A ski holiday isn’t just about skiing or snowboarding. Off-slope activities and nightlife, such as a buzzing après scene, can truly elevate your winter break experience. Ski resorts all over the world provide plenty of post-ski activities for when the ski boots come off, from the delights of dog sledding to dancing the night away at mountainside bars. But, what does après ski actually mean?
What is Après Ski?
Après ski originated in the 1950s and directly translates to ‘after ski’ – a term to describe any post-ski social activity. In the mountains, skiers and snowboarders head to local bars after a great day of skiing and enjoy an evening of drinks, live music and mountain views. You will often hear keen skiers or seasonaires comparing the best après ski resorts across the world.
What to Do for Après Ski
Skiers and snowboarders enjoy their last run of the day and flee to mountainside bars for après ski. Sipping drinks and dancing the night away may be the obvious choice for many, but there are no rules on how to enjoy après skiing. Some like to party into the night at local clubs and others indulge in a well-earned dinner after a great day on the slopes. Whatever your preference, ski resorts around the world pride themselves on their vast choice of après ski activities.
What to Wear for Après Ski
There is no official dress code for après skiing. However, skiers and snowboarders usually head straight to slopeside bars in their ski clothes, which is part of the fun. The mountainside après ski scene usually lasts until around 7pm. You may see some funky ski outfits, party goggles and even skiers in fancy dress. Anything goes in the mountains. When the ski boots come off, and people head out for dinner, it is time to change into ‘normal’ clothes and continue the après ski activities. Whether you are having a night playing board games at your chalet, feasting on raclette in a local restaurant or heading out for drinks, you can change your outfit accordingly. Remember to pack your swimsuit in case you decide to take a trip to a spa or a dip in some hot springs!
Where to Go for Après Ski
Europe has some of the best après ski resorts in the world, offering everything from lively slopeside parties to laid-back drinks and relaxed dinners. Each country does après skiing slightly differently. France is well known for its wild après ski scene, the most famous spot being La Folie Douce. Known for live music, table dancing and outrageous outfits, La Folie Douce is the ultimate slopeside après ski spot. The flagship Folie Douce appeared in Val d’Isère in 1981 as a family venture, aiming to combine good food and entertainment. La Folie Douce can now be found in Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, Méribel, Alpe d’Huez, Megève, Avoriaz, Les Arcs and Chamonix. It is the most famous destination in the Alps for skiers and snowboarders seeking a mountainside party. Live music and professional dancers keep this après ski favourite lively all afternoon until the lifts close.
Some resorts are better than others for après skiing. Ischgl is one of the best après ski resorts in Europe. It has a lively atmosphere and plenty of après ski activities to entertain tourists. Choose from spas, bars, restaurants and even water parks, Ischgl has it all. Pacha is one of the biggest nightclubs in the Alps and hosts parties that last until the early hours. For delicious food, head to Paznauner-Stube, which serves traditional Austrian cuisine. And for something different, check out The Paznauner Taja.
Whistler, Canada, is a renowned bucket list destination for skiers and snowboarders in North America. It also has some of the best and most diverse après ski in the world. From Olympic bobsleighing to mountain sightseeing and live music. There are many ways to après ski in Whistler. For dining, the Araxi restaurant is popular for its seafood and Pacific Rim dishes. Or grab a drink at The Garibaldi Lift Co., a favoured après ski bar set just steps from the main run in the village.
Other Après Ski Activities
Unique Winter Experiences
The meaning of après ski isn’t just about drinking. You can enjoy some fantastic post-ski activities that you will not find on any other holiday. Whether you are looking for family fun or thrilling activities, there’s something for everyone in the mountains. Beautiful Alpine scenery and snowy landscapes make any activity a delightful experience.
Norway has many unique winter activities. Of course, if you’re lucky with the weather, you can witness the natural phenomenon of the Northern Lights in most Norwegian ski resorts. Dog sledding is another magical experience and is great for families. City breaks to Oslo and Bergen are also possible as add-ons to your ski trip.
Incredible Alpine Cuisine
A real treat is enjoying the varied Alpine cuisine you can experience in ski resorts across the world. Whether you want a traditional fondue or fine-dining delicacies, there’s something for every taste. Take a break from the usual chain restaurants and enjoy the traditional cuisine of the area you are visiting.
Different Alpine countries offer unique mountain dishes. Try a tasty wiener schnitzel in Austria or tartiflette in the French Alps. If you want a top-class meal, Courchevel is one of the best destinations for food, because it is home to the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the Alps. Aspen Snowmass is another hub for excellent cuisine and has one of the most impressive collections of restaurants of any ski resort in the world.
Activities For The Thrill Seekers
Skiing and snowboarding are considered action sports in themselves but there are also other exhilarating activities to enjoy. Fly across the mountain landscape on ziplines or race across the snowy terrain on a ski-doo, ski resorts pride themselves on exciting activities away from typical snow sports.
There are brilliant activities to enjoy at ski resorts worldwide. Saalbach-Hinterglemm has the Flying Fox Zipline that flies you through the mountains at 130kph from an altitude of 1,600m. In Whistler, there’s an Olympic bobsleigh track you can experience when you are not on the slopes. No previous training is required, and you’ll reach speeds of more than 70mph.
Ski resort festivals attract top musicians from around the world. The combination of superb skiing and excellent music is a fantastic way to elevate your ski holiday. Whether you are into rock music or want to dance the night away to the best DJ sets, there is a vast music scene in the mountains.
Arguably, the most famous mountain festival is Snowbombing in Mayrhofen which boasts previous headliners such as Liam Gallagher and The Prodigy. Popular music festival, Tomorrowland, has a winter edition in Alpe d’Huez and hosts some incredible DJs each year.
To find out more about the meaning of après ski, please call the Ski Solutions experts on 020 7471 7700.