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Best Resort and Après Ski

Best Resort and
Après Ski

Best Resort Skiing and Après Ski

The Canadian Ski Council estimates that The Great White North is home to 2.5 million skiers and snowboarders. If you are one of them, it is about time you learned about the other, more luxurious side of resort skiing: après ski.

Are you searching for the best resorts for après skiing around the globe? You are in luck because we compiled the ultimate guide to the most opulent ski resorts in Canada, the US, Europe, and Japan.

Keep reading to learn where to après ski, what to wear while you are doing it, and what activities you just can not miss out on.

What Is Après Ski?

Après ski is a French phrase that translates to “after ski.” What does the phrase really mean, though? Après ski refers to all the activities and events resort-goers partake in after they snowboard or ski (see where the name comes from?).

Après ski activities commence after the final run and can last well into the night. But there is no specified time when your final run has to take place. So, you could ski in the morning and begin your après-ski activities at noon.

Yet, après ski is not only a collection of activities. It is a tradition and a culture. Just like other traditions, après ski customs vary depending on where you ski.

We will talk more about the après-ski customs in Canada, the US, Europe, and Japan later. But first, let’s talk about the best resorts for après-ski.

Where Are the Best Ski Resorts for Après Skiing Activities?

When it comes to après ski, not all resorts are created equal. That is why we rounded up the best resorts for après-ski activities and curated them here for your convenience.

The Best Resort Skiing in Canada

Canada is home to dozens of ski resorts situated all across the country. But the best ski resorts are concentrated in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

Here are the top Canadian ski resorts for après ski activities, plus some pros and cons about each:

  • Whistler Blackcomb:

    The largest ski resort in Canada features luxury hotels, dining, art galleries, and boutiques but large crowds

  • Mont Tremblant:

    A family-friendly ski resort with a European feel, beautifully-kept grounds, and excellent nightlife but few luxury accommodations

  • Sun Peaks: 

    The second-largest resort in Canada offers ski-in/ski-out restaurants, bars, and plenty of other après ski activities but is not the place for advanced skiers

The Whistler Blackcomb resort is located in Whistler, British Columbia. The resort and village are about an hour and forty-five-minute drive from Vancouver.

Mont Tremblant is situated in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec. It is about two hours outside Quebec’s largest city, Montreal.

Sun Peaks ski resort is in Sun Peaks, British Columbia. Halfway between Calgary and Vancouver, Sun Peaks is closer to the city of Kamloops, which is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada.

The Best Resort Skiing in the US

37 US states are home to 470 different ski-friendly regions. Yet, the country is not known for its resort skiing, especially compared to Europe.

But the US ski resorts you have heard of are home to world-class après skiing. This includes the following areas:

  • Vail: 

    A European-style resort with glamorous bars and five-star dining options but few ski-in/ski-out options and large crowds

  • Aspen: 

    The US’s most luxury ski town features indulgent dining options and classy lounges, but limited options for beginner and advanced skiers

  • Beaver Creek: 

    A newer ski resort that is known for its classy dining and upscale drinking options, but parking at slope-side hotels is not included

The city of Vail is in eastern Colorado. It is home to the Vail Ski Resort, which sits on the largest mountain available for skiing in Colorado.

Also in Colorado, Aspen is located in the Rock Mountains in the western part of the state. The Aspen Ski Resort is also where the annual Winter X Games are held.

Beaver Creek is often considered Vail’s younger sibling. The resort sits about 3 hours west of Denver, the capital of Colorado.

The Best Resort Skiing in Europe

Europe, and specifically France, is the birthplace of après ski. So, it should be no wonder that the continent is home to the world’s best après-ski resorts and activities.

We had trouble narrowing down our list to just three resorts. Instead, we have compiled the following five resorts for your review:

  • Courcheval: 

    The resort that is synonymous with après ski features 185 five-star hotels, high-end spas, and luxury shops but also comes with thick crowds, especially during the holidays

  • Davos: 

    A resort with breathtaking views and a high-end ski village that has all the après ski activities one could want (as long as you can deal with the chaotic crowds)

  • Chamonix:

    Another famous après ski resorts, this paradise-on-earth includes luxury shops and restaurants as well as wellness centers and elegant hotels but occasionally experiences bad weather

  • Baqueria Beret: 

    Spain’s most luxurious ski resort is home to chic boutique hotels, high-end spas, and award-winning restaurants but has variable snow quality

  • Saalbach Hinterglemm:

    A picturesque resort featuring both wild nightlife and relaxing ski huts but heavy crowds even during the low season

Courcheval and Chamonix are both located in France. The former town sits at the base of the French Alps near the Italian border. Chamonix is closer to Mont Blanc, only a few hours away from Geneva, Switzerland.

Davos is a Swiss ski resort and one of the first skiing venues in the world. Baqueria Beret is located on the border of Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains. And Saalbach Hinterglemm is in Austria.

The Best Resort Skiing in Japan

If you are looking for a new twist on your annual ski trip, Japan is the place to be. The northern part of the island is home to the Japanese Alps, where skiers are drawn to the impressive amount of snowfall during wintertime.

Here are the ski resorts and towns you must visit if you are looking for excellent powder skiing and top-notch après skiing venues:

  • Niseko: 

    The most famous Japanese ski resort with excellent skiing and even better après ski activities, including live music, upscale bars and clubs, and luxury dining options

  • Mizuho:

    Western Japan’s largest ski slope is known for its traditional Japanese restaurants and relaxing hot spring baths

  • Echo Land: 

    The ski resort to go to if you want to dance the night away in the local clubs and gouge yourself at the local Western-inspired restaurants

Niseko is located on Japan’s second-largest island of Hokkaido. The resort sits just beneath Mount Yotei, which locals call the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido.

The Mizuho Highland area is in Ohnan Town, Shimane. It is very close to the border of Hiroshima.

The city of Hakuba is home to the Echoland ski resort. Hakuba also hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1998, so you can not miss out on a visit to the Olympic Village while you are in the area.

Apres Ski Style: How to Dress for Apres Ski

Après ski style varies by country and even resort. Casual après-ski looks are more common in the US, Canada, and, increasingly, Japan. Meanwhile, the European après ski outfit is more on the elegant side.

Here are some general guidelines to help you pack for your ski trip.

Casual Après Ski Style

Some resorts have casual après ski customs that allow skiers to wear whatever they wore on the slopes that day. Change out your ski boots for a pair of après boots, and throw on a wool toque or headband and a pair of sunglasses to complete the look.

If you prefer your après-ski activities a bit more upscale, you can not go wrong with cashmere or wool knitwear. Add a pair of trousers or smart dark wash jeans and your après ski boots. Top everything off with a classy fedora or fur hat and a stylish jacket, and you will be ready to après ski the day away.

European Après Ski Style

Though you will find young people après skiing in more casual looks, the European après-ski scene is typically anything but casual. It would not be a surprise to spot women in floor-length fur coats and fur bags.

Sunglasses are a must-have for perusing mountainside shops. But go for an elevated designer pair instead of the plastic sunnies your wore on the slopes. And do not forget your statement après ski boots as these are a European après-ski staple, even for the most laid-back of looks.

The Best Après Ski Activities

The final stop in our guide is to check in on the après ski activities you can not miss out on in Canada, the US, Europe, and Japan. Keep reading to learn about the restaurants, shops, and activities we recommend.

Après Ski in Canada

If you want to après-ski like the Canadians, you have to partake in the following activities:

  • – Attending live concerts
  • – Dancing the night away to a DJ
  • – Drinking craft beer and apple cider
  • – Soaking in the local hot springs
  • – Eating British-style pub food, burgers, mac ‘n cheese, and poutines
  • – Snacking on maple candy

If you are looking for good food, you have to check out Dusty’s Bar and Garibaldi Lift Co. in Whistler. Garfinkel’s and Moe Joe’s in Whistler are great nightclub options if you are searching for an après ski party.

In Mont Tremblant, those looking for upscale eats can not miss Le P’tit Caribou and Bar Cafe d’Epoque. Bottoms Bar & Grill and the outdoor patio at Morrisey’s Public House in Sun Peaks are also must-visits.

Apres Ski in the US

US ski resorts are home to everything from raucous parties with table dancing and shot-taking to upscale wine and dining with high-quality charcuterie. Either way, there will be stories to share and friends to make.

But before you après ski in the US, you need to know these dos and don’ts:

  • – Don’t bring your skis inside
  • – Do drop off your skis with the valet
  • – Don’t remove your ski boots inside
  • – Do wear your ski boots proudly as you après ski

If you are in Aspen, make sure to stop by Zane’s Tavern for casual drinks and a game of pool. Ajax Tavern is another great spot, especially if you prefer your après-ski with an elegant cocktail.

Notable après ski spots in Vale include the iconic Pepi’s, locals’ favorite Vendetta’s, and the speakeasy-inspired Bady Kitty Lounge. More upscale eats and drinks can be found at the European-inspired Alpenrose.

In Beaver Creek, the local spas are a must-visit. But when you get hungry, make sure to stop by for the incredible views at the Black Diamond Bistro, the oysters at Chophouse and C Bar, or the casual vibes at the Coyote Cafe.

Apres Ski in Europe

In Europe, many people take up their après-ski time shopping at local boutiques and luxury stores. Spend the evenings dancing or drinking the night away in the upscale clubs and lounges.

Otherwise, these activities are voted the top après ski activities in France:

  • – Husky dog sled rides
  • – Midnight snowshoeing hikes
  • – Ice climbing up the French Alps
  • – Spending the night at an igloo expedition
  • – Zip wiring
  • – Fatbiking
  • – Paragliding

Apres Ski in Japan

Après ski used to be exclusive to Westernized countries. But Japan is quickly catching up and showing the West how the East likes to après ski. Depending on where you go, you can find both rowdy and refined après-ski activities.

Some of the more popular après-ski activities in Japan include drinking Japanese craft beer, attending live concerts, and indulging in Japanese and Western-style food.

On the unique side of things, skiers have to experience the izakayas and onsen baths. Izakayas are the country’s version of a gastropub. Onsens are the hot spring baths common in the area that are available to resort guests.

Get More Information Before Planning Your Trip

Canada, the US, Europe, and Japan are home to some of the best resorts, après-ski activities, and fashion in the world. Make sure to keep this guide handy next time you are planning a resort skiing trip.

Are you looking for more tips for planning your ski trip in Canada and beyond? Contact Steep and Deep to find out how we can help plan your après ski trip!