Après ski is an essential experience on a ski holiday and there’s no better place to regale friends with tales of your skilful slaloming. What’s off the slopes is just as important as the powder, whether it’s table dancing in your ski boots, or relaxing with cocktails or a fine wine. These are five of the best après ski resorts in Europe.
Within the extensive Espace Killy ski area with neighbouring Tignes, the après ski in Val d’Isère is as impressive as the awe-inducing Face de Bellevarde black run. Many of the best bars, cafés and clubs are all nearby, which means it’s easy to continue the party! Probably the best-known, the Folie Douce is compared to a live cabaret. With a pumping sound system, electronic DJs and dancers, it has a prime location on the mountain. Don’t get too carried away, as you still need to get down the mountain!
Cocorico bar is at the bottom of the Solaise lift, making it a logical and convenient place to stop after a day on the slopes. Join in singing with the live bands, taking advantage of happy hour and trying to nail dancing in your ski boots. Other popular haunts include Le Petit Danois, Dick’s Tea Bar and The Fall Line, with so much choice Val d’Isère is one of the best après ski resorts in Europe.
Cortina provides both Olympian skiing and an elegant, relaxed après ski. If you’ve ever wanted to dine at over 7,000ft, Rifugio Averau obliges. Enjoy a home-cooked Italian meal with sweeping views across the magnificent peaks of the Dolomites. For an energised evening, head to the Belvedere. This chic club has been on the silver screen more than once, and a favourite with fashionable Italians.
With tramways and chairlifts that take you well over 9,000ft, St Anton has superb slopes. Consistently hailed one of the best après ski resorts in Europe, Austrian euro-pop has taken a firm hold here. Head to the Krazy Kanguruh for outlandish balcony parties with mountain views, and plenty of specially selected tunes.
You won’t want to miss an evening in Mooserwirt either. Two slogans dominate this bar’s philosophy: ‘The mother of all ski bars’ and ‘Damn good, but damn expensive’. It lives up to both. Even still, come 4pm the rhythm of ‘The Final Countdown’ can be heard echoing across the mountains, as a call for steins.
This gorgeous Swiss resort allures the rich and famous. There’s excellent off-piste skiing at Mont Gelé, and Verbier has some glamorous venues where you can unwind after a day slicing through the powder. If it’s good enough for Prince William, you know you’re in for a good time at Pub Mont Fort. If you’re feeling particularly flush, then head to The Farm Club, which is dubbed the coolest and most prestigious après ski spot in town.
Small but busy, Sölden is packed with picturesque, wood-trimmed buildings and a traditional Tirolean church. The town’s main street is full of buzzing nightspots, making bar-hopping a fun way to spend the evening. Step straight off the Tiefenbach gondola into Restaurant Tiefenbachgletscher’s lively Glacier Bar, with an open roof and superb views. You can sip on mulled wine or sample a draft beer from their extensive selection while mingling with the bustling crowd that gathers at the end of the ski day. Another lively option is Almrausch, a classic timbered bar in the centre of town, playing house and pop music.
A great selection of umbrella bars, mountain huts and nightclubs complements a variety of shops and restaurants in Sölden. With its well-earned reputation as the wildest party spot in Austria, Sölden has something for everyone, whether you prefer a pub atmosphere at The Grizzly Bear, or the rock and roll Black and Orange Bar. If the slopes have exhausted you by mid-afternoon, kick the party off then and there by visiting Mogul Bar, which opens its doors at 4pm.
It’s five stars all the way in Zermatt, with luxury hotels and a superb range of mountain restaurants, on top of the 100 options in the village itself. This high-end resort has an all-night vibe, with many of its bars and nightclubs open until 3am. There’s a great variety here too, with jazz and piano bars, such as the Pink Elephant, to supplement the usual discos and DJs. There are also two cinemas to choose from, and live music and folklore concerts take place regularly.
Blue Lounge is one of our favourite on-mountain bars; the sun terrace has brilliant views of the Matterhorn and there’s often live bands and DJs taking to the stage. If you’re looking for something a bit different, the igloo village on Rotenboden at 2,727m is a great experience. Pay a visit to the high-altitude igloo bar for a warming mulled wine and Swiss fondue.
Ischgl is a place that really knows how to celebrate, and it has seen huge names performing at the resort including Elton John, Bob Dylan and Kylie Minogue. Their opening concert Top of the Mountain is truly spectacular and is not to be missed. The bustling resort is also host to alternative events, such as an annual snow sculpture competition, in which artists from around the world vie to create dramatic works of art that line the slopes after judging. Another highlight in the events calendar is the Sterne-Cup der Köche, a cooking challenge where chefs from around the world compete for gourmet glory.
There are plenty of bars, pubs and clubs to choose from too, such as the Golden Eagle, a welcoming, traditional spot where locals and tourists alike jive to jazz, soul, rock ‘n’ roll. Earlier in the night, it’s a cosy spot to catch up with friends on the day’s skiing. For a really elegant night out, try a cocktail at Pacha, the nightclub attached to the stylish Hotel Madlein.
To find out more about the best après ski resorts click here, or speak to our ski experts on 0207 471 7700.