Keep your boots on, drink some beer. Après Ski is a magical moment when your mind and muscles actually deserve a drink. Fortunately, there’s enough action happening off the slopes at Canada’s premier resorts to make Après-Ski an activity in itself. Here’s a snapshot from around the country of the best Apres ski in Canada.
Whistler-Blackcomb deserves its reputation as the best ski resort in North America, and not just because the Peak 2 Peak chair gives it double the skiable terrain than anywhere else. Conde Nast Traveller and Ski Magazine both reckon it’s got the best Après Ski in North America. During winter and summer, the Village bustles with more than 100 restaurants offering a variety of cuisine, and no shortage of nightlife. A staple is the Longhorn Saloon, located at the base of the main gondola. For over 25 years, it’s been an Après-Ski institution, with a casual atmosphere, bubbling with tales of the day’s epic runs. Adjacent to the Longhorn is the Garibaldi Lift Company, also known as the GLC. Its large, heated outdoor patio makes it perfect for people watching. Catch the Sunday Fire and Ice Show, featuring skiers and snowboarders flying through rings of fire. Popular with locals and seasonal Aussie workers, Merlin’s has nightly live music, bar-top dancing, and a gondola DJ booth suspended from the ceiling. Other popular bars include Dusty’s Bar & BBQ, and the family friendly Black’s Pub. If you’re hoping to see it all, consider hopping aboard the Whistler Club Crawl, taking place every Thursday and Saturday night. For $60, each “crawler” gets five drinks, dinner, and admission to and VIP treatment at the hottest nights in the village.
Banff-Lake Louise, AB
Three resorts – Lake Louise, Sunshine and Norquay – have banded together under one lift ticket, offering incredible runs inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Banff National Park. Start celebrating atop Lake Louise at the Powder Keg, always busy with a great beer selection and sky-high nachos. In Sunshine, famous for its champagne powder, Trapper Jerry’s is the old school Après Ski favourite. If you’re hungry, order the Rib Eye Stack or Lamb and Brie Burger inside the boutique lodge at the Chimney Corner. Still can’t shake the cold out your bones? Ask for a glass of Feuer Zangen Bowle – mulled wine infused with rum and flaming caramelized sugar. Norquay, which is located closest to the town of Banff, is the smallest of the resorts. Recuperate over beer and burgers at the Juniper Hotel on your way down, or continue into town to the Magpie and Stump, where you’ll want to sample the Bulldog, a classic marguerite mixed with Corona.
Mont Tremblant, QC
Mont Tremblant may be the best-known ski resort in eastern Canada, but its European-style pedestrian village also scores points with 38 restaurants and great nightlife. Bar Café d’Epoque is probably its best party destination, featuring a happy hour, a DJ and a large dance floor. Meanwhile, Ski Canada Magazine named Le P’tit Caribou the “Best Bar in Eastern Canada” and Forbes called it “4th best bar in the world.” Merci! If you’re looking to catch a hockey game after your day on the slopes, head over to Le Shack, with their big screen TV’s and casual dining. Beer connoisseurs might also want to check out Microbrasserie La Diable, which brews its offerings on-site.
Blue Mountain Resort, ON
Canada’s third busiest resort (after Whistler and Mont Tremblant) has several Après-Ski options. Grab a beer at the genuinely Irish Windy O’Neill’s Irish Pub in the Village Events Plaza, or join the lively atmosphere at Jozo’s Original Après in the Blue Mountain Inn. Once you’re warmed up, head over to Avalanche at Blue, where you’ll find DJs, a great sound and lighting system, nightly drink specials and “theme nights.” Rusty’s is another popular option, where you can catch a game at the sports bar, or try out dance moves with a live band or DJ, depending on the night. Twist Martini & Wine Lounge features a full continental menu, an extensive martini and wine list, and evenings with live DJ’s rocking out the dance floor.
Sun Peaks Resort, BC
Centrally located in BC, Sun Peaks is the third largest resort in Canada, with 122 runs and 11 lift chairs. Once you’ve covered all that, hit up the natural woods, oversized booths, and dance floor at MackDaddy’s, with its distinctly European-style lighting and atmosphere. Morrisey’s Public House, is relatively new to Sun Peaks and comes with the usual Après-Ski fixins – TV’s pool, trivia games, and comfort food. Mantle’s Lounge lets you experiment with exotic cocktails as well as offerings from regional microbrews micro wineries, best enjoyed with something from their delicious tapas bar.
Big White Ski Resort, BC
They say it’s all about the snow at Big White, and while the village isn’t very big, you can still relax your tired muscles with a cold one at over a dozen restaurants. One of the current faves is Flight Adventure, a slopeside hangout that features wines from the Okanagan Valley. Nearby, you might want to check out the Globe Café and Tapas Bar, for a more sociable Apres-Ski libation. As for nightlife, Ski Canada named Snowshoe Sam’s the #1 Ski Bar in the country. Sam’s includes DJs, live bands, games, and some of the best dining in the village, all in a great pub atmosphere. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, head to the huge stone fireplace at the Santé Bar, just steps from the main gondola. Finish up the day skiing and head to the Moose Lounge, for live music every day between 4pm – 6pm.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC
Revelstoke sits mostly under the radar as a fantastic little resort, with the continent’s highest lift-serviced vertical and a launch pad for some of the world’s best heli-skiing. Toast your day in the powder at The Last Drop, boasting the largest patio in Revelstoke, with great food served until midnight. There is also Wino: the Wine Bar, which is located at the base of the resort, featuring wines from around the area, as well as appetizers in a rustic setting. Five kilometers north of Revelstoke is the Great White North Bar & Grill, with a large menu and lounge. Grizzly Sports Bar & Grill features large screen TVs if you want to cheer for your hockey team back home.