Vail is known for its world-class skiing, and just as well for its top-notch après ski. Après- ski (French for “after-skiing”) defines the art of gathering, drinking, eating and socializing and generally celebrating the spirit of a joyful day on the mountain.
The tradition originated in the Alps, where après-ski is truly an art form prefect4d over 80+ years of practice. There are literally dozens of ways to enjoy this beloved ritual of enjoying libations and conversation to recap the day’s adventures on the mountain. Après-ski is not just for skiers anymore- it’s for everyone, to celebrate the end of another great ski day, or non-ski day, in Vail.
Socialize with the Locals in one of Vail’s Neighborhood Bars
These are casual joints where is perfectly appropriate and typical, to unload off the mountain and enjoy a cold one while still in your ski gear. Hit one of the favorite bars in town for drinks and a bite to eat – think pizza, wings, goulash or mile-high nachos at one of these locals’ favorites.
For a casual bar scene with a lively vibe, Vendetta’s and The Red Lion in Vail Village and Garfinkel’sin Lionshead are tried and true après ski staples where you are guaranteed to rub elbows with local skiing legends, ski patrollers and après-work revelers. On a sunny spring day, see and be seen at Pepi’s or Alpenrose, both of which have charming outdoor spaces with European flair to soak up some Vitamin D and people watch to your heart’s content. And the beachfront Los Amigos, facing Gondola 1, is one of the sunniest and most vibrant spots to share a drink and collect your friends for après ski (get there early when the weather’s good to snag your table on the sprawling outdoor deck!).
Après Ski in Sophisticated Style
The Vail Chophouse, at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola, provides a front row seat to watch skiers coming off the hill in Lionshead. Snack on locally made Elk Sausage or Warm Danish Brie with Apricot – Sweet Chili Glaze to refuel after a day of skiing. La Bottega, the charming Italian eatery on West Meadow Drive has a chic indoor wine bar and outdoor deck that feels like an Italian street-side café – try one of their incredible wood fired pizzas or charcuterie plates. Larkspur in Golden Peak has an amazing list of hand-crafted cocktails, wines and artisan beers, along with a tasty bar menu including their famous Larkburger and hand-cut parmesan-truffle fries. The King’s Club, an impossibly cozy piano bar replete with inviting seating vignettes and a crackling fire, is a wonderful stop for small plates and a delicious menu of warm drinks and cold cocktails.
Have an Active Family Après Ski
Kids have amazing energy stores, and there are days when a full day on the mountain just leaves them yearning for more. For the family on the go, try ice-skating at one of the beautiful outdoor rinks in Vail, at Solaris (in Vail Village) and Arrabelle (in Lionshead). Yeti’s in Solaris makes yummy coffees and other hot drinks, along with an assortment of wine and beer so you can relax while the kids play in the ice. Rimini, adjacent to the Arrabelle rink, makes quite possibly best hot chocolate you will taste outside Europe. Or try Adventure Ridge, at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola: a full-fledged outdoor adventure center with track tubing, kids snowmobiling, bungee trampoline and more, for après-ski or nighttime adventure.
Soak Your Soreness Away
…in Simba Run’s pool and hot tubs. Many of Vail’s outdoor pools are heated year-round, making it a perfect place to let the kids play around before. And an indoor pool is even better, giving a perfect respite from bitter temperatures or snowy whether outside (Simba Run is home to the largest indoor pool and hot tub in Vail!) “Hot tubbing” is practically synonymous with après-ski, as generations of skiers have always enjoyed a leisurely muscle soak after a hard day on the slopes. Grab your favorite drink (in a plastic cup of course) and enjoy this long-time après-ski tradition.
Early Eats for Early Risers
One of Vail’s best-kept secrets is the fresh tracks – whether fluffy powder or gorgeous groomed- that can be had when the lifts first open. While a must for your vacation, lingering late dinners at Vail’s famous eateries can really put a damper on these early morning plans and leave you feeling tired and groggy the next day.
One great solution: head home to change after your ski day and then back into town for an early reservation so you can leisurely enjoy a fabulous Vail dining experience. Early dinner reservations are easier to find, as the majority of folks want to dine around 7pm. They also mean a less crowded restaurant, and, at certain times of year (predominantly early and late season) many restaurants have early dining specials for reservations before 6pm. Dining early means you’re finished with time to spare for evening relaxing at home in the comfort of your condo or hotel, and getting a great night’s sleep. And the best part? With an early dinner you have time to head back into the hot tub for one last relaxing soak before bed.
Simba Run Condominiums are Vail’s Official Headquarters for Family Fun! To make your Vail, Colorado hotels and lodging reservations and get your third night free, please call Michele at 800-746-2278.