Post-ski parties on the piste-side with SNO®
There’s skiing, then there’s après skiing: the chance to let your hair down after a day on the hill, watch the sun set over mountaintops and enjoy good times with friends and family.
Meaning anything from a quiet vin chaud by the fireside to a wild, ski-boot-stomping party – for some, après ski is as important as the skiing itself, for others, it might be even more so…
This is one of the best luxury chalets in the world, with a whole floor of spa facilities and a swimming pool, where smoke machines, lasers and a state of the art entertainment system help create the ultimate pool party. Guests also have a wine cave, and a panoramic balcony where your host can serve craft cocktails.
Not only bang in the middle of merry Mayrhofen, the Strass is home to the perennially packed-out Ice Bar (look for the polar bear on the roof…) which is famed for its cheesy Euro-pop. The same complex has a Sports Pub, Lobby Bar, Sports Lounge and Arena night club – so you can choose the après to suit you.
The Moris is good for many a reason – cheap ski trips, solo travellers and perhaps most importantly, stonking on-site parties. The Moris Pub is a long-time favourite when it comes to Val d’Isere’s drinking dens, with live bands, themed parties and a resounding British feel.
Forget Ibiza, Ischgl has awesome skiing and the legendary PACHA nightclub, which guests of Hotel Madlein usually get free entry to. The hotel has other bars as well, and there are many more moments away.
Being right at the foot of the slopes and with views of the Matterhorn, Chalet Hotel Dragon is the life and soul of Cervinia. It has a British themed pub, sun terrace and basement bar, where guests and locals get together for the likes of quizzes, karaoke, sports matches and live music.
Any chalet with a SLIDE from the top floor bar down to the wine cellar and games room is going to be pretty darn good for après ski… The place had its own grand piano and sound system last time we checked, and with champagne included in the cost of your stay, you’re unlikely to find yourself at a loose end when it strikes après O’clock.
It’s no secret that Verbier has some of the best parties on the planet, or that Place Centrale’s the liveliest part of resort. Which makes Chalet de Verbier fantastic – right in the hub of the action, a minute’s walk from après legend Farinet and one of the best value ways to stay in this incredible resort.
Aspen Mountain doesn’t have many ski in / out hotels, which is one of the things that makes Little Nell so wonderful. Another is the après ski scene - Chair 9 is considered one of the best mountain bars on the continent, opening when the lifts start to close with DJ music and big screens set up for the Super Bowl.
Not having to hand over a penny for a drink all week certainly creates après ski cheer - here a whole bundle of beers, wines and spirits come included with your stay, and in this adult-only hotel you can enjoy them in a comfy lounge, looking out over the peaks or bopping along to the resident DJ’s beats.
French for ‘after skiing’, the term - which came about in the twenties - can apply to whatever you get up to at the end of a day on the slopes, but is most often used to describe a drink (or three) in a mountain bar once the lifts start to close.
‘Sprès ski’ could also be used for afternoon activities like tobogganing, ice skating and husky rides, or simply putting your feet up in your chalet at the end of the day...
Most people’s après ski wear is whatever they’ve been skiing in during the day – salopettes, ski boots and all.
Sometimes you might want to change into something specific before joining in the mountain merriment:
Après ski fancy dress – You might want to pack an après ski costume like an animal onesie, retro ski suit or perhaps lederhosen if you’re skiing in Austria. These are popular for themed parties, St Patrick’s Day and any other occasion you fancy dressing up for…
Après ski boots - If those plastic ski boots are giving you grief, free your feet and swap them for something comfier. You can buy specific après ski footwear like Moon Boots or opt for walking boots or any snow friendly shoes.
Après ski jumper – Your usual microfleece if you want to keep it casual, a Christmas jumper if it’s the festive season or that retro fluorescent fair isle in the back of your wardrobe…
Beanie – An après ski essential keep your head warm and hide helmet hair, the brighter the better.
Your ski jacket – It gets very cold in the mountains after hours, and even if you’re still warm from skiing and drinks earlier on, you don’t want to feel the cold when it comes to heading home.
Your thermals – If you’re après skiing in the comfort of your chalet or apartment, lose your outer layers, swap ski socks for clean ones and you’re ready to relax. Shops sell groovy après ski leggings if you want to really look the part.
If a resort is good for après ski, it’ll have at least a few mountain bars with live music, DJ’s and happy hours to draw in the crowds. There will usually be more bars and pubs in the resort base area to move onto, and maybe a night club or two for later-on.
The best resorts have a bundle of lively bars but also more sophisticated options where you can sip fine wines by log fires, and child-friendly fun like ice rinks, swimming pools and bowling alleys.
Slopeside waterholes will serve all the drinks you’re used to in bars back home, amongst certain regional libations like the ones below – remember alcohol affects you more at altitude!
Hot wine – Mulled wine to us, but by any other name this drink would taste as sweet: Vin Chaud (in France), Glühwein (in Austria), Glögg (in Scandinavia), vin brulé (in Italy).
Toffee Vodka – Meribel’s signature drink. Like liquid fudge and dangerously un-vodka-ey, best served in a shot ski…
Good old-fashioned beer – Look for local brews like ones from the Micro Brasserie de Chamonix, Aspen Brewing Company and White Frontier from Nendaz
Irish coffee – Ateaming hot coffee, cream and copious amounts of whiskey
Champagne – a jeroboam if you’re in Courchevel, raining from the rooftop if you’re partying in a Folie Douce bar, or just bubbling away in a bottle shared with friends.
Génépi – A greenish herbal liquor made from alpine plants. Served in France before/after supper/skiing. As strong as absinthe…
Jägertee – An Austrian staple, featuring Stroh rum, brandy, hot tea, wine, fruit juice and spices
Hot chocolate – Because it doesn’t always have to be alcoholic! A hot choc (Chocolat Chaud in France, heiße Schokolade in Austria, cioccolata calda in Italy) on the hillside is hard to beat, especially one with lashings of cream. For an ‘adult hot chocolate’, request a glug of baileys or génépi…
St Anton wouldn’t be St Anton without this place - apparently nowhere else in Austria sells more beer than the Moose, which blasts out Europop as crowds swarm in each afternoon. Join in the madness and hop on a table, just remember you’ll have to ski back down once it closes…
More than living up to its name ‘sweet madness’, Folie began in 1980 and has to be experienced at least once. Expect raining champagne, sax players, DJ’s - and with legendary performer Kely Starlight behind the crazy cabaret, anything is possible.
Nobody’s too posh to party in the Farinet, Verbier’s loudest après spot where live bands play each evening, dancing on the bar is compulsory and the roof adjusts to the weather. If that doesn’t have you sold, did you SNO Which? voted it Best Après Ski Bar Worldwide…
Or Ronnie to its friends – in this Three Valleys institution you can ski to the sun terrace, sample the signature toffee vodka and soak up the atmosphere of live bands, DJ’s and merry crowds. There’s even a slide to the loos!
The vibe is irresistibly cheerful in this huge old Tyrolean hut, with the sounds of cheesy oompah and Europop, the smells of schnapps and champagne and the sights of happy crowds of skiers, high from a fabulous day on the mountains.
This was St Anton’s first mountain bar in the sixties and now with slalom champ Mario Matt at the helm, KK promises copious amounts of Jager, loud music (courtesy of the one and only DJ Partyhard) and big crowds each and every afternoon.
3-5pm each day of the season, Pano becomes a club up at 2600m with DJ’s, live musicians and dancers. Dancefloors don’t get more scenic than this, and the location – slap bang in the centre of the ski area and served by the Jandri Express – is also super convenient.
More like après après ski, Dicks opens from 10pm for its ‘after dinner club’, with live musicians, then dances through the night ‘til 5am with international DJ’s. The club opened in 1979 and any night out in Val isn’t complete without a drink here.
Up in Europe’s highest ski resort, 360 has wraparound peaks and brings a cool, studenty crowd to the mountaintop with deckchairs, big name DJ’s (like Afrojack and Fredde Le Grand) and live bands. Don a onesie and join the mayhem from 2pm.
Plonked in prime position in the gondola building, this all singing, all dancing bar draws locals and visitors from all over the planet: you can watch the world ski by from the patio, toast your toes by a firepit or get stuck into themed parties, comedy nights and events like Punk Rock Karaoke.