This 350-year old farmhouse from Bavaria was rebuilt just below Kimberley Alpine Resort as a restaurant, serving European alpine mountain fare
Ski resorts have become synonymous with great mountain food and evening entertainments known as “après ski”, a term which originated in France and spread across the world ski map. French fondues, Bavarian sausage, Swiss rosti and raclette are all firm favorites in Europe and have also spread to resorts in North America.
The Red Lion pub and restaurant in Vail Village is one of the busiest
places after skiing - a great patio when it’s sunny|
Cheesy chicken nachos in Coyote Cafe, Beaver Creek
North American resorts customarily serve chicken wings, sweet potato fries and platters of cheesy nachos for “Happy Hour” fare.In the past decade, though, there has also been a move towards fine dining later in the evening, with French cuisine, Spanish tapas and sushi making its mark at top ski resorts such as Aspen/Snowmass, Banff, Kicking Horse, Whistler/Blackcomb and Vail.
|Eagle’s Eye Restaurant at the summit of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort is open for fine dining at night accessed by starlit gondola|
Après ski clothing has evolved over the years to incorporate everything from moon boots and Norwegian sweaters to fur and leather-trimmed accessories, hats and footwear. In some European resorts skiers and snowboarders party in their ski pants long into the evening. Sturdy, slip-proof footwear is a necessity at night as streets can be icy - unless you’re in Lionshead Village, Vail, Colorado where underground heating clears sidewalks.
It’s not all about dressing-up, drinking, eating and dancing, though. Many resorts offer comprehensive programs of family-oriented evening activities, including everything from ice skating, curling and swimming to spa treatments, movie nights and kids crafts. Some of the best ice skating can be found at Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada where the rink is created on the edge of the two-mile deep lake, overlooked by immense glaciers. Crans-Montana, Switzerland also features an idyllic rink often populated with semi-professional figure skaters best watched over hot drinks and pastries from the nearby bar.
|Vail Resorts has plenty of ice-skating for après ski fun: here’s the rink at Vail Village and there are others at Lionshead and Beaver Creek Village|
Other resorts have developed interesting wintry packages such as the horse-drawn cart rides and chili cook-out at Panorama Resort, BC, Canada. Swathed in warm blankets, passengers tour the magical forests around the resort. Curling is a fun evening sport often offered to tourist groups in places like Verbier, Switzerland, where it is played on an indoor rink with plenty of mulled wine to warm the players up. Other resorts, such as Leysin, Switzerland have more professional curling facilities. Kimberley and Banff Mt Norquay in Canada offer floodlit skiing and snowboarding at weekends for those with extra energy.
|Fancy dress and outdoor concerts are part of the après-ski fun at Fernie Alpine Resort, BC, Canada|
Sun Peaks in Canada has gone a step further and provides high brow culture with classical music events and wine festivals. Lake Louise has emulated European resorts with its torchlit descent party including nightskiing with instructors, a buffet and dance party. Lucky lodgers at Sunshine Village can stargaze from the outdoor jacuzzi and join in snowshoe safaris. Snowshoeing is also popular at the Great Divide Lodge near Lake Louise and increasingly more resorts across North America.
OneTwo Ski Entertainment Recommendations (to be added to as I find new ones):
Live music at Four Seasons, Vail daily 3-7 pm
Torchlit descent, buffet dinner and dancing at Lake Louise Friday nights
Verbier - New Year’s Eve village party with fireworks and frolicking all night long
OneTwoSki Bar Recommendations:
OneTwoSki Recommended Restaurants:
Aspen - Brunelleschi’s (especially gluten-free pizza)