Ah, the après ski. A tradition with deep roots from the Alps to the Rockies. Is there anything better than spending a day on the slopes with fresh snow, a clear blue sky and warm sunshine followed by an ice-cold beer (or a shot of peach schnapps perhaps)? Don’t miss out on the après experience this winter, and check out five of our favourite après ski locations in the Great White North!
Whistler is the big kid on the block. With the most skiable terrain of any resort in North America, Whistler attracts a staggering number of visitors to its slopes every year. To match the crowd, the Whistler Village has developed over the years into one of the most extensive mountain resort villages in the world – with dining, hotel, and entertainment options to fit anyone. Looking to sit in an Adirondack chair with a beer in your hand? The massive patio at the Longhorn Saloon & Grill at the base of the mountain is calling your name. Want to dig in to some pulled pork nachos and listen to live music? Dusty’s at the base of Whistler is just for you, with some of the best BBQ in BC. And if mingling with the locals and practicing your Aussie accent is your thing (there are lots of them in Whistler), then head over to El Furniture Warehouse in the heart of the village and immerse yourself in a true Whistler après. If your après starts to head late into the night, then make sure to make your way to Moe Joe’s, where you won’t be the only one hitting the dancefloor in ski boots!
Known as the jewel of Quebec, Mont Tremblant has been attracting snow sports enthusiasts for decades. With terrain for all abilities, and a village to match, it’s no wonder that so many people visit every winter Of course, a visit to Tremblant isn’t complete without a stop at the sugar shack, where you can indulge in maple taffy, soft ice cream with maple butter, and other delicious Quebecois treats. After having a few frosty beers at one of the many bars at the base of the mountain, stroll through the village to La Savoie for a traditional raclette dinner, and to sample the numerous beers brewed on-site at their brewpub. To keep the après going strong, head over to Le P’tit Caribou and live the ‘Caribou Experience’ – frequently rated one of the best après-ski bars in North America. Just make sure to grab a beaver tail before you head home!
This resort located near Kelowna, BC has an enviable reputation of consistent snowfall – and with a 30-year average of 655cm, highlighted by a whopping 889cm in 2013, it’s no surprise that mountain enthusiast flock here every winter. As the powder hounds descend off the mountain, most are looking for a comfortable place to sit down and enjoy a cold beer – and Big White doesn’t disappoint. Snowshoe Sam’s, frequently rated the #1 après ski pub in North America, has been serving skiers and snowboarders alike beverages, food, live music, and great vibes for years. Big White is also known for their family-friendly atmosphere, with daily activities focussed on the whole family available in the village centre mall. And if you’re in the mood to sit around with friends and family to enjoy some great food and conversation in an inviting atmosphere, make sure to make a reservation at Sis Degrees Bistro, a first-class tapas restaurant in the village.
Ok, so while not technically an ‘après’ spot, Banff is just down the road from Sunshine and Lake Louise, both world-class resorts. Banff is renowned as a natural wonder in Canada, with scenic mountain backdrops that appeal to travellers from all over the globe. In addition to the natural beauty of Banff, the town is well-geared towards entertaining – with over 100 bars, restaurants and nightclubs open until the wee hours of the morning able to provide an unparalleled après experience. No matter what your taste is, Banff is able to provide for it and offer an incredible, truly Canadian après!
Just an hour and a half north of Toronto you will find Blue Mountain, a well-developed snow sports haven nestled along the southern edge of Georgian Bay, just outside of the town of Collingwood. With 13 lifts and 42 trails, Blue Mountain has something for everyone. After spending a day on snow, visitors love to relax at the Scandinave Spa, a luxurious Nordic spa experience nestled on 25 acres of pristine Niagara Escarpment land. Sitting in a Nordic waterfall while gazing on the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment is a truly special après experience. If the spa isn’t your thing, don’t worry – the village at Blue Mountain has a number of watering holes to quench your thirst after a day on the slopes. A stones throw from the hill is Rusty’s, a well-equipped bar with tons of outdoor space on their patio (and a great dancefloor inside for those that are interested!). On the other side of the village, Jozo’s is a local’s favourite, with cheap pitchers and live music most nights – you’re certain to see more than a few lifty’s and instructors sharing a drink here long after the hills are closed. And hey, if you’re up for it, Blue Mountain also has night skiing – just make sure not to après too much before going back out on the hill!