You’ve spent a day on the powder, you’re feeling king or queen of the mountain, but now it’s about the serious business of après ski. It’s a huge part of what makes a skiing holiday memorable, fun and fantastic. From piste-side bars to life in the town, the best nightlife ski resorts in the world are in Europe and the US. So whether you’re after a spot of Euro-pop and cheesy salopette dancing, or fondue with gluhwein or beer, here are the best après ski resorts in Europe and the world.
Sliding gracefully from Andorra to Austria, from France to Switzerland, and then jumping the mogul over to the US and Canada, I’ve got your snow holiday nightlife covered. Here are the best nightlife ski resorts:
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1. Val Thorens, France
Dubbed the highest party town in the Alps, Val Thorens sometimes falls prey to being the poor relation of nearby Courchevel and Méribel. However, overlook Val Thorens at your peril. It frequently makes it onto lists of the top 10 après ski resorts in Europe for good reason.
From mid-afternoon, the crowds gather at La Folie Douce, where DJs set the slopes pumping. Yes, you’re going to have to ski back down, but isn’t that part of the fun?! Once your boots are stowed for the night, then Café Snesko is party central. Expect the spectacle of witnessing the ceiling and bar set on fire! Or The Frog and Roast Beef is the highest pub in Europe if you fancy a more convivial affair. Have a read of my Val Thorens ski resort guide for more information about this popular party resort.
2. Val d’Isere, France
Another of the best French après ski resorts is, of course, Val d’Isere. It’s glamorous and it will eat a hole in your pocket. But it is brilliant fun with somewhere new to try every night. Here again you should check out La Folie Douce, the original of these piste-central party huts. This time you can use the gondola to get you down if you’re worried about drinking and skiing abilities!
The town is bursting with pubs and bars such as Le Petit Danois and the very-French The Underground. English-speaking crowds then tend to party the night away at the club that’s somewhat confusingly named Dick’s Tea Bar.
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3. Livigno, Italy
If you can possibly cope with pulling yourself away from the slopes and the shops in Livigno, then you’ll also find that it is in fact one of the best Italian ski resorts for après ski.
There are a staggering 150 bars to choose from here, so yes, you will be spoilt for choice. Head to Bait dal Ghat for pizza and your first drink free, before a night in places such as Daphne’s Pub or Arimo Livigno.
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4. St Anton, Austria
In St Anton the vibe is ski hard and party harder. Of course, St Anton isn’t just popular for the slopes, but is also one of the best ski resorts in Austria for nightlife. Expect vibrantly busy bars and clubs as you party alongside Austrians, Germans, Brits and Dutch.
Have a riotous experience at The Krazy Kangaruh or Mooserwirt just over the piste. If you’re still sober enough, then you’ll be mesmerised at beer servers balancing double-decker trays of drinks on icy ground.
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5. Obergurgl, Austria
The Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski area in Austria is one of the best ski resorts for beginners. But it is also home to one of my absolute favourite places for après ski: the Nederhütte. The après here is world-renowned and you are guaranteed an entertaining afternoon and evening. Get the schnapps flowing, dance on the tables in your ski boots, and sing along to all your favourite cheesy hits. There’s no place quite like it. If you’ve had one too many gluhwein, hitch a lift on a skidoo and save yourself a drunken ski injury.
6. Verbier, Switzerland
Of course, luxury ski resort Verbier has long been one of the best ski resorts in Europe for après ski. With a reputation for fabulous nights and a location in Switzerland, you can expect to feel it in the pocket. As such, there’s quite an après ski culture of chasing the happy hours, and that just makes it even more fun.
Pub Mont Fort is a must-do and you’ll be guaranteed good times at Farinet Bar too. At Farinet, they open the roof if the dancing makes things too hot and there’s something seriously magical about partying indoors with the snow falling.
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7. Whistler, Canada
Whistler is such a fabulous place to ski or board, but it’s also mighty fine when it comes to the nightlife too. Indeed, I’d rate it as one of the best ski resorts in the world for après ski which is saying something given that we have the whole of Europe on our doorstep. Expect open air terraces, live music and hearty food alongside straightforward fun.
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8. Ischgl, Austria
Come to Ischgl for an upmarket always-pumping party town which just happens to also be a ski resort. The Trofana Alm is often considered as the place to be; it’s cheesy but fun and the place to show off your ski-boot-clad dad dancing moves. The Schatzi Bar and Kuhstall are also popular.
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9. Chamonix, France
As one of the best ski resorts in Europe, Chamonix draws some of the most hard core skiers in the world – and it appears these souls like to party. Chamonix may be famous for its slopes, but don’t underestimate its nightlife. There’s always a buzz here and get used to seeing bars spilling out onto the streets. Chambre Neuf, which sits underneath Hotel Gustavia, is a popular spot. Wend your way down Rue du Moulin ducking and diving into different wine bars, or know that Folie Douce have moved into Chamonix too.
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10. Mayrhofen, Austria
Another Austrian resort that I love that’s bursting with Austrian charm is Mayrhofen. Popular in the Zillertal area for a diverse range of après ski choices, from chilled out pubs and restaurants through to lively bars and clubs. Find a classic Austrian party vibe at Brück n Stadl or check out The Scotland Yard Pub if you want to be able to sing along to the tunes.
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11. Pas de la Casa, Andorra
Andorra is continuing to grow as a destination for fun and affordable skiing trips. With cheap beer on tap, expect a young vibe and some heavy partying night after night.
Coll Blanc (which frankly looks like a spaceship landed expertly on a rocky outcrop) doesn’t just offer fabulous views, but also starts its party from about 4pm onwards. Pas 83 gets consistently good reviews and is known for dishing out free drinks when you use them for your ski hire.
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12. Bansko, Bulgaria
Bansko is growing in popularity as a fabulous ski resort. It’s also fast gaining a reputation as an après hotspot. Skiers and snowboarders in Bankso know how to party hard and the resort caters for the party lifestyle well.
A classic and atmospheric bar to frequent is The Happy End. Amigos is popular to, and The Lions Pub draws big crowds. Oxygen, looking somewhat like a snow cave, is the place to dance the night away.
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13. Colorado, US
Colorado deals with après ski in two ways: 1. Carbs, 2. Cocktails. As a town, Colorado is chilled out so expect the same vibe in your après ski, but don’t let that think you’re not in for a good time.
The Red Lion is popular and a place to jostle up against other partygoers listening to the in-house singer. Secret Stash will keep you fuelled with pizza and cocktails or partake in happy hour at the Slopeside Grill. It’s a huge area so be sure to check out the best Colorado nightlife in your chosen resort.
14. St Moritz, Switzerland
St Moritz is fabulously famous for its stylish après ski. As one of the best luxury ski resorts in Europe, it’s the place for winding down from the slopes with sophistication and elegance. Ski huts abound and you’ll never run out of a place to quench your thirst.
Great après ski places to enjoy in St Moritz include Sternbar Marguns, where you can literally ski up and drink. You can’t quite beat sipping on a glass of Champagne here. Another fun option is Alto Bar where cable cars have been converted into a bar. RooBar is a really happening place to be and perhaps the most legendary place in St Moritz.
15. Les Deux Alpes, France
For great skiing and a great after party, head to Les Deux Alpes. At 3pm, when you’re still up on the slopes, head to the Pano Bar near the Jandri mid-station for pure eclectic entertainment ranging from balloon sculptors to sax players. There is often a pretty wild vibe at Pano, so if you prefer something a little more chilled then Diable au Coeur is a bit less intense.
Back in the village, a great evening kicks-off at Le Saloon, once known as Smokey Joe’s. You can stay put or head onto any of the fabulous bars along the main street such as Red Frog, Secret Bar or the Polar Bear Club.
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16. Selva, Italy
Undoubtedly one of the best ski resorts in Italy for nightlife is Selva. Before you come down off the slopes you want to head to Piz Seteur. Here you’ll find Go Go girls as well as vistas which are awe-inspiring. You can then move onto La Stua, particularly if they’ve got one of their live music nights going on.
Once you’re ready to really get your night underway then it’s a must-do to head to Luislkeller which won the accolade of Best Après Ski Bar in the Alps with a Skiarea Test gong.
17. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Another of the best ski resorts in Italy, at least where nightlife is concerned, is Cortina. It must be – after all, Absolut named a cocktail after it!
Cortina is posh. In amongst all the gorgeous boutiques and fancy eateries, you can also find some gloriously swanky places for après ski too. Bear in mind this is Italy, so après ski starts with coffee and cake (try Pasticceria Alvera) before heading onto wine bars like Enoteca. The evening really starts to get cracking at Bar LP26 where nibbling on prosciutto is a must. Then finish off the night in a club such as Bilbo.
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18. Niseko, Japan
If you’ve not skied in Japan then you’re missing out on some unique and wonderfully different après ski. The resort of Niseko has got quite a Western feel meaning that bars and nightclubs are really taking root here. Hirafu is a popular party spot. But if you want something more traditional, experience the traditional izakaya bars. Bar Gyu will make you welcome.
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19. Tignes, France
Tignes has long been overshadowed by its sister Val d’Isere, but is a brilliant spot in the Alps for its nightlife. Indeed, if Val d’Isere is starting to wear thin for you due to the crowds then simply head to Tignes and you’ll fall back in love with the area.
When you’re ready to pop off the skis for the day then start out at somewhere like The Marmot Arms or Loop Bar. Once the night is well underway then take your pick from one of the nightclubs.
To experience Tignes at its best for après ski, make sure you’re there for New Year’s Eve with their mammoth fireworks extravaganza.
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20. Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
You’ll find Sauze d’Oulx in the incredible Milky Way ski area that spans over the Italian border into France. Sauza d’Oulx is popular for great skiing but also plentiful cheap beer! It’s gaining quite a reputation as one of the best nightlife ski resorts based on more than a long-standing name alone.
As you finish on the slopes and head back to town, be sure to stop off at Ghost. If you don’t get stuck having a great time there then move on to Miravallino for some stomach lining fare. There’s often live music here to create a party vibe. Osteria dei Vagabondi is a popular bar and nightclub for later on. If you want a distinctly different and more intimate night then hire a glass igloo at the K2 hotel. Browse other hotels in Sauze d’Oulx.
Do you have a favourite ski resort for après? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on social media!
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