From a brand new Snow Lodge and a sexy new speakeasy to slope-side sips in an Alps style ski-chalet, here’s where to après with the best them all season long.
Après-ski — whose literal translation from French means after-ski — has long been as a time-honored tradition in ski destinations around the world.
Believed to have originated in the French Alps circa the 1950’s — today, to après (as those in the know are inclined to call it) is to indulge in a cultural pastime that’s as much an experience as it is an excuse to slurp up fondue and throw a few back after a day on the slopes.
And in a little place called Aspen, there’s no shortage of après ski spots to choose from.
In fact this humble village high up in the Rocky Mountains has not only perfected the craft of après over the years, but it’s widely considered one of the best places in the country, if not the world to experience it.
While the après scene might be a pared down version of what it’s been in years past in in light of the ongoing pandemic (proof of vaccination is required for entry into most establishments in Aspen) from a sexy new speakeasy that just opened at Hotel Jerome and a buzzy new Snow Lodge Supper Club at The St. Regis, here’s how to après in style all season long in Aspen this season.
French Alpine Bistro
Smack dab in the heart of Aspen village, French Alpine Bistro continues to serve up some of the best raclette and French-alpine vibes in town.
Complete with furry blankets, vintage paintings and an enviable wine list, between the dimly lit and oh so enchanting indoor dining room and heated sidewalk chalet, both settings will transport you to a cozy après in the French Alps. For something warm and hearty, the boeuf bourguignon and duck cassoulet are out of this world and not to be missed is the fondue plate topped with freshly shaved black truffle paired with some Austrian glühwein (mulled wine) will take you straight across the finish line.
The Snow Lodge At St. Regis Aspen
Fresh on the après scene this year, The Snow Lodge opened this month just in time for the 2022 season. Inspired by Montauk, New York’s buzzy Surf Lodge, this chic winter outpost is set directly at the foot of Aspen mountain in The St. Regis Aspen.
The supper club meets après-ski setting features a mix of deep velvets and local art sourced from Aspen’s galleries along with an artist in residence program and two distinct spaces including the restaurant and lounge. With food options ranging from burrata with tomatoes and a homemade pasta menu featuring Chef’s signature Foie gras ravioli with seared diver scallops and desserts like the chocolate globe, tiramisu, and passion fruit explosions, this spot will no doubt become a staple on the après scene this year.
Lounge and après ski reservations here
J Bar at Hotel Jerome
It’s tough to choose favorites in a place like Aspen, but J Bar at Hotel Jerome is widely considered one of the spots in town. That’s because this cozy après hang has a long and storied history in Aspen life, including, among other things, being the former stomping ground of one of Aspen’s most notorious residents, Hunter S. Thompson.
Beyond J-Bar’s historical charm and low-key atmosphere along with an the excellent selection of hand-crafted cocktails and what’s considered one of the best burgers in the village, this inviting space is just a great place to sit and soak it all in after a long day of skiing.
If you’re looking to kick the party up a notch, Bad Harriet opened earlier this month as the new resident bespoke cocktail experience in town.
Nestled beneath the historic Aspen Times building, this speakeasy-style cocktail lounge features a refined menu of vintage libations, small bites and library of Cru’s all under the care of the hotel’s master alchemists.
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro
For a slice of Switzerland high up in the Rocky Mountains, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro has long been beloved by locals and visitors for their raclette and bacchanalian après ski scene.
Set is a Swiss-style chalet at the top of the Cloud Nine ski lift on the Aspen Highlands ski area, the Bistro is only accessible by ski or snowcat and while the traditional alpine atmosphere might be a touch toned down this year in light of current Covid protocols and precautions, the fondue, apple strudel and champagne menu are back and better than ever.
For something truly special, Snowcat Dinners at the Bistro starts with a hot chocolate and a shot of Schnapps before the roughly 30-minute snowcat ride up the mountain. Bundle up, ski bunnies.
Located at the base of Aspen Mountain inside The Little Nell, Ajax Tavern is a popular spot for lunch or après to enjoy a glass of champagne and their house specialties including truffle fries and waygu double cheeseburger.
In years past, live music starts when the slopes close and the party continues at the swanky and recently renovated Wine Bar at the Little Nell.
Aspen’s Limelight Hotel has undergone a major renovation in advance of the 2021-2022 winter season, and from everyday from 3-5pm, Limelight Lounge’s Happy Hour is a great place to post up and enjoy some nosh including their wood-fired pizza and of course a signature cocktail or two.
The hotel’s outdoor fire-pits and oversized heat lamps are a great way to take the party alfresco as you watch the snow fall over Aspen mountain.
With locations in Miami and Las Vegas, Chica opened at the Residences at the Little Nell in December, and directly adjacent to the Silver Queen Gondola at the base of Aspen Mountain and is already primed to be one of the hottest spots in town this season.
Not to be missed are Celebrity Chef Lorena Garcia’s bold menu of flavors featuring Latin American cuisine combined with a dynamic wine and mixology program. Chica’s designated Après Ski menu features a mix of spirit-forward cocktails like the Black Truffle Old Fashioned and Pumpkin Spiced Vegan Nog and hearty mains including Venezuelan Braised Short Ribs and Crispy Peruvian Octopus.
Alpin Room in Snowmass
With a menu that draws its influence from the mountain dining traditions found in the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps, at an elevation of nearly 10,500 feet, Alpin Room at the top of Alpine Springs lift in Snowmass is the long anticipated newbie to the scene this year.
Coming in hot with sharable options ranging from handmade Alsatian style beignets to the Tartiflette — a caramelized onion fondue — heartier options include Bavarian classics like chicken schnitzel with frisée salad and not to be missed is the homemade black forest tart and cinnamon carrot cake best paired with a glass of wine or cocktail before you ski (responsibly) down.