For some skiers and riders, a day on the mountain only serves as the prequel to what’s to come. After the lifts close, it's time to share tales of your day’s exploits. From traditional ski bum dive bars to nightclubs that rival those found in large metropolises, the scenes can stretch all night long, making the next day challenging for more than just the resort’s double-black diamonds.
For those with a lust for snow-covered hedonism, this list is for you.
There’s no shortage of entertainment to be had at Aspen, from the jazz Little Nell to the old-school ambiance of the J-Bar in the Hotel Jerome, established in 1889 (and yes, they’ve undergone a full renovation since then, but the hotel ghosts still linger!).
If booze isn’t enough, hit up the Cigar Bar for a fine cigar to go with some top-shelf liquor. Or try Aspen Brewing, who offers tours at their facility near the Aspen Airport, plus their beer is damn near ubiquitous in town and always a solid bet. That said, the state seldom suffers from a lack of solid craft beer options.
Or hit Woody Creek Distillers, who offer tours, small plates and plenty of ways to sample their high-quality spirits. Oh, and if you’re looking for hedonism on the slopes, then hit the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro mid-afternoon. The top-of-the-mountain cabin and porch within the Aspen Highlands Resort turns into a champagne-spraying party every evening.
If you’re more into champagne powder than actual champagne, Steamboat’s casual après scene is ideal for those looking for a quiet drink – or three – before turning in for the night. Steamboat’s local brewery, the Mahogany Ridge Brewery, features eight brews, while Carl’s Tavern offers rustic cocktails made up of local ingredients and liquors.
The quaint downtown looks like it fell right out of a children’s book, and it’s easy to hop from bar to restaurant to bar, with intermittent stops for window shopping.
Strong cocktails and a historic setting make the saloon at the New Sheridan Hotel an ideal venue for post-mountain unwinding. At the Village, The Tomboy Tavern is located in front of the Village Express lift, providing skiers their choice of local drafts served at the beer garden patio, along with menu options like the schnitzel sandwich and truffle fries.
The complimentary San Sophia Gondola connects downtown locales to the Mountain Village, allowing patrons to hop between venues. If you’re up to venture a bit further, Telluride Brewing makes some of the state’s best beer, and the taproom offers a convivial scene as well as to-go crowlers and growlers.
While at the brewery, plan to dip out and visit Telluride Distilling; their schnapps was made to be poured into your après hot chocolate. The area hosts a different festival practically every weekend, so chances are good you’ll be in solid reveling company.
The wild atmosphere laid out along Killington Road makes this East Coast beast of a resort well-regarded for its nightlife offerings. Load up on pies at Outback Pizza or head to Casey’s Caboose to plunge into the long array of local craft beers. Or try a cocktail from their wide range of gins, tonics and botanicals, then head out to the Wobbly Barn Steakhouse for some dancing.
Close out the night with some on-tap Guinness at McGrath’s Irish Pub. Legions of the younger crowd should keep you company until last call.
The largest mountain in Tahoe keeps its mega-status alive by offering one of the biggest party atmospheres in the basin, starting with the nightly happy hour at 9,000 feet. Located at the top of the Heavenly Gondola, Tamarack Lodge hosts Unbuckle at Tamarack, which offers live DJs, half-price drinks and the Heavenly Angels wearing strategically-placed bits of fur dancing on platforms with a gorgeous mountain backdrop.
Not enough for you? Just wait for the DJ Cat, a custom-built mobile DJ station perched on the back of a snowcat with 52 high-output speakers. This being California, the beer and wine is always tops, partnered with all variety of handcrafted cocktails. And, when the mountain itself closes, ride down the gondola to hit one – or several – of South Tahoe’s casinos.
Mount Bachelor, Ore.
The mountain itself only has a few places to snag an après beer, but the town of Bend is less than 30 minutes away, and it practically overflows with hedonistic options. Aptly known as one of the best craft beer scenes in the country, you can visit over a dozen microbreweries, from well-known establishments like Deschutes to local favorites like Boneyard and Crux Fermentation Project – locally-organized beer tours by bus and pub cycles”make it easy to navigate the options.
And those with a craving for the talents of a crafty mixologist can find legions of options at places like Velvet and Level 2 Global Food and Lounge.
Vail’s varied terrain is matched by the variety of its nightlife. Hankering for Mexican? Los Amigos provides margaritas with a view of the mountain. If more traditional American food is your thing, Garfinkel’s offers slow-cooked prime rib or Dixie fried chicken, while Vendetta’s whips up Italian fare including world-renowned pizzas, as well as a top-tier selection of wines.
But this resort town caters to more than just the culinary arts. Dance off those excess calories by dropping into one of the several live music venues like the Shakedown Bar or the Red Lion
Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Population-wise, Jackson Hole isn’t a large town, but as far as nightlife goes, J-Hole is a sprawling metropolis with a range of options for off-mountain activities. Fill up on Italian food at the Il Villaggio Osteria, then pull up a stool at the Mangy Moose Restaurant and Saloon at the mountain base, where locals and visitors imbibe in craft beer and hearty grub.
Or, for a more modern experience, check out a live indie band at the Pink Garter Theatre in downtown Jackson, and then bar-hop along the main streets 'till last call – or the last shuttle back to your hotel.
Squaw Valley, Calif.
Squaw Valley appeals to snow-lovers who boast a wide variety of beverage tastes. Oenophiles can snag a choice bottle at the Uncorked Wine Bar and Shop or head to the bar at PlumpJack Café. Meanwhile, the Auld Dubliner provides an Irish pub setting with live music, whiskey and beer.
Or pull up a stool at Bar One, the centerpiece of Olympic House and the resort’s default après spot, with a fireplace, expansive bar and intoxicating mountain views. Want more? Head to nearby Truckee, a chill mountain town with a pedestrian-friendly main street and your choice of wine, beer and cocktail bars.
The nightlife at Whistler/Blackcomb is nearly as extensive as the mountain itself. Live music and DJs (both resident and visiting) provide a wide range of music from house and dance music to '80’s and soul.
Multiple sushi houses serve up a variety of sake, while clubs like Buffalo Bills offer huge dance floors, nightly DJs, pool tables and big-screen TVs to celebrate a perfect day on the mountain. And the pedestrian-friendly village also means no driving will mar your night of celebration.