Best ‘après-ski’ spots of the Americas
Diners at the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse, Killington Ski Resort. (Christian Aslund/LPI)
OK, we get it. Europe dominates the après-ski world. The most famous scenes for post-ski boozing, eating and ballyhoo always seem to be the Zermatts, the St Antons or the Mont-Blancs.
But maybe it is nomenclature’s fault? Because, seriously, could anything be more Euro than “après-ski”? Perhaps we need to focus on what it really stands for: fun-after-a-day-of-skiing-or-riding. That is right, FADOSOR (rhymes with “dinosaur”). Whatever you call it, here are the best scenes for some FADOSOR in the Americas.
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Let love - and Jagermeister - rule. A-Basin's infamous "Beach", is a jumble of trailers, lawn chairs and portable hot tubs, where skiers shotgun beers and try to one-up each other in the drinking department. The beach runs all day and faces the mountain - just ski up and drink.
Aspen , a silver mining town that looks like the French Alps, rivals Vail for star power. Since 1889, the place to be after a day of skiing is J-Bar (www.hoteljerome.rockresorts.com/dining/j-bar.asp), at the historic Hotel Jerome. The saloon-type is bar known for pub food and the dessert-like "Aspen Crud" cocktail - that's bourbon with ice cream.
Squaw Valley, California
This host of the 1960 Olympics, located near Tahoe City, is one of the greatest downhill resorts worldwide. After the runs close, follow the crowd into the slopeside Le Chamois (www.squawchamois.com), built like an oversized red-and-white chalet with $10 pizzas, beer on tap at the Loft Bar and dreamy views of the mountain. Meanwhile, the Auld Dubliner (www.squaw.com/auld-dubliner) is a popular Irish pub that welcomes the thumping heel-slaps of visitors in ski boots too.
Taos, New Mexico
The Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant is located mid-mountain, at the base of chairlift no. 4, on one of the US's most challenging mountains. It is all German, with the West's best selection of brats, wursts and krauts, found by passing through real-live 300-year-old castle doors. There is also a sun porch.
The largest ski resort in the East - and in the state that was instrumental in developing snowboarding, man - Killington is also the East's premier location for some FADOSOR, chiefly at the nightspots along the four-mile Access Road. Start with the outdoor decks of Jax Food & Games or Outback Pizza. Another classic is McGrath's Irish Pub, where a single log makes up the bar, located in the equally classic Inn at Long Trail (www.innatlongtrail.com), which was the first hotel built as a ski lodge in the US (1938).
Whistler, British Columbia
Fresh off its Olympic days in the sun and snow, Whistler remains the king of British Columbia skiing, with 38 lifts and more than 200 runs. Staying overnight can be pricey, but that does not dampen the scene at the 0Garibaldi Lift Company, the closest bar to the slopes, popular for its Kootenay Mountain Ale and bulging burgers. Another choice is Whistler Brewhouse, with pub fare and games on TV. For music, ski bunnies head to Moe Joe's intimate stage.
Fifteen miles from Argentina's best - best, not poshest - skiing at Cerro Catedral, the lively student town of Bariloche is the place to set up. There is frequent transport to the slopes, where you can look over the Nahuel Huapi lakes as you ski down the mix of beginner's, intermediate and expert runs. Back in Bariloche, the best laid-back spot to let the muscles breathe is the Tarquino, a woodsy Hobbit-style eatery known for parrillada, including grilled lamb and trout dishes. A bit more upbeat is the microbrewery options at the corner Cruz Bar, which has DJs on weekends.
Nevados de Chillán, Chile
Fifty long miles from Chillán, Nevados de Chillán (www.nevadosdechillan.com/) features mostly tracks running through the forest. It also holds several South American superlatives, such as the longest piste and the longest chairlift. After a day on the slopes, hop into a thermal pool, open year-round and sheltered inside wooden huts, then unwind at the Snow Pub, a laid-back bar packed in ski season.