While testing your skills on the slopes is definitely a good reason to book a ski holiday with your mates ASAP, there’s another pretty major one. Yep, we’re talking about that all-important après ski.
From boozy bars for shots and tabletop dancing to chilled out taverns for a glass of mulled wine, we’ve put together a list of our top ten ski resorts that are home to some of the best après ski in Europe.
1. St Anton, Austria
Located in the Tyrolean Alps, St Anton is legendary when it comes to snow sports. It’s the gateway to the huge Arlberg ski region that’s ideal for experienced skiers after a bit of challenge. When you’re not testing your skills on over 300km of marked ski runs, you’ll be looking for somewhere to let loose – and there’s plenty to tempt you in St Anton.
If you picture yourselves unclipping your skis and heading straight to the nearest bar, you’re in luck. St Anton is home to a few famous on-piste après venues, from the Mooserwirt that serves up refreshing beer and cheesy pop tunes to Underground on the Piste with its amazing happy hour - think free schnapps with every drink.
For a change of pace, head into town for après ski that lasts until the early hours. Start off with a few beers and good beats at Base Camp before heading to The Piccadilly Bar for some live music after 9pm. Staying out late? No all-nighter is complete without ending up in Postkeller next door for shots and dancing.
Consider booking at the beginning of the season for St Anton’s huge opening party. Music lovers shouldn’t miss the RTL-Après Ski Party at the Mooserwirt in December that draws world-class acts, while New Orleans Meets Snow is an amazing jazz festival in April.
2. Val d’Isère, France
One of the most popular – and most glamorous - resorts in Europe for British skiers has to be France’s Val d’Isère in the Espace Killy region. Its ski season runs longer than most, plus you’ll find runs for all levels and abilities. And when it comes to après, Val d’Isère can be pricey, but there’s something for everyone.
If you’re after a lively après ski experience, you can’t pass up a chance to pop into the original Folie Douce. The bar is located right on the mountain and it’s infamous for its parties that typically end up with punters dancing in ski boots on the tables. Outdoor Cocorico is also a great shout for live music and tasty pizzas to soak up your pints.
You’ll find a mix of chic cocktail bars and late-night music venues, more often than not with sets by top European DJs. Head to popular Le Petit Danois to make the most of its drinks deals or get your sports fix at the more relaxed Moris Pub. Nightclub Dick’s Tea Bar has been around since 1979 and is undoubtedly the place to be after dark.
3. Méribel, France
Nestled in the heart of the immense Trois Vallées ski region, Méribel lays claim to being one of the prettiest resorts in Europe thanks to charming chalets that line the mountainside. The après ski here isn’t quite as diverse as our first two picks but there are still some worthy contenders.
Ski right into Rond Point, Méribel’s best on-piste venue, that has a huge sun terrace and daily parties. Dance to the latest tunes or settle down with your favourite drink in the afternoon sun.
In the town itself, you’ll find a handful of venues with relaxed or rowdy vibes. Check out Doron Le Pub next to the town’s tourist office or stop off at friendly Jack’s Bar for decently priced homemade pizza and live music from 4pm onwards. After something more sophisticated? You can’t beat L’Abreuvoir for a crisp glass of wine.
4. Val Thorens, France
Often overshadowed by neighbouring Méribel, Val Thorens has been making waves in recent years for its pretty impressive après ski scene that’s the highest altitude in the region. From beach bars to massive nightclubs, here’s our top picks.
Val Thoren’s own Folie Douce is smaller than the original at Val d’Isère, but no less special thanks to panoramic views and DJs spinning tracks from multiple music genres. It’s found near the bottom of the slopes, so you’ll only have to ski a short way with your beer goggles on. 360 Bar is also a good shout – think beach bar vibes and a regular line-up of globally renowned musicians.
Off the slopes, start your evening off at rowdy Snesko for cheesy tunes or Frog & Roastbeef for a standard pub experience. A good night in Val Thorens should always end in Malaysia – it’s the biggest nightclub in the region and has a huge dancefloor.
360 hosts various events throughout the year, from Dagvindler Festival in March to the bar’s insane annual JBL Snow Party.
5. Les Deux Alpes
Les Deux Alpes in France’s Grand Rousses mountains typically attracts a younger crowd thanks in part to its seemingly endless après ski options. There are more bars here than in Tignes and Val d’Isère combined!
Pano Bar is the place to go for a drink and a dance on the slopes. The venue’s huge and the party starts at 3pm every afternoon with an eclectic mix of DJs, dancers and live musicians (including a resident saxophonist).
Where to start! You’ll find over 40 different bars and clubs in Les Deux Alpes, from long-running British-owned Smithy’s to fun La Grotte du Yeti. For a cosy boozer with mulled wine and craft beer on its menu, check out Polar Bear.
6. Alpe d’Huez, France
Also part of the Grande Rousses mountain range, Alpe d’Huez is a great all-rounder with its mix of gentle and tough ski runs. Those on a tighter budget will be glad to know that its buzzing après scene tends to be on the cheaper end of the scale.
Alpe d’Huez is also home to a branch of Folie Douce that boasts a huge outdoor terrace and a great atmosphere for early afternoon après. Bonus: it’s only a short ski down an easy blue run back into the town.
Off-piste there are countless bars to choose from for your après ski fix. Sphere Bar (owned by the same group as Val d’Isère’s Dick’s Tea Bar) always has the latest sports matches on its screen, while Smithy’s is known for its cheap jugs of booze and live music. Fancy dancing into the small hours? Head downstairs to Igloo Bar that doesn’t close its doors until sunrise.
Since March 2019, Alpe d’Huez has been the location of the epic Belgian-born Tomorrowland Winter music festival. If you like a good laugh, check out the resort’s International Comedy Film Festival in January.
7. Chamonix, France
Chamonix (just an hour from Geneva) is a hotspot for seasoned skiers, plus it boasts an unrivalled position at the base of Mont Blanc. The town itself is huge and home to some of the best après ski in Europe.
Due to the town’s sheer size and endless nightlife, the pistes are pretty sparse when it comes to après ski. Thankfully, you’ll find yet another Folie Douce (part of a hotel) at the bottom of the slopes, perfect for a pitstop on your way back to the resort.
If you’re after a big night out, head to Chambre Neuf inside the Hotel Gustavia for live rock music and a packed dancefloor. More relaxed groups might prefer classier Le Social Club on Rue de Moulin that serves up cocktails and cool sets from resident and guest DJs. Rum your tipple of choice? Definitely hunt down Barberousse, a pirate themed bar with over 30 different varieties.
8. Mayrhofen, Austria
If you’re more interested in the après than the skiing (although that’s great, too) you’ve come to the right place with Mayrhofen. It’s one of the liveliest resorts in the Alps, with dozens of bars located on its slopes.
You’ll be spoilt for choice by Mayrhofen’s on-piste bars. Start your afternoon off by heading to the top of the Penken Gondola and into Elchbar for a bite to eat and drinks with stunning mountain views. At the bottom of the gondola is where you’ll find Ice Bar, Mayrhofen’s most popular on-piste drinking hole that blasts out guilty pleasure Europop tunes all evening long.
Down in Mayrhofen itself, there’s over 30 different après ski venues to try out. The Scotland Yard Pub is ideal for a few pints and a game of darts, while Brück'n Stadl is a more authentically Austrian venue with some great in-house DJs. For something unique, try out The White Lounge, a huge igloo bar with candlelit outdoor seating and great party nights.
If you’re in Mayrhofen at the end of the winter season, don’t miss Snowbombing music festival that’s made up of street parties, forest raves and big performances from major artists.
9. Ischgl, Austria
Ischgl may be a bit pricier than Mayrhofen, but its après ski scene is hard to beat. Often described as the ‘Ibiza of the Alps’, it offers up everything from cosy champagne bars to wild clubs where the music never stops.
Warm up after a morning on the slopes at Schatzi, a chalet bar that’s part of the Elizabeth Hotel at the exit of the main run. It’s best known for its friendly atmosphere and dancing girls dressed in dirndls.
You can’t visit Ischgl without going into Trofana Alm. Found in the heart of the town inside a big two storey barn, it’s famed for its great service and cheesy Austrian and German music. Busy and bustling boozer Kuhstall is also a worthy contender for late night après, while The Golden Eagle pub is a favourite of Brits.
Ischgl’s Top of the Mountain festival at the beginning and end of the season is legendary, with past performers including The Killers, Rihanna and Elton John.
10. Pas de la Casa, Andorra
Our only pick that’s not in the Alps is Pas de la Casa in Andorra. It’s part of the extensive Grandvalira ski region in the Pyrenees and is a great option for those after an affordable, no-frills ski break. The best bit? Pas de la Casa’s après is rowdy and very reasonably priced, whether you want cocktails or some ice-cold beers.
You’ll spot the space-age exteriors of Coll Blanc at the top of the TS26 lift from a mile off. It’s more of a laid-back lunch venue in the early afternoon, but DJs start spinning tracks from 4pm.
Whether you’re after live music to dance to or you want to catch the latest football match, Paddy’s Bar always has something going on. For a taste of home, duck into Underground Bar & Grill (its exterior looks like a London tube station) for pints and tasty pub-style grub. Bilbord nightclub is one of the best off-piste party venues in Pas de la Casa that’s open from 11pm until late.
The annual Hibernation Festival in March is a must for electronic music fans.
Ski trips handled
Like the sound of one the party resorts above? Book you and your mates onto a ski trip of a lifetime with help from our experts. From accommodation to après ski, we’ve got you covered.