Top-Shelf Après-Ski

Posted in Magazine Features

Top-Shelf Après-Ski

Enjoy an uncorked beverage and unwind by the fire at these seven mountain hotspots

Nothing tops a day of winter fun better than replacing a sweaty glove with a specialty cocktail. An evening pick-me-up is just one element of après-ski: a tradition of drinks, appetizers and music held at the base of a mountain resort. These seven establishments range from cozy New England inns to glitzy California dance clubs, with plenty of welcoming lodges in between.

Unbuckle Après Party at Tamarack Lodge

Lake Tahoe, California

With dancers, DJs and florescent lights, this after-hours celebra-tion resembles a Reno nightclub from across the nearby Nevada border. Every Thursday through Saturday, the Tamarack Lodge is transformed into what Forbes calls the “no. 1 après-ski party in North America”— an evening of drinking, dancing and a raucous atmosphere for those who prefer a shot over hot chocolate. Frequent guests include the Heavenly Angels, professional skiers who moonlight as go-go dancers, and international DJs who whisk the snow-booted crowd into frenzies. The event’s signature beverage is the shotski—four shots placed on a wooden board that four drinkers must consume simultaneously. (nightlife.skiheavenly.com/apres)

River Run Lodge

River Run Lodge

Ketchum, Idaho

Massive pine pillars and a two-story fireplace dominate the dining space in this family-friendly Sun Valley lodge. With views of Bald Mountain and the Big Wood River through enormous windows and live bands throughout the afternoon, your group may never want to leave. A vast selection of food, including wood-fired pizzas, deli sandwiches and even sushi, should restore your party’s energy after a long day on the slopes, and a spacious sundeck will beckon vacationers seeking a tan. Locals recommend the famous Bloody Marys, and a wide selection of wine and beers on tap is available for you to imbibe. (sunvalley.com/dining/river-run-day-lodge)

Stonehurst Manor

Stonehurst

North Conway, New Hampshire

New England trips are incomplete without a bed and breakfast visit, and this sprawling Victorian estate evokes 19th century country inns while serving up serious cocktails. The hotel’s oak-paneled Library Martini Lounge features liquor flights and fish house punch, a potent blend of rum and peach brandy that was a favorite of George Washington. Cross country skiers often seek shelter from the winter air and indulge in afternoon fondue, a preparation of melted Gruyere cheese for skewered meats and breads. Every January, the inn’s back deck is transformed into an ice bar, with enormous ice blocks serving as tables, animal sculptures and the bar itself. Your group can sip local brews, warm up by a bonfire and meet fellow travelers while looking at the beautiful Mount Washington Valley. (stonehurstmanor.com)

Papa Charlie’s

Lusten, Minnesota

Lutsen sprawls across four peaks in the rugged Sawtooth Mountains, but all lifts converge at Papa Charlie’s, host to live music five days a week. Whether it’s the Songwriter Series, whichshowcases local artists, or the Thursday Night Dance Party, hosted by local record-spinner DJ Beavstar, your group is bound to find evening entertainment to fit any taste. The kitchen serves hearty pork sliders and buffalowings, while the expansive 360 bar offers Northwoods specialties such as the Maple Glade (a mixture of rye, lemon juice and Caribou Cream maple syrup) and the Light House (composed of Tattersall gin, lemon juice and honey syrup). (lutsen.com/dining-events/papa-charlies-tavern-stage)

Owl Bar

Sundance, Utah

Butch Cassidy and his Hole in the Wall Gang once drank at this establishment’s 1890s rosewood bar, originally located in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The famous watering hole has been relocated to the home of the Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford, and servers will occasionally dress in Wild West garb for authenticity. While Cassidy’s gang probably enjoyed whiskey, you can try craft beer or a Moscow mule and enjoy an acoustic set in the building’s cozy attic performing space. The Owl’s extensive menu is designed for large groups willing to share after a day on the mountain and includes Wagyu meatballs, hummus and indulgent truffle mac and cheese. (sundanceresort.com/dining/the-owl-bar)

The Martini Tree Bar

Taos, New Mexico

High-altitude comfort food reigns supreme at this high-energy sports bar that overlooks the base area. According to local legend, the eponymous cocktail was created when Taos founder Ernie Blake sent his son uphill to provide some “liquid courage” to a nervous skier who was eventually able to descend. You can sample the famous gin martini today, along with several other cocktail specialties and a wide selection of New Mexico craft beers. A fleet of flat screens should ensure you can watch your favorite team over a plate of hot wings or nachos, and weekly movie  nights are an inexpensive evening option for groups on a budget. (taosskivalley.com/member/martini-tree-bar)

The Truffle Pig

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

This contemporary alpine establishment, which overlooks Mr. Werner’s base area, specializes in French-influenced small plate dining and $2 happy hour beers. Your group can indulge in bacon-wrapped dates, Kobe beef burgers and glazed shishito peppers while warming up by a futuristic chrome outdoor fireplace, and an expansive wine list should appease your aspiring sommelier. Charcuterie boards (a presentation of smoked meats, cheese, figs and bread) bring a sophisticated European touch to your afternoon snack, and adventurous skiers who prefer a hot beverage can try Santa’s Flask (a hot cocoa concoction infused with peppermint schnapps and Bailey’s Irish cream). (trufflepigrestaurant.com)