The combination of alpine sport and cocktails may have first peaked in Austria. But New England boasts plenty of worthy après-ski destinations for those without the time or budget for a trip to the Alps.
Here are some snow country bars and pubs waiting to keep you just as entertained as the local slopes. Don’t worry, you’ll be welcome whether you carved turns or just cruised in for the party.
Sunday River, Maine
With a view of the slopes and night skiing on weekends, Sunday River’s Foggy Goggle has live music and dancing in ski boots (or sock feet) with ski paraphernalia decking the walls. And, of course, don’t forget the decadent nachos. Off mountain, the Matterhorn Ski Bar has a classic ski chalet vibe, local bands, wood-fired pizza and beer. You know you’re in the right place when you see Sunday River staff partying here.
Loyal locals ensure Sugarloaf has a lively après-ski scene. Start at The Bag and Kettle at the base of the slopes. It’s a Sugarloaf institution since 1969 for brews and beefy Bag Burgers. Off mountain, hit The Rack. At Seth Wescott’s BBQ barn, you’ll hear live bands and perhaps spot Maine’s favorite Olympic snowboarder chillin’ with his Winterstick bros.
With the nickname “Beast of the East,” you’d expect some wild après-ski action at Killington. After busting bumps on Bear Peak, enjoy beers at Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar at the base of the Superstar Trail. Umbrella bars are all the rage in Europe, and the Big K’s version is convertible for sunny spring ski days, enclosed when it’s chilly or snowy. Off mountain on Killington’s access road, the Wobbly Barn is a beastly choice for happy hour, live bands, and wobbly conversations with locals — a tradition since 1963.
Stowe has classy Vermont crafted cocktails and a view of the Spruce Peak Village at Hourglass Lounge in the upscale Stowe Mountain Lodge. For more local flavor, head to The Matterhorn Bar (no relation to Sunday River’s Matterhorn) just 2.5 miles down Mountain Road for music and sushi. The latter may seem weird in snow country Vermont — but The Horn is happening.
Jay Peak, Vermont
Jay Peak has three slope-side bars, all with slope views: The Tower Bar in the Tram Haus, The Foundry at Hotel Jay which is slightly more sophisticated, and The Bullwheel at Stateside. Or head to the wet and wild Pump House waterpark for drinks at The Drink overlooking the flow rider, waterslides, and hot tubs.
Sugarbush rocks après-ski at Castlerock Pub in Lincoln Peak Village. This is where the locals go after tearing up Slidebrook and Castlerock. Timbers offers more elegant après-ski in the beautiful post-and-beam round barn across the ski plaza. When you visit, try the Vermont charcuterie and cheese plate.
Burke Mountain’s Bear Den is humble, happy and historic. Located in the Mid Burke Lodge, this authentic lounge has a real fireplace and is loved by the locals. Tamarack at the lower mountain Sherburne Lodge has a rustic feel with pub fare, Vermont beers on tap, and a view of the bunny hill if your kids are still skiing or sledding during theme nights. The new Burke Mountain Hotel’s View Pub has a namesake view of beautiful Willoughby Gap, many Vermont beers on tap, TVs and a mod mountain vibe.
Attitash, New Hampshire
Attitash’s Ptarmigan Pub in the base lodge brings in live bands, has Tuckerman’s and Long Trail beers on tap, and party-loving pass holders and employees. Later, roll down to the Red Parka Pub on Route 302, prior to the turn to Wildcat. The RPP pumps out live music on weekends and hosts open mic nights featuring local talent at midweek. The 44th Red Parka Pub Challenge will take place on St Patrick’s Day. In Jackson, Shannon Door jams après-ski with music and a fun Irish atmosphere.
Cannon, New Hampshire
Cannon’s Cannonball Pub is loaded with vintage ski stuff, and some pretty old-school skiers on barstools too. Located in The Peabody Lodge at Cannon’s base, it offers a huge beer selection, live music, a friendly ski vibe with views up the hill.
Loon, New Hampshire
The birthplace of après-ski at Loon is Paul Bunyan’s in the Octagon Lodge by the Gondola. Here you can celebrate TGI Après, enjoy live bands, and a lineup of 24 beers — hence the need for their Sweet Time Mug Club. Off mountain, The Woodstock Inn Brewery is happening, especially when there’s live music. They’ve been brewing beers for 20 years, and some of the skiing locals have been there ever since.