Alaska.
The Little Nell attracts hardcore snow bunnies thanks to its prime ski-in, ski-out access to Aspen Mountain, but the luxe hotel has also made a name for itself with their après-ski experiences. Their AspenX Beach Club (first launched in collaboration with fine art photographer Gray Malin during the 2021 season) returns this year atop the Aspen Mountain plateau (skis not required for access), overlooking Highland Bowl and the Elk mountain range. At 11,200 feet, indulge in an afternoon of specialty drinks and cuisine while listening to the rotating assortment of DJs. When peak winter melts into early spring, The Little Nell offers Clicquot in the Snow; a celebratory acknowledgement of increasingly mild weather at the base of the mountain with Veuve Clicquot specials on the Ajax Tavern patio. Adjacent to the Silver Queen Gondola, Ajax Tavern is also adding new ski-season menu items this year, including a Colorado lamb sandwich on a rye roll and house-made charcuterie. The Wine Bar at The Little Nell will be hosting an Après-Lounge from 3 pm to 10 pm daily, boasting cozy seating, a crackling fire, live DJ and full bar menu highlighted by large format wines.
Colorado’s other wildly popular ski town, Vail, is located about 100 miles north of Aspen., There are a few different luxe hotels in the Bavarian-inspired village, but you can’t go wrong checking into The Hythe Vail. The recently-renovated property overlooks the Rocky Mountains, with cabin-inspired, wood-accented rooms outfitted with gas-burning fireplaces and oversized balconies. The hotel’s culinary outlets follow the spirit of “Après All Day,” ensuring there’s always an après offering, from creative libations to moments of wellness. The more traditional après experiences are found at Revel Lounge, the on-site bar with Colorado-inspired cuisine and live music, as well as at the lobby bar, 10th Mountain,, emphasizing the mountain lifestyle for all guests, not just the ones who actually hit the slopes that day. For slower moments, The Hythe offers an all-seasons pool and jacuzzi, plus a pool bar, for complete relaxation and a stunning view of the mountains, in addition to a spa with a Himalayan salt room.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Whether checking into the main lodge or the standalone villa suites, Edgewood Tahoe is a winter wonderland for skiers and après-lovers’ alike. After finishing up on the slopes for the afternoon, cozy up at one of the fire pits found throughout the rustic lake-side retreat, for complimentary evening s’mores. They also offer a specific Après Adventure that is ideal for those who are less likely to hit the mountains for traditional skiing and would rather explore by snowshoe. The guided experience concludes by the blazing clubhouse fireplace with warm beverages, like homemade hot chocolate with peppermint or marshmallow and Baileys Irish Cream or warm apple cider with cinnamon sticks, orange slices and a hint of spice rum.
Teton Village, Wyoming
For skiers and snowboarders, Jackson Hole Four Seasons Resort and Residences boasts coveted slope-side access to Rendezvous Mountain. Yet, the 106-room property couldn’t make it easier to seamlessly transition from active time on the mountain to après at The Handle Bar. The outdoor stone terrace is an American pub and beer hall outfitted with fire pits and homey blankets to unwind over a selection of international beers and whiskey. For a more elevated experience, there’s Ascent Lounge, the slope-side bar serving Pan-Asian inspired cuisine. Here, the hotel serves up a proprietary six-year-old single barrel of Wyoming Whiskey for guests to enjoy neat or in their signature cocktail, the Back Country Old Fashioned, featuring a house-infused brown sugar syrup with spices and orange to balance the whiskey’s unique spices.
Alyeska Resort joined Ikon Pass this year, marking the first time a destination in Alaska has been a part of the program. Adventurous guests who make the trip to this further flung destination will be rewarded with 1,610 skiable acres, including the longest double black diamond run in North America. The mountain’s prime location, about 40 miles south of Anchorage, provides après options galore, from their 60-passenger aerial scenic tram for sprawling vistas of glaciers during the day and evening opportunities to view the Northern Lights. There are seven dining options at Alyeska Resort, including Seven Glaciers, the aptly named high-altitude restaurant that overlooks seven hanging glaciers. There’s also a 50,000-square-foot Nordic Spa equipped with a series of outdoor hot and cold hydrotherapy pools, a Finnish sauna and an aromatherapy-infused steam room.
Park City, Utah
Grab a group of friends or family and head to Canyons Village. Waldorf Astoria Park City offers oversized suites with private kitchens, dining rooms and living spaces that offer plenty of room to après in the comfort of your own space. For those looking to socialize, head to the hotel’s signature restaurant, Powder, where dark wood and antlers exude upscale ski lodge, but the casual bar bites satiate with comfort food favorites (towering double burgers, wings and pesto). For those who want to bask in the fairytale of a winter wonderland, the property hosts horse-drawn sleigh rides with hot beverages, or unwind at the hot tubs and alpine pool. The resort can also arrange customized experiences, including private s’mores by the outdoor fire pits.
For a more intimate après experience, the 15-room Hermitage Inn, just three miles from the area’s popular Mount Snow, offers heated outdoor gondolas for après-ski dining in the winter. The theme is Piemonte-inspired with two dining options available: the earlier seating is après ski-specific with afternoon treats of alpine fondue and Franciacorta sparkling wine. The second seating is for dinner; an immersive epicurean experience of Piedmont specialties, including white truffle, risotto, hazelnuts, cheese, and of course, Barolo, the star wine grape of the region. Since there are only two Gondolas, if you happen to miss a reservation, there’s plenty of other après-worthy options, including inventive, seasonal cocktails at the cozy Tavern, wine tastings in their Wine Spectator award-winning cellar, sauna, jacuzzi and en-suite fireplaces. For guests who are ski club members of The Hermitage Inn, they have access to the onsite ski lift to Haystack Mountain.
Big Sky, Montana
There is no shortage of places to gather at this Big Sky ski-in, ski-out resort. After shredding your pick of 5,850 skiable acres, guests can glide right from the slopes right into the Backcast Bar & Grill. Fitted with outdoor fire pits and a stunning stone terrace, the mountainside dining space will transform into a ramen noodle house this winter, to warm up skiers from the inside out. In addition to Montana-inspired twists on traditional Japanese noodles (like hot bison ramen), there will also be adult boba (a boozy twist on the classic tea drink). When you want to take it inside, head to Alpenglow, where oversized windows with views of the slopes provide a backdrop to live piano music, roaring fireplaces and craft cocktails. For a more active option, there’s also Beartooth Pub & Rec, where bowling alleys, dart boards and arcades turn any après experience into a nostalgic party over wood-fired pizzas and local craft beers.