OK, we get it. Europe dominates the après-ski world. The most famous scenes for post-ski boozing, eating, ballyhoo always seem to be the Zermatts, the St Antons, the Mont-Blancs. But maybe it's nomenclature's fault? Because, seriously, could anything be more Euro than 'après-ski'? Perhaps we need to focus on what it really stands for: Fun-After-a-Day-of-Skiing-or-'Riding'? That's right, FADOSOR (rhymes with 'dinosaur'). However you call it, here are the best scenes for some FADOSOR in the Americas:
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Let love – and Jagermeister – rule. A-Basin's infamous 'Beach,' is a motley crew of pulled-up trailers, lawn chairs, portable hot tubs and all sorts of shotgunned beers and one-upmanship in the drinking department. Runs all day, spilling off the parking lot and facing the mountain – ski up and drink.
Aspen rivals Vail for star power, a silver mining town that looks out of the French Alps. Since 1889 the place to be after a day of skiing is the J-Bar, at the historic Jerome Bar, a saloon-type bar known for pub food and the dessert-like 'Aspen Crud' cocktail – that's bourbon with ice cream.
Squaw Valley, California
This host of the 1960 Olympics, near Tahoe City, is one of the great downhill resorts worldwide. After the runs close, follow the beeline slide into slopeside Le Chamois, built like an oversized red-and-white chalet with $10 pizzas, beer on tap at the Loft Bar and dreamy views of the mountain. Meanwhile, the Auld Dubliner is a popular Irish pub that welcomes the thumping heel-slaps of those in ski boots too.
Taos, New Mexico
Located mid-mountain at the base of chairlift #4 at one of the USA's most challenging mountains, the Bavarian doesn't go for the red chiles - it's all German, with the West's best selection of brats, wursts and krauts, reached through real-live 300-year-old castle doors. Also a sun porch.
The largest ski resort in the east - and in the state that was instrumental in developing snowboarding, man - Killington is also the east's premier location for some FADOSOR, chiefly at the nightspots along the four-mile Access Road (start with the outdoor decks of Jax Food & Games or Outback Pizza). Another classic is McGrath's Irish Pub, with a single log making up the bar, in the equally woodsy classic Inn at Long Trail, the first hotel built AS a ski lodge in the US (1938).
Whistler, British Columbia
Fresh off its Olympic days in the sun/snow, Whistler remains the king of BC skiing, with 38 lifts and over 200 runs. Staying can be pricey, but that doesn't dampen the scene at Garibaldi Lift Company, the closest bar to the slopes, big for its Kootenay Mountain Ale and bulging burgers. Another choice is Whistler Brewhouse, with pub fare and games on TV. For music, ski bunnies head to Moe Joe's intimate stage.
Fifteen miles from Argentina's best – best, not poshest – skiing at Cerro Catedral, lively student town of Bariloche is the place to set up. There's frequent transport to the slopes, where you can look over the Nahuel Huapi lakes as you ski down the mix of beginner's, intermediate and expert runs. Back in Bariloche, the best laid-back spot to let the muscles breathe is the Tarquino (24 de Septiembre & Saavedra Streets), a woodsy Hobbit-style eatery big on parrillada, including grilled lamb and trout dishes. A bit more upbeat is the microbrewery options at the corner Cruz Bar (Juramento & 20 de Febrero Streets), with DJs on weekends.
Nevados de Chillán, Chile
Fifty long miles from Chillán, Nevados de Chillán features mostly tracks running through forest – and heads up South American superlatives, such as longest piste and longest chairlift. After a day on the slopes, hop into a thermal pool, open year-round and sheltered inside wooden huts, then unwind at the Snow Pub, a laid-back bar packed in ski season.
This article was first published in November 2010 and was refreshed in December 2012.
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