After a full day on the slopes, my top priority is to find a sunny spot to sit, kick off my ski boots, and enjoy après ski food and drinks with my friends and family. Luckily for me, Colorado ski areas offer a wide variety of options for early evening indulging with great food, drinks and lively atmosphere. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite stand-out après ski menu items below, in case you haven’t had the chance to try them yet.
A Beer Made Special for a Colorado Ski Area. Several ski areas have partnered with local breweries to create custom-made beers, perfect for relaxing after a long day of skiing and riding. Highlights include Loveland Ski Area’s Bernese Mountain Brown Ale by Guanella Pass Brewery, Cooper’s Kerrigan Irish Stout by Dillon Dam Brewery, Monarch’s Throwback Red Ale by Elevation Beer Company, and Sunlight’s Sunny Pop Craft Soda by Tommyknocker Brewery. There are no shortage of great beers at ski areas across the state, and there’s something special about sipping a special beer that you can only get in one place.
Mountaintop Après at Winter Park. Every Friday and Saturday, Winter Park offers a unique alpenglow après ski experience at Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge, complete with cocktails, live music, and incredible views at 10,700 feet. If you load the gondola after 4pm, there’s no lift ticket required. And a wonderful bonus from the Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge – From 9am-4pm during the winter season, they also offer a Choose Your Own Adventure Mimosa Bar.
Echo Mountain’s 2 Mile Pie. The closest ski area to Denver has a new pizza truck, parked at 10,560 ft. above sea level (aka Two Miles High), serving delicious pizza for a slopeside treat. Also at Echo, Brother’s Grille offers soups and salads, sammies and burgers, plus draft beer, wine and cocktails. I’m partial to the Echo Hot Chocolate, because hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps is the best way to warm up on a winter day.
Elk Camp at Aspen Snowmass. Located atop the Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass, this is the best place to enjoy a casual, on-mountain après ski scene complete with a heated sunny outdoor deck and a cozy indoor fireplace. I like to pair my cocktails with the artisan hand-tossed pizzas. Don’t miss Ullr Nights, a nighttime, winter wonderland party with winter activities like tubing, riding the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, snowbiking, s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire.
The Taco Beast at Steamboat. This unique, on-mountain roaming snowcat serves four types of trail tacos. You can snag food and drinks five days a week, from 11am – 2pm (or until sold out). This might not be within traditional après ski hours, but I’m always inclined to find the Taco Beast at lunchtime – or else call it a day a little early to enjoy some Beef Barbacoa tacos and a beer or two.
The World-Renowned Bacon Bloody Mary at Arapahoe Basin. This is an après ski item – or a breakfast beverage – that draws a crowd from far and wide. Arapahoe Basin’s 6th Alley Bar & Grill, located in the base area, offers indoor and outdoor dining with mountain views and some of the best après ski atmosphere you’ll find in Colorado. Pair your Bacon Bloody Mary with the nachos or the pork brisket and thank me later.
Kathryn Robinson is a professional communicator at the intersection of the outdoor industry and higher education. After transplanting to Colorado from Florida, she learned to ski for the first time in her early twenties and never looked back. When she’s not on the slopes, she’s working with the Outdoor Recreation Economy program at CU Boulder, hiking, kayaking, or spending time with her family.