The 5 Best Ski Resorts in Europe for Après Ski
BY - Tim Latimer, 20 June 2023, ARTICLES
BY - Tim Latimer, 20 June 2023, ARTICLES
Skiing and snowboarding are the biggest pull for those wanting to book a ski holiday. However, for some people, a lively, bustling après ski scene is also a must-have. Whether you’re hoping to relax with a quiet beer or a vin-chaud in the afternoon sunshine or you want to party before heading back to your luxury ski chalet, if you’re looking for the best when it comes to post-piste activities, keep reading.
When it comes to choosing a ski resort that offers the best après ski scene, what sort of things should you consider?
Ski resorts are all different and tend to have a unique culture or personality which can create a particular ambience in the village. This varies from country to country and from resort to resort, so if you are looking for a ski resort with a lively après-ski scene, choose a destination that has the right culture.
Small ski resorts can be fantastic – charming, peaceful, convenient, etc – but as you would expect, they don’t tend to have much of an après ski scene.
If you would prefer something a little more lively, pick a ski resort of a reasonable size with plenty going on. The larger resorts tend to have more bar options, meaning you are more likely to find one that suits your mood.
Not all bars are good ‘après’ bars. To be a truly great après ski bar, it should tick several boxes:
Many of the best après ski bars are right on the piste, either at the foot of the piste or even further up the slopes. To capture the true spirit of ‘après’, skiers have usually come straight off the mountain, so turn up in full ski gear and ski boots. It’s a stop-off before they head back to their ski chalets and hotels.
We don’t recommend skiing down any slopes after your après-ski pit stop if alcohol is involved, so it’s a good idea to check if you can get a ski lift down the mountain if the bar is up on the slopes. It’s always worth checking the time of the last lift down before you get stuck into the party.
In the later season months of March and April, the sun can be shining late into the afternoon, so finding an après bar with a lovely sunny terrace for a ‘sun-downer’ can be one of the great joys of spring skiing.
There are also some great après ski bars in the resort centres, which can make logistics easier once you decide to head back to the chalet. These tend to be more ‘indoor’ settings, so are great options in the darker, winter months.
Great music is a key ingredient for a great party. Many of the truly epic après ski bars have live music, usually timed for the après ski crowd. Things usually get lively from around 3 pm until around 6 to 8 pm. So if you are looking to turn the party dial up to 11, look for a venue with live music or a DJ.
Some après bars just seem to have the X-Factor. They are well-known as party destinations, so naturally they attract more of a party crowd, and as you would expect, things tend to get lively. Most larger resorts have one or two venues that are known as the place to be for après ski fun.
To help you decide where your next ski adventure should be, here’s our pick of the best five European ski resorts for après ski:
St Anton in Austria is renowned for offering some of the best après ski in Europe and the Mooserwirt is one of St Anton’s most renowned venues. Located above the village, the Mooserwirt is located right on the piste, so expect to see everybody in ski gear. With the party getting started in the early afternoon, you can expect things to be in full swing by 4 pm (or even earlier!). Prepare yourself for flowing drinks, dancing on tables, and plenty of loud party music.
If live music is your thing, Heustadl is worth a visit. Featuring a huge outdoor terrace, this bar is perfect for post-ski drinks on a sunny afternoon.
For après ski fun, Val d’Isère is one of the big players. This French resort is also home to a Folie Douce high up on the slopes above the resort. With the resident DJ pumping out tunes all afternoon, join the party on the large outdoor deck for drinks and dancing. Being located up the slopes, it closes before the lifts shut for the day.
Lower down, at the resort level, Cocorico is a Val d’Isère institution. Located at the foot of the piste next to the main lift in town, this open-air party gets pretty lively every afternoon.
Meanwhile, for a more relaxed and sophisticated ambience, Les Barmes de l’Ours Bar offers an open fire, piano music, and tranquillity.
Meribel in France has so much to offer after a day of tearing up snowy mountainsides. Know simply as ‘The Ronnie’, Le Rond Point Bar and Restaurant is the prime piste-side spot for an unforgettable après ski session. With a huge sunny terrace, it’s the perfect place to relax with a drink in hand while you soak up those late afternoon rays. This iconic Meribel après ski venue has regular live bands and DJs in the afternoon to get the party started.
For an afternoon you won’t forget in a hurry, head to La Folie Douce. Known for being the ultimate après-ski party, skiers flock to this hip and glam bar and restaurant. The huge sunny outdoor terrace is usually packed with diners for lunch, many of whom stay all afternoon. You may even see live dancers and acrobatic performers.
Verbier in Switzerland has plenty on offer when you’re ready to leave the pistes. High up on the slopes at Ruinettes, Le Mouton Noir offers breathtaking views from its panoramic terrace. A great spot to take in the incredible sunset over the valley. Meanwhile, down at the bottom of the piste, Bar Le Rouge, at the foot of Le Rouge Piste, is a cosy and atmospheric Savoyard restaurant with a popular terrace and is a great spot for relaxing post-ski drink before heading home to your luxury ski chalet.
For something a bit more up-tempo, The Farinet Lounge Bar, located on the main street in the centre of Verbier, is hard to top. Stop off for a stylish and sophisticated drink or bite to eat or check out the live music every night during the winter season.
Chamonix in France is a little different from most resorts as the town centre is separate from the ski slopes. There are numerous bars located by the slopes in the various ski sectors, but many of the best après ski bars in Chamonix are located in the main town itself.
Chamonix also boasts its own La Folie Douce bar, although this time part of a hotel in the town, rather than a dedicated après ski bar up on the slopes. Complete with a large deck for dancing and drinking, and high-energy live music performances from singers, DJs, and more.
Another classic après ski venue in Chamonix is Chambre Neuf, near the train station, which provides the ultimate in après ski party. Expect live bands and dancing on tables. This bar is popular for blasting out crowd-pleasing songs to get everyone in the mood – but make sure you get there early as it’s standing-room only.
MOÖ Bar, by the station, is also worth a visit. This lively bar and restaurant serves up international cuisine, as well as ice-cold beers and classic cocktails. Soak up the atmosphere while you enjoy upbeat tunes from the resident live DJ. If you’re lucky enough, you could bag one of the bar’s self-service beer tables, featuring beer pumps for you to pour your drinks.
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