Après ski parties have a reputation for being wild and memorable, and some resorts attract the party crowd more than others. Every magazine and ski website out there has a list of the best party resorts in the mountains, but how many of the writers have actually been to all of the resorts they list?
Several people have been asking us about the top party ski resorts in Europe of late. So, instead of listing the same top five as everyone else, we asked our season-worker friends, who together have collective experience in dozens of resorts, for their insider knowledge. Here’s what they came up with.
Best après in the Three Valleys, France
With a strong Scandi influence, Val Thorens’ après scene starts from the moment you’re on the chairlift over Club Med. The beats pump all day long and there’s plenty of live music into the evening too.
Le Rond Point in Méribel has the perfect drinks terrace overlooking the pistes – it’s accessible by ski, bubble and road, so everyone can join in. La Folie Douce arrived on the piste here a few years ago, and with lots of bars dotted around town, revellers are spoilt for choice.
Courchevel is of course a classic and one of the cornerstones of skiing in the Alps… However, beware of the sometimes wince-inducing prices for drinks and the possibility of being crowded out by Russians. Despite, and perhaps because of this, après ski here is legendary – an experience not to missed.
And the rest of France…
Val D’Isere is home to the original Dick’s Tea Bar, as well as many other bars both on and off the piste. But beware, says Griff: “It’s a tad too elitist in the best bars and quite tribal; if you haven’t been going there all season, you may be treated differently.”
Although the ski area in Chamonix is disjointed, the town centre is one big party. Sunny terraces and both big and small bars mean there’s something here to suit everyone.
Les Deux Alpes
A popular British hangout, Les Deux Alpes is home to the French version of US TV show Cops, showing the drunken (and sometimes worryingly sober) antics of partygoers. Rob says: “The most consistently drunk I’ve ever been has been in Les Deux Alpes.” And he’s been back for more, many times over.
Après in Austria
Austria tops many lists for the sheer enthusiasm of the parties and the irresistible, thigh-slapping charms of the Oompah. It’s one of our favourites too…
Dave says of St Anton: “Après ski is mainly located on the mountain, and should you choose to, you can ski (or wobble) back to town afterwards. The main spots are Krazy Kanguruh, probably the world’s first après ski bar from the 60s; Mooserwirt, rumoured to sell more beer in winter than any bar in Austria in an entire year; and Taps, a favourite for locals, ski instructors and chalet workers. All located within barely a ski turn of each other, there’s only one way things can go afterwards — downhill.” Be warned, the steep ski home in the dark isn’t recommended for beginners, or for the faint-hearted.
Ischgl remains relatively untapped by the British market, but the rest of the world is already there. Bryony says: “Après ski isn’t just going for a drink, it’s a whole experience. Ischgl is epic, and on a par with St Anton. I’ve also had mental times in little resorts like Ellmau and Soll, doing the locomotion round the hotel kitchen with 50 other drunk people and dancing on tables by 3.30pm.” Oh yes.
Last, but not least…
Kate says: “Livigno is great for those who get bored easily and like to bar hop: a week is not long enough to sample every bar in town, no matter how hard you try — and believe me, I really tried.”
So that’s it. Ciao ragazzi, now go forth and find your ultimate après…