There is no doubt that après-ski is a big part of the allure of a ski holiday. For a week of freedom from work, you are going to the mountains, soaring down the slopes, and partying in the piste-side bars. Europe is host to some of the best après-ski in the world. In the top three countries are Austria, France, and Italy!
We are big fans of the après resorts straight off the slopes where you can start at lunchtime if you fancy it. After a day’s skiing, there’s nothing better than letting off a little steam as massive trays of beers float in hard-partying Austria. But it’s not until midnight that some resorts come alive.
Where are the top three après ski resorts in Europe?
St Anton, Austria
St Anton is by far the biggest name on the scene when it comes to après. Austria is the birthplace of skiing, and the king of slope-side parties is St Anton.
For the best après skis, the resort regularly tops international lists, and for good reason. With the piste-side bars kicking off just before the lifts close, drinking is a lifestyle here. It’s a big ski area that draws enthusiastic skiers who ski hard and party just as hard afterward. The famous open-air bars with pounding music are Krazy Kangaruh and Mooserwirt, and even the servers at the Mooserwirt are excellent with double trays stacked high with big beer stones carried one-handed through the crowds. But head to the base of the slopes, and at Basecamp, you can find a favourite, a bustling umbrella bar with lots of live music and maybe a little more space.
You can’t beat the Underground if you are looking for something a bit different than table dancing in your ski boots. When the music begins and the maracas are handed round, you will be stuffed full of delicious fondue. It’s a raucous cheese, wine, and song night that you won’t forget.
Val Thorens, France
The highest resort in Europe is home to the highest open-air club in Europe, and that’s just the beginning of the scene here. Val Thorens, long seen as Meribel and Courchevel’s noisy neighbour, has come a long way from inexpensive university trips and young farmers’ parties. The group has been lifted a notch by a host of luxurious hotels, apartments and chalets, becoming one of France’s favourite locations.
High above the area, the Folie Douce is where the party begins with spectacular views down the valley. It’s a smaller Folie than Val d’Isere, but this makes the group spilling out on the slopes above even more vibrant. If you go to Malaysia, the largest underground club the mountains have to offer; it’s a hectic ski back to town where the après scene can continue until the early hours. The Frog and Roast Beef is the highest pub in Europe and is a lively destination straight from the slopes, but without a classic sing-along at Cafe Snesko, no après-ski afternoon is enough.
Sauze d’Oulx, Italy
The two resorts above, Sauze d’Oulx includes fewer of the all-out party scenes. A perfect blend of bustling bars and sophisticated venues, all with a lot of style in Italy. The days of a hectic bar crawl and never reaching the slopes before midday are long gone. Now it’s much calmer, but there’s still a lot of buzz.
Prices remain very inexpensive, and drinks also come with free snacks. The party starts on the Sportinina slopes and continues back to town with a wide variety of bars and pubs in the middle of the village.
Until skiing down to the village, Capanna Million begins dancing on the sun terrace with warming bombardinos. Ghost is the spot to be at the slopes’ base.