Cheap ski holidays in hundreds of ski resorts worldwide.
The Three Valleys is the world's largest and arguably best-linked ski area, famed for playing host to everyone from Courchevel's Russian Oligarchs and Meribel's rockstars to Val Thorens' vibrant, orange-infused, Dutch week.
The Three Valleys offers a huge variety of terrain, resort atmosphere, accommodation, bars and restaurants. Some go for the celebrity spotting and boutique shopping, others for varied skiing and great off-piste, and not forgetting the famous and raucous après ski.
Now finding the right restaurant for a mountain lunch can be challenging across the Three Valleys. With Courchevel's bank busters to those run by friendly French patrons, who feel the need to finish off your slightly boozy lunch with their homemade genepy, to choose from. Whether you are a hardcore skier, a park rat or a fan of leisurely lunch, at some point you will be enjoying the array of cuisine and venues on offer.
I've had a few mixed experiences including drinking too much toffee vodka with the manager of the Skilodge in La Tania and realising I only had 90 minutes until the last lift into Val Thorens, where I was staying, to romantic lunches on Meribel Village's quaint terrace.
Of course I don't recommend drinking and skiing because that would be dangerous and irresponsible, but if you do enjoy a cheese-filled lunch with a glass of wine and sampling the local digestives, I do have a few favourites. Some I know by name, others by location (does anyone actually know the name of the restaurant with the big knife and folk sign in VT?).
If Savoie mountain food is your thing there are some great places to fill up on cheese and meat. Darbelo's hidden in the labyrinth streets on La Praz and offers perfectly cooked steaks and the infamous, and sometime dangerous, Mutzig beer on draft. At the top of the Menuires chair in Les Menuires there is a wonderful little family run restaurant, the name escapes me but the cheese based food, bright blue genepy and welcoming service make it worth a visit. The Adray Telebar in Meribel, set just below the Ronde Point de Pistes, offers a superb Savoyard specialties set in a traditional, rustic, mountain atmosphere, and it has a terrace with superb views, and it's an easy ski back into Meribel post-lunch.
If you are looking for a lively atmopshere, planning to write off your afternoon and you are staying nearby there are some great venues to spend white-out days or sunny afternoons. If you are in Courchevel the Skilodge is a great venue for both occasions. On sunny days the terrace has great views, and the bus runs to the other Courchevel resorts well into après ski o'clock, great for toffee vodka, big portions and live music. If Meribel is your venue then the Ronnie (Ronde Point) has to be top of the list, with a variety of food from relaxed table service to a hot dog and burger stand, again the Ronnie has great views, a truly huge terrace, and the cream of après ski live bands.
If someone else is paying then take a trip to the Chalet de Pierres, where Courchevel's skiing meets Parisienne gastronomy. This über luxury restaurant has a wine menu that requires a small mortgage, lavish decor and of course praise in the Michelin Guide for it's fine cuisine. If your credit cards can stretch to the bill you will find yourself rubbing shoulders with sports stars, entrepreneurs and their trophy wives. The wine won't give you a headache, but your bank manager might!
If a romantic lunch, drinking Rose and eating crostinis, great salads or stone-baked pizza sounds up your street head the Lodge du Village in Meribel Village. If stunning panoramic views are more to your partner's desire a glass of Apremont at the top the La Saulire always goes down a treat. The food is pretty good in either restaurant and if needed you can get the lift back down to either Meribel or Courchevel, if you over-indulge.
Not that I'm suggesting that skiers like a drink, but there is something about vin chaud and genepy on a cold Winters day or a post skiing glass of Rose in spring on the many sun terraces around that you just can't replicate at home.
Don't drink and ski, you could be a danger to yourself or others, and you may spill some.
The three most important seasons for most men are on the horizon. The football has started, with much excitement and anticipation after a summer of new players and managers arriving throughout the premiership. Rugby clubs are back in training, with Martin Johnson announcing that he now has the strongest selection of England players he's ever had to choose from. And last but by no means least the winter season is finally approaching, holidays are being booked and new kit is starting to hit the shops.
So with all this in mind I set to thinking about how I'm going to combine my favourite sports for my holiday to Meribel. I'll be arriving in resort a couple of hours before the England v France match, a game not to be missed. Also with Champions League games on mid week throughout the season, Monday night football back on Sky and those Premiership games on Sundays, I decided to compile a list of my top bars to watch the match on holiday.
Despite what people may think when it comes to watching football and rugby size doesn't necessarily matter. The important factors are: atmosphere, screens, beer, bar staff and the locals.
Atmosphere is always a biggie, whether the bar fits 50 or 500 people you want somewhere full of passionate fans, singing and of course the commentary. The only thing worse than listening to Brian Moore during the six nations, is well... not listening to him. I hate it when bars play music, we want to hear the commentary and the noise in the stadiums.
Screens are obviously paramount to watching the game. Now size here is important, but isn't the be all and end all. I would rather be in a pub with plenty of LCDs throughout the venue that you can see compared to one with an old projector or low quality screens. Obviously in the perfect world there would be an HD projector and a a handful for 32" HD TVs.
Beer, bar staff and locals are again essential. When in the Three Valleys or Val if you pop into the wrong bar you can find yourself paying €9 a pint. Also you are looking for a venue with friendly and welcoming staff and locals. There's nothing worse than being in a bar and feeling like you're not wanted.
Pub Le Skilodge, La Tania. Now the Skilodge may not be the largest pub in the Alps but it has to be my favourite place to watch the England v France Six Nations matches. Tim the owner is English and Tristan his right hand man is a Frenchie (well sort of). Cue lots of banter, drinking and an over exuberant set of celebrations when England win, and pretty much the same if they lose!
Pacific Bar, Val d'Isere. Again not one of the largest bars in the Alps but probably one of the most renowned for the footie. The mantra here is as many screens as possible. You'll find this place packed full of seasonaires and holiday makers alike cheering on their teams every week.
The Doron (The Pub), Meribel. As well as being a great venue for watching live music five nights a week the Doron is Meribel's best football bar. One of the largest in the list, the combination of the huge projector, countless screens and post-football bands makes for a great Champions League venue.
The Frog, Val Thorens. The Frog is a real local's pub. The owners are real characters, Duncan may not know a huge amount about either sport, but since they play rugby in Cornwall he's a big fan. The Six Nations are always a raucous affair, full of great banter and drinking, and the locals make the frog a great football pub. The highest pub in Europe definitely has one of the top atmospheres you'll find.
Scotty's, St. Anton. Located beneath the Chalet Hotel Rosanna is St. Anton's main British pub. The bar is an ex-pat haven, so expect big crowds for all the British football and rugby teams. Great atmosphere and cheap(ish) beer.
So there's my top five alpine bars to watch the match but wherever you're heading this winter there is bound to be a great bar showing your favourite team. Here are a few great venues that didn't quite make the list but are worth a mention.
If you have any other favourite venues or hidden gems drop me a message in the comments below, or post a comment on our Facebook or Twitter pages
First of all to follow on from The best Aprés Ski bar in the World? Part 1 I have to make a decision about my own preference and it's far tougher than I thought it would be. I keep remembering great times at so many bars. In Austria, the Ice Bar in Mayrhofen and the Krazy Kanguruh in St Anton are standouts. In Canada, Merlins on Blackcomb (Whistler) with Guitar Doug rocks. In France, the Rond Pointe of Méribel and in Switzerland the Aprés Ski bar in the Farinet in Verbier are greatly enhanced by the proliferation of uninhibited British customers 'on the lash'.
For the quality of music, the smoke flares, the flame throwing, the champagne splashing, the waffles, the DJ - David Dupenloup, and the incredible energy of Kely Starlight, the singing and dancing bar top host, it has to be La Folie Douce. This Val d'Isére bar, that is literally the French for sweet madness, just edges out the Krazy Kanguruh.
Secondly, after much deliberation and discussion here's what the Iglu team of experts came up with:
Bauer’s Skialm - Saalbach.
Indoor and outdoor bar areas, but inside is the place to be for the weirdest and wildest music and dancing. A real international crowd making the most of well-priced beers and shots for a torrid three hours: 4-7pm. - Boyd
Umbrella Bar - Santa Christina, Val Gardena
Euro pop, free shots, a fire-breathing bar tender and semi-naked dancing on the tables in ski boots combine to make some of the wildest après ski parties I've seen. It's only open from 4-8 but there aren't many people still able to stand up after that anyway... - James
Le Jump Bar - Courchevel 1850
If you feel that the combination of toffee and vodka is the best thing since sliced bread then this is where you need to be. If it wasn't for a slight uphill and small road you could ski into the front door. - Wade
Le Grotte du Yeti - Tignes
This is a
The Mooserwirt, St Anton
It's for those who want to express themselves by showing off their moves, grooving on the table with a drink in one hand, and an audience that appreciates the extrovert (Without the threat of a burly bouncer taking you out). - Nigel
Scotty's Bar - Tignes
Roaring fire and live music overlooking the heated pool outside. With some tasty bar snacks served if you get peckish. Low ceilings and wooden decor make this a traditional après experience! - Tom
MBC - Chamonix
Perfect place for massive portions of food after a day of skiing or whatever activity you are in Chamonix for. Well worth the walk out of town for one of their big tasty burgers and the fantastic beers brewed on the premises. Perfect for a good night out with a group of friends. - Jay (Cham Fanatic)
Smithy's Tavern - Les Deux Alpes
It's great fun, and serves the best hangover breakfast! - Esther
The infamous Dusty's in Whistler
It has everything you can ask for in an aprés ski bar. Ski to the door location, massive sun deck with BBQ's going in the afternoon. Pool tables inside and the whole bar is so spacious it can take a big crowd. The music, the food and the atmosphere are second to none. - Linda
Bar Le Monde in Val Thorens
Because... 'I love the barmaid'! - Nick J
Red Lion, Vail.
A perfect place to give it large in front of the soft Americans with their Miller Lights. The high altitude boozing promotes a real sense of euphoria. - Adam Calway
Seppi's bar - Kitzbuhel
Great music, icy cold lager, Jagermeisters and the chance you might run into the legendary party primate; 'Spank' the monkey... - Steve
The 'Après Ski Bar' part of the Farinet - Verbier
Total Carnage! Live bands about sixish every day, a roof that opens up occasionally to get rid of the steam, cheap lager and a raging mosh pit. Not a place for the faint hearted. It's starts early and goes very hard for just a few hours so get in straight off the slopes. - Scotty
Rond Point - Méribel
A great place after a day on the mountain. Whether you finish off when the crowds have gone home with a schuss from the top of the Saulire or emerge from the steeper and bumpier Meribel Couloir, where better than this. The talk is all about the day's exploits, everybody coming off the slopes can find it easily and the Live music means the hills really do come alive. - Thomas
The legendary Après Skihut in Rotterdam - Cynthia (you'd never guess she was Dutch)
Mooserwirt - St Anton
Exactly the same kind of atmosphere as the Folie Douce in Val D'Isere. Rather than playing funky house though, it ramps up at the start of the day with Europe 'the final countdown' and then rolls into a mix of euro pop and disco. Absolutely no posers here and with beautiful Austrian girls behind the bar & a seemingly endless supply of Jager Bombs, you can't go wrong! - Adam Clark (Iglu blading and monoboard specialist)
Bar Alexandra - Val d'Isére
One of the few places in Val that isn't rammed full of Henrys and Tarquins. This bar is underrated and away from the melee. Run by Val legend Kiwi Phil, the Alex is frequented mainly by French locals or those in the know. Rack up some pool, enjoy a Desperado, and listen to whatever hip hop or drum n bass cut of choice is playing that day. You can also grab some food in the adjoining 4 seasons, home to a tasty Thai curry. Done. - Dave
Pub Le Skilodge - La Tania
Après ski in the Skilodge is a pretty raucous affair. With a packed pub fuelled on toffee vodka, chartreuse and Mutzig, mixed with some of the best après ski bands in the alps and entertaining locals, anything can happen. Plus, where else in the 3 Valleys can you get a pint for under €5! - Stephen
Ice Bar - Mayrhofen
For those of you who cant get enough of your Dutch Hard House Umpa Lumpa anthems, start your night with ski boot stomping to those funny little dance routines, then the Ice Bar in Mayrhofen is the place for you. At the bottom of the main Penkenbahn gondola in the heart of the resort, this bar is said to have the largest turn over of Grolsch beer per night than any other place in Europe, and it shows as it gets pretty packed. Cool down by the beer spray....this place goes off! Damian
Krazy Kanguruh aka KK's - St Anton.
From the cute girls dressed in fluffy kangaroo outfits showing off their pouches, to the dirty dancing on the tables, I love it all! It can get quite cramped for space by 3pm but there is an awesome atmosphere in and outside, and whatever the time, it's always Jager bomb o'clock. - Nick HH
Darbelos - Courchevel Le Praz
The combination of 8% mutzig, open fires, savoyarde cheeses and weird local music acts is hard to resist. - Dave Mills
Feel free to send us your suggestions on the best apres ski bars on our twitter page.
Written by Adam Johnson
You do not currently have any holidays in your shortlist.
You currently have in your shortlist.
AAA Large Online Travel Agent of the Year 2013