By Kelly J. Hayes By Kelly J. Hayes | November 28, 2022 | Food & Drink Lifestyle
First turns to final sips, here are our top bars and restaurants to toast to after a day on the slopes.
For some, skiing is about the thrill of that first turn. But for others, a perfect ski day begins when the first après-ski beer, cocktail or glass of wine is finally poured. Fortunately, in Aspen there are a plethora of ski-in bars and restaurants sitting slopeside at all four ski mountains. Just click your heels, leave your skis, and you’re into the party.
The most prized real estate in the ski world can be found at Aspen Mountain, and both sides of the base feature après hot spots. To the left of the Gondola sits the patio of the venerable Ajax Tavern. The quintessential Aspen post-ski day destination, you can actually ski to within shouting distance of your table. Hosting your ski gang? How about a magnum of Château d’Esclans Rock Angel rosé for the table? Oh, and truffle fries are a must.
Feeling en fuego after ripping down Ruthies? On the west side of the Gondola Plaza is Chica, the Aspen outpost of the Miami and Las Vegas faves, which feature Latin American menus. Try a glass of sangria with the happy hour wagyu birria tacos on the patio by the fire pit or a Del Maguey Chichicapa Negroni, which mixes mezcal into the classic Italian cocktail at the outdoor bar.
Prefer to toast to your ski success with a fine wine? Then The Wine Bar in The Little Nell is calling your name. Just steps from the slopes, the ultrachic and ultracozy space offers access to one of the best wine lists on planet Earth. By the glass or bottle service, making a selection from The Little Nell’s Wine Spectator Grand Award wine cellar can prove to be as much a challenge as skiing the Dumps.
Maybe the only thing better than conquering the G-zones in the Highland Bowl is bragging about it over a cold draft beer at a picnic table slopeside at the Highlands Ale House. With 16 tap beers, a gastropub menu and casual local vibe that harkens back to the earlier days of skiing, the Ale House is the place to tell your tall tales to a crowd of just-met friends.
At Buttermilk, even beginner skiers and snowboarders can experience the joy of après. After a first day on the slopes, nothing is better than skiing straight to Home Team BBQ for a rum-based Gamechanger frozen cocktail with a dash of nutmeg on top. And there will be buzz this season about the $23 million renovation of the Buttermilk base area, which includes the rebranded Buttermilk Mountain Lodge restaurant (formerly known as Bumps), and an expanded bar and slopeside outdoor patio aptly monikered The Backyard. Be the first to experience it.
Everything about Snowmass is bigger, beginning with the mountain. But at the bottom of the forever-runs, there are tiers for your après enjoyment. Start in the upper Village Mall at Venga Venga for some guacamole made tableside, accompanied by a fiery, serrano-infused reposado tequila-based Pepino Margarita with a Tajin rim. Then ski a little farther down to the Base Village, pick out an ice-rink-side table at the Limelight Snowmass and watch the skaters as you sip an Aspen 75, which marries Belvedere Vodka and Veuve Clicquot Champagne for a potent post-ski libation.
Photography by: Photo Courtesy of Ajax Tavern