As any seasoned skier is sure to tell you, the lure of top-notch après-ski spots is nearly as compelling as that of any black run on the mountain. With their convivial environs, fortifying food and warming libations, these hubs are the perfect endnote to a day on the slopes.
“Many of us who ski push ourselves physically to tackle new, challenging terrain, and there’s an exhilaration that comes with that at the end of the day,” says Chris French, founder of Ski Bums, which hosts high-end skiing trips around the world. “You have, quite literally, climbed mountains. So it’s natural to celebrate that.”
Finding the right spot for the occasion is important. According to French, après-ski stateside is more casual and relaxed than elsewhere in the world; Americans are more focused on the sporting aspects and are content to come back to a bar with live music and warm drinks. “In Europe, it’s entirely different—après-ski is truly the highlight of the vacation,” he explains. Families will take a trip to the same destination at the same time every year to rendezvous with friends from across the continent. “For Europeans, saying they’re going to Zermatt expressly to ski would be like Americans saying they’re going to South Beach to swim,” he says. “It’s something we do while we’re there, not the reason to go.”
No matter your priority, here's where to relax in style.