Post-Run Fun: The Essential Après-Ski Guide
From craft cocktails and specially curated menus to tubing, these end-of-day entertainment options suit all manner of skiers.
All good things must come to an end – unless you’re skiing, that is. The last run of the day is just the beginning of your evening or, let’s be honest, afternoon, as the powder and trails give way to the world of après-ski – available to all, even (and especially) those who choose not to venture onto the hill.
At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler – with its legendary Spa and unmatched dining – fun off the slopes might include a visit to the cosy SIDECUT Bar. Guests can nestle in before a roaring fire while Lead Bartender Rob Kharazmi serves up a Black Bear, a Canadian cocktail made with black-spiced rum, espresso and maple whiskey and topped with house-made spiced butter rum.
“It’s one of our essential Winter Warmers,” he says. “When you think of winter you think of darker liquors, of spices. It’s also the perfect après drink after a long day on the mountain. It warms you up but also wakes you up.”
And while a drink by the fire, feet up, might be the traditional après experience, heart-warming cocktails are just the beginning. A host of other post-run activities are likely to appeal not only to cocktail and wine lovers, but also to families and those seeking luxury or outdoor fun. In other words, all levels are welcome; no instructors required.
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While the adults unwind over Kharazmi’s sweet and savoury sips, younger skiers can indulge in fireside s’mores in the Four Seasons Whistler courtyard while cavorting with the Resort’s resident pet, Maola, a playful Alaskan malamute. She’ll happily chase snowballs and help kids make snow angels.
Also, the arrival of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler continues to pay dividends: The rink at Olympic Plaza is the ideal place to skate as a family (yes, they have rentals) or let the kids burn off more energy. If something less aerobic appeals, visit the Audain Art Museum, specializing in art from the First Nations of British Columbia. The award-winning design of the museum, by John Patkau, is visually arresting in and of itself.
Families at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail can cap off their day with tubing at Adventure Ridge, the Resort’s mountaintop activity centre. There, says Concierge Matt Wilson, “all ages are welcome to take in views of the surrounding mountains as they slide down the slope. Afterwards, ride the lift part of the way down for a stop at nearby Bistro 14, in the heart of the Sawatch.”
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The Haute Savoie is famous for two of France’s most romantic exports, wine and cheese, particularly the ultra-creamy Robluchon. But it was the views of the Auvergne-Rhône Alps that attracted Baroness Noémie de Rothschild to Megève, acting on a tip from her ski instructor, and inspired her to build it into a sporting destination.
There’s no better place to take in those panoramas than Four Seasons Resort Megève. Soak up the scenery, then abscond to the 9,687-square-foot (900 square metres) Spa with a heated indoor-outdoor pool and six treatment rooms. The couples-only Ultimate Suite Experience includes body exfoliation, an algae or mud wrap, a scalp massage and an aromatherapy massage in a private room with a bathtub. “Afterwards,” says Aurore Franquin, the Resort’s Director of Marketing, “guests can unwind in their rooms next to a log fire in their in-suite fireplace, prepared every afternoon by a valet.” Or venture to Les Cinq Rues, one of the oldest jazz clubs outside of Paris. If private dining is more your speed, make reservations at Domaine de la Sasse. The 20-minute starlit walk is a charming prelude to the exquisite tasting menu, which invariably includes the chef’s specialty, bison.
But you don’t need the Alps or age-old European locales to locate some time together. In Jackson Hole, a pair can happily slip away from the bar scene to a more subdued whiskey-tasting session, led by Wyoming Whiskey at the Old Yellowstone Garage. Or check out the superb wildlife renderings of Amy Ringholz, whose installations featuring Jackson Hole’s iconic fauna adorn the walls of Ascent Lounge at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole. Ask the staff about visiting Ringholz’s studio for a painting excursion – or about new skis made locally by Sego Ski Company and adorned with wildlife images Ringholz designed especially for Four Seasons guests.
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Hard-core shredders and skiers alike need to refuel after a long day of challenging runs. On Wednesdays at The Handle Bar at Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Head Chef Michael Lishchynsky and celebrity Chef Michael Mina use Japanese techniques and traditional ingredients to create ramen with a West Coast spin. Also on offer: a selection of Japanese beers, togarashi edamame, gochujang fried chicken and fried banana lumpia.
“It brings that big city underground ramen pop-up to a small mountain town,” Lishchynsky says. “You come into what looks like a gastro pub, and then get to the back room where there are kung fu movies and old-school hip-hop playing.” Choose from the menu of house-made dim sum and savoury ramen, paired with one of the specialty cocktails.
Those in search of traditional mountain fare need look no further than The Remedy Bar at Four Seasons Vail. There, hungry skiers can enjoy Après Game Night, where hearty foods like elk sliders and venison chile are presented alongside classic board games.
“It’s the perfect way to unwind after a day on the slopes,” says Bar Manager Aaron Rotrovato. “We’ll also be roasting chestnuts by The Remedy’s outdoor fire pits this December. Complete with breathtaking views of Vail Mountain, this experience is certain to bring back nostalgic childhood memories. Of course, après isn’t complete without live music, which we offer several nights a week.”
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It may be time to rest your quads, but that doesn’t mean you’ll close your eyes. Whistler, Vail, Megève and Jackson Hole have world-famous après-ski scenes that set the standard, each in its own unique fashion. The Longhorn Saloon & Grill, at the base of Whistler, has a giant patio to soak up the afternoon sun, and camaraderie with your fellow skiers, over a few Kokanee brews or margaritas. Sushi Village is a similarly festive option, where you can pair your Coast Mountain craft beer or warm sake and a handroll made with BC shrimp.
Over in Jackson Hole, there is perhaps no more quintessential ski town bar than the Mangy Moose, right down to the license plates on the wall. The lively après scene, complete with live music and chicken wings, commences at 4:30 pm and goes late, giving you ample time to take it all in.
For the French Alps version, head to Megève’s La Folie Douce, located at the height of one of the lifts, Télésiège Mont Joux. Here, cold hands and bellies are warmed by mulled wine, or vin chaud. It’s a more sophisticated scene for sure, but still quite the party on the piste.