After you’ve had a day skiing on and off piste in boot-deep fresh snow, you’re looking to relax, have a drink or two, get something great to eat and share your adventures with like-minded powder hounds. Here are ski legend Willi Vogl’s top 10 apres ski destinations.
1. Banff, Alberta Canada
The crystal blue lake is just one of the beautiful attributes in the ski region around Banff. Once you’re done glorifying the frigid sweeps, take to Banff’s upper hot springs, which usually stay around 100 degrees F. When hunger sets in, try an upscale meal at the Maple Leaf, or a more traditional eatery like the Saltlick or the Grizzly House.
2. Whistler, British Columbia Canada
Talk about patience. The chef at Wildflower Restaurant at the Fairmont Chateau starts preparing the maple glaze for the cedar planked salmon months before he uses it. It’s a must-eat in this apres ski haven, and is processed through 200-litre oak barrels, whisky, maple syrup and must be stirred four times each day. Work up an appetite on the slopes, and head straight to the Fairmont (after you’ve cleaned up, of course.)
3. Aspen, Colorado United States
In Aspen, a day’s worth of rugged skiing precedes an evening of posh apres glitz. At the Sky Hotel 39 Degrees Bar, turn up the heat in its 104-degree hot tub and watch ladies and gentlemen in designer duds strut their stuff. There is also a waterfall, so just consider this a winter pool party with martinis.
4. Cortina, Italy
Called “salotto dei famosi,” meaning “the celebrities’ living room,” Cortina was the A-list European resort where stars like Ingrid Bergman, Brigitte Bardot and Clark Gable went to ski and party at the height of their fame. Revel in their footsteps (or ski tracks) and rub elbows with today’s well-to-do. Try Via del Mercato for a selection of over 700 wines, or Blues Bar Lacedel at the base of the Socrapes for something lower-key.
5. Telluride, Colorado United States
A little less glam, a lot more neighborhood vibe, Telluride has serious slopes and equally distinctive restaurants and watering holes. Here, Victorian buildings have been converted into bars, shops and bistros. Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise have been seen gallivanting around the gorgeous San Juan mountain area, but a hot spot for ordinary folk is the New Sheridan Bar, with (extra happy) happy hour menus.
6. St. Anton, Austria
The skiing is extreme here, and so are the activities afterward. Once 3 p.m. hits, skiers flood the bars, like Senn Hutte, which has a German show that encourages guests to dance on tables, or Krazy Kanguruh – right on the piste, which is known for its party atmosphere. Plenty of late-night discos and karaoke bars will make it harder to hit the slopes next morning.
7. Jackson Hole, Wyoming United States
Uma Thurman and Harrison Ford apparently frequent Jackson Hole, so if it’s good enough for them… Soak up the beauty of the fine Wyoming landscape by day, and choose western saloon or elegance at night. For a fancy dining experience scrub up for the Four Seasons, or for something more casual, grab a drink at the Mangy Moose or the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
8. St. Moritz, Switzerland
Its dry-air “Champagne Climate” makes St. Moritz a go-to for skiers and snowboarders. The area shares trails with Silvaplana, Celerina, and Pontresina, so the diversity of slopes, lounges and social scenes make it attractive and fun. Ski fondue, lobster, sun decks and terraces make its apres ski atmosphere a decadent blast, well into the night.
9. Chamonix, France
This alpine resort attracts a lot of love. Kylie Monogue plans parties here frequently, and Elin Nordegren (Tiger’s first lady) used the haven as an escape while the public calamity went down. Mont Blanc just seems to attract female fame, including Le Privilege, a nonstop party locale.
10. Vail, Colorado United States
A lot of famous people – Cameron Diaz, Kelsey Grammar and Clint Eastwood, among others – like Vail. Maybe it’s the Red Lion – a nightly live music venue that’s known as the place to be. Nightlife gurus suggest getting there early to snag a good seat. Garfinkle’s in Lionshead has a huge outside deck that overlooks the terrain, and also has live music.