Après ski: The short intense party between finishing your skiing and going back to the Chalet/Hotel for dinner. Usually littered with shots, large beers, jaeger bombs, and table dancing. We at Iglu believe you have to have your ski boots on for it to be considered après ski.
Just as important as skiing or snowboarding itself, après ski is a highly popular post ski activity usually from 3.30pm-6.30pm when you celebrate a great day of skiing with a group of mates; dance on bar tables whilst still wearing your ski gear and ski boots. Some resorts offer a more chilled après vibe, whilst others go all out with loud beats, cabaret dancers and lots of crowds all joining together for an atmosphere like no other. Getting the right vibe to your après ski can make or break your holiday. If you’re looking for the best resorts for great vibes, then keep reading!
Best Après Ski Holidays
Après ski is the most common question we get about resorts and I agree that it is an essential part of my ski experience. I may not want to party every afternoon, but when I do, I want very good music, cold beers, cheap shooters and the option of a sunny terrace. If it’s inclement weather then an indoor area with strong tables for dancing on with ski-boots and lots of alpine memorabilia and style will do.
In the Après-world, France has almost taken the reigns from Austria with the proliferation of Folie Douce like establishments popping up everywhere. The newest addition is in Avoriaz 1800, standing out with its loud music on the slopes but still blending in with the resorts dynamic architecture. Other great places are the 360° Bar in Val Thorens, the Pano Bar in Les Deux Alpes, and especially Cocoricos in Val d’Isére.
1. Val Thorens, France
The highest party town in the Alps
For a long time Val Thorens has been considered the poor cousin of its neighbours in upmarket Méribel and super expensive Courchevel but recent years have seen a transformation into a more mid-range resort. There are still the cheap and tiny apartments available but now there are luxury hotels, top quality chalets, upmarket self-catered apartments and Club Med Val Thorens Sensations, right in the centre of town. It’s a great resort for early or late snow due to its height.
The Folie Douce here is just above the town so everyone gets to do a short ski back down on wobbly legs. Although a smaller Folie, it has a charm which puts it among the finest après bars in the Tarentaise Vallée.
Down in town there are more bars than you can visit in a night and the après starts early. The Frog and Roast Beef is the highest pub in Europe and draws a UK crowd. The dutch bar, Cafe Snesko is the rowdiest and most fun bar on the strip if you can take the crowds. They set the ceiling and bar on fire later in the evening but the best time to go is from 6 to 8pm where the bar staff all get involved with singing along to classics like Robbie William's angels and Hey Jude by the Beatles whilst playing drinking games which is great entertainment! VT is also home to the largest nightclub in the Alps in Malaysia. It looks like a hut on the slope as it's all underground.
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360 Bar Val Thorens. Photo: Facebook (360BarValTho)
2. Les Deux Alpes, France
24/7 Ibiza (budget) party town
This big resort in the Grand Rouses mountain range has long been a favourite with the young crowd and offers an amazingly long season due to the huge glacier. There are 45 bars along the main drag and 8 night-clubs in Les Deux Alpes. That’s not much less than the entire Trois Vallées and more than Val d’Isére and Tignes added together. On the slopes there is the amazing and huge Pano Bar that gives the Folie Douces a run for their money, often packed out with many people bopping their heads to loud and heavy beats.
The beats are a bit dancier and recognisable and the crowd a little less reserved. After your Pano après session there are a series of bars at the foot of the slopes worth visiting. Just a little warning, the last run in to the resort called the Valentin is a serious run. Download on the Jandri Gondola if you’ve over-cooked it on Jaeger-Bombs. This direct Gondola access means injured or non-skiing friends can join you for lunch and après every day. At the foot of the slopes the Umbrella Bar is another great one. The giant Umbrella can be closed for really cold days and opened for the sunny ones.
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3. St. Anton, Austria
Ski hard, party harder
St Anton is renowned as the best in Austria but it is perhaps too popular and the famous piste-side bars are uncomfortably jammed to overflowing with plastered Brits, Dutch and Germans. It has fantastic off-piste routes like the Valluga and brings a lot of the best skiers in the world to party at the noisiest après ski bars in Austria.
For the best après ski moments, The Krazy Kangaruh is bonkers and not for those wanting a chilled après scene! Directly across the piste from the KK the Mooserwirt starts the party with ‘The Final Countdown’ at 3pm and then cranks out loud and cheesy Austro/German pop and gets the crowd into a table dancing frenzy. Just seeing the beer servers who carry up to 30 full size drinks on doubled up trays is worth the trip. Those guys are seriously strong. Also highly recommend the Heustadl for live music on the slopes. It’s in a perfect suntrap just before you get to the KK on the left.
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Mooserwirt, St Anton
4. Verbier, Switzerland
Ultimate après indulgence
Although it hosts some of the best après ski in Switzerland, it’s expensive. The Swiss Franc is on a roll right now and until it gets back to reasonable levels against the £ your après sessions are going bite like a Nile crocodile. Do as Seasonaires do and follow the happy hours around the village.
No visit to Verbier is complete without a session or two in the Pub Mont Fort, but the Farinet Bar is a favourite, with its sliding roof that opens to let the steam out when the party gets too hot. It’s an experience to remember when they open the roof when it’s snowing and you’re dancing to a Swedish cover band that is leading the shot taking between songs.
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5. Val d'Isere France
Glamorous and expensive, but worth every penny
Val d'Isere is Iglu Ski’s number 1 resort for sales and our staff love this resort. We can’t get enough of it. The skiing in the Espace Killy (linked with Tignes) offers easily accessible variety than any other in Europe. It has a very long season because it catches the storms as they hit the end of the Tarentaise Valley at the border with Italy. But what really sets it apart is the number of high quality bars on and off-piste.
The original Folie Douce offers a great afternoon’s entertainment on the mountain, accessible via the La Daille gondola (super handy to get back down into La Daille if you can’t face skiing back down!). If you’re heading down the slopes, then Cocoricos is the place to go for live music under bright fairy lights. There are countless bars in town such as the Petit Danois (après drink deals and 2 pool tables), The Morris Pub and The Underground (very French). The 2 biggest nightclubs are the legendary and original Dicks Tea Bar with a mainly UK crowd and Doudoune for a French crowd.
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6. Tignes, France
Après ski down to a T
Although Tignes is seen as Val d’Isere’s ‘ugly sister’, it has made a comeback in its après ski offerings with the opening of Tignes Cocorico in December 2018. It offers the same exciting open air après vibes seen in Val d’Isere, but now in Val Claret. Right next to the Grand Motte funicular, Tignes has really upped their game for easy access après ski and with its cheaper accommodation to Val d’Isere; it may have even stolen the Espace Killy limelight away from VD.
Other great après bars are the Loop Bar in Tignes Le Lac, a great sun spot in the late season and also Saloon Bar, The Marmot Arms, a favourite for good food and live music and Jack’s Bar for ultimate cheesey music.
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Loop Bar, Tignes. Photo: Facebook (Loop Bar)
7. Alpe d’Huez, France
Cheaper & Cheerful
There’s loads of bars in Alpe d'Huez to try, but no pub crawl would be complete without visiting O’Sharkeys, Smithy's, Sphere Bar, Etalon rum Bar and The Underground Bar. If you want to stay up until the sun rises then you’ll be at the Igloo Bar that gets crazier and crazier all the way until the 6am closing time.
For the ultimate on-the-mountain après it's got to be, of course, La Folie Douce. The huge mountain terrace has plenty of space to dance around in your ski boots and boasts spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. A favourite Folie location due to the one easy blue run back into town so you can party until the bar closes without panicking about making it back for last lifts or being stuck on the mountain.
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Folie Douce, Alpe d'Huez. Photo: Facebook (lafoliedouce.alpedhuez)
8. Ischgl, Austria
Upmarket 24/7 party town
Ischgl isn’t cheap compared to other Austrian resorts but it is still better value than some the big resorts of France and Switzerland. The Trofana Alm stakes a claim for the best après ski bar in the world. It encompasses everything you’d expect from that title- classic Tyrolean décor, cheesy German/Austrian songs and with silly dances that get everyone involved. You can also experience fantastic service from immensely strong waiters carrying trays of beers and shots. The Schatzi Bar offers the added bonus of traditional bar top dancing girls and more modern music. Lastly, the Kuhstall plays more English music and fills to the brim with the younger crowd, jumping in their boots to the latest hits.
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Kuhstall, Ischgl. Photo: Facebook (kuhstall.ischgl)
9. Livigno, Italy
Tax free party haven
Livigno is a shopper's paradise as well as an après ski hub. It has around 150 bars, which dwarfs any other ski resort in the world. Livigno has belonged to numerous countries and empires over the centuries and now has a distinctly Austrian vibe to it. The Kuhstall, Mikey's Pub, Gulliver Pub, the Echo Pub, and for cocktails, Jpioca, are all recommended.
Right in the centre of the pedestrianised area of Livigno is a bar with a unique charm. The Baita Del Ghet offers every customer their 1st drink free- every time you go there! Unsurprisingly it is extremely popular and worth heading to early. It has great food and it’s where the locals go with their families and even dogs.
10. Mayrhofen, Austria
Legendary Austrian charm
Offering fantastic pistes, peaks and parties, Mayrhofen provides the ultimate après ski experience in the Zillertal ski area. It offers varied après ski from chilled to lively bars and pubs. For those looking for a more traditional Austrian party vibe then Bruck n Stadl is the place to go. Its reasonably priced drinks and Europop tunes, makes for a crazy night out with endless dancing into the early hours of the morning. Its ideal location at the bottom of the Ahornbahn also means you won’t be skiing back down to the village!
Other recommendations are the Ice Bar for more Europop beats at the bottom of the Penken gondola and The Scotland Yard Pub for a more Austrian-English ambiance if you want to sing along to some more recognisable songs.
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Bruck'n Stadl, Mayrhofen. Photo: Facebook (Bruck'n Stadl in Mayrhofen im Zillertal)
We could go on on about the best après in more resorts but these are definitely great resorts to start with. They’ll most likely leave you feeling a little worse for wear the following morning but they’ll guarantee you ‘ll take away some unforgettable and possibly foggy memories!