Ask anyone who goes on regular skiing holidays to name the best thing about them and apart from the snow, they’d probably say the après ski. French for ‘after’, après translates to drinks and partying in the skiing world. More specifically in Whistler, Canada, where I am, it translates to craft beer, nachos and wings.
Why is après so good? Picture this: it’s a bluebird day, the sun is shining, the snow is fresh and you’re with your friends and family shredding on the mountain. Eventually the time comes when the lifts close, the lift operators start to pack down their mazes but you’re not quite ready to go home; you want to continue the fun. This is where après comes in.
In Europe, après ski is wild. Think dancing on the tables, champagne flowing, special guests, world-renowned DJ’s and competitions. In places like Val d’Isère - the liveliest of the French resorts - you’ll find on-mountain parties at La Folie Douce which houses DJ’s, live music and cabaret entertainment on an open terrace all afternoon.
In Whistler, it’s a little different. Après is huge every day of the week and there’s something for everyone but because we’re in North America, rules and regulations mean it’s tamer than its European neighbours but you can always count on particular days and weeks of the year for things to get out of control like Australia Day, Martin Luther King Weekend and Gay Pride Ski Festival.
For anyone heading to Whistler I’ve picked my top 5 favourite hangouts!
Après Ski Ideas
- Dubh Linn Gate - This Irish bar is the closest thing you’ll get to a proper pub in Whistler and does great food. Guinness on tap and Magners cider coupled with darts and a live Irish band most afternoons and evenings make it my absolute favourite spot.
- Beacon Pub - A chilled out, smaller pub, Beacon is popular with locals. It has some good happy hours, a good range of drinks and free pool.
- Longhorns - Always busy, this one sits at the bottom of Whistler mountain in the village. It has a large outdoor patio with fire pits at some tables, outdoor TVs showing sports and is known for its lively atmosphere.
- Crystal Bar and Lounge is somewhat of a secret locals hangout. It’s tucked away so is overlooked by a lot of tourists but this means it has a good vibe because it’s not packed to the brim with out-of-towners. Happy hour is always varied and 35 cent wings mean everyone has a good time. On Tuesdays you can also take part in karaoke, or watch from afar if you haven’t had enough to drink.
- Garibaldi Lift Company (GLC) - another Whistler village hangout, GLC has just expanded its outdoor patio area to include fire pits and lots more seating. There’s also a DJ booth outside so is always pretty lively. The food is pretty great too.
Other spots to check out include Dusty’s in Creekside village, Fitzsimmons Pub in Upper Village, Brandy’s Sports Bar and Brickworks pub. Each week there’s also a huge Swedish Party at Cinnamon Bear Bar and Grill
(affectionately known as ‘Cinnie Bear’ to us locals) with a band, DJ and great happy hour prices.
And remember, après isn’t après without a ski shot. Now, let’s hit the slopes!
By Rachael from Hilltopsandflipflops.com
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