Best Ski Resorts for Nightlife
May 29, 2020
There are two types of skiers; those who like to celebrate a day on the slopes with a nice soak in the spa and relaxing night in, and those who love to celebrate well into the evening. If skiing isn't enough to exhaust you, then the famous ski resort bars and nightclubs are sure to cater to those who seek a little a bit of after-dark action. Here are Scout's picks for the best ski resorts for nightlife.
There is no better place to dance the night away after a long day on the slopes than Aspen. Downtown Aspen boasts some of the best bars and nightclubs of any ski resort, and definitely lives up to its reputation as being THE place to party in Colorado. See a live local band at the famous Belly-Up Aspen, or take a step back in time with a visit to the sultry underground 1920s speak-easy, Bad Harriet. No matter where you choose, there is a bar for everyone, kicking on with plenty of tunes and martinis till all hours of the morning.
Vail is often renowned for being the ski resort that never sleeps, and it's no wonder why. With endless bars and restaurants to choose from, it's almost hard to visit them all during your ski vacation! Plus there is something for everyone - from the lively entertainment at the Red Lion and sports-bar vibes at Garfinkel's, to the super cool upscale Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons, and down-to-earth homely Bart & Yeti's. Most are within stumbling distance of some of our favourite hotels, so easy to get home well before they call last drinks!
If the skiing isn’t enough to exhaust you at Whistler Blackcomb, then the famous party scene will. After-dark funsters let rip at the many and excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and the best part is, they're all within walking distance of each other. We’re not sure where they get the energy, but the parties go late and they go hard. Light up your evening with some live music, a Karaoke competitions, or an international DJ dance-fest, or sit back and relax with a crafted cocktail or martini. No matter what you choose, a memorable evening is guaranteed.
Buckle up those boots and grab those cowboy hats... it's party time in Jackson Hole! Skiers can choose between the lively mountain Teton Village area for a tipple or two, or head into the nearby town of Jackson for a true local's experience. Catering to all types of party animals, there is a range of offerings; go saloon dancing and take in some live music at the Mangy Moose, or stumble into a true-blue American beer hall for a night of whiskey tasting. No matter what you choose, a night on the town MUST include a stop at local institution, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Giddy up!
Disclaimer: a night on the town at Val d'Isere may cause skiers to experience table-top dancing and champagne showers! No kidding. Val d'Isere has a fantastic nightlife scene, which is usually a continuation of an après session, and finishing in the wee hours of the morning. Many of the bars and nightclubs offer wonderful live music and evenings with some of the best international DJ's, so be sure your vocal chords are warmed up before you belt out those pop classics. There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy a fine wine (some of the best in Europe) or whiskey by the fireside.
Breckenridge is one of the USA's most premier ski resorts, partially due to it's fantastic nightlife scene. The overall vibe is much more down-to-earth than other ski resorts, but this doesn't mean the local bars and nightclubs are anywhere near tame. Downtown Breckenridge boasts a wonderful line-up of live music venues, dancing clubs, and chilled bars, all within walking distance of each other. Our favourites include the Breckenridge Distillery (the world's highest distillery) for some award winning bourbon, vodka and gin, and the Gold Pan Saloon, for some good ol' knee-slapping fun.
Park City is one of our favourite ski resort towns for a fun night out after skiing. The Main Street of Park City is truly a bustling affair, with plenty of great restaurants and bars scattered amongst some fun shops and galleries. If dancing is your thing, there is no shortage of nightclubs on offer including the Spur Bar & Grill and Sidecar, or you can bring the kiddos and shoot some pool at a family-friendly pub. No Name Saloon is our go-to for a true American honky-tonk time, or enjoy one of the many speakeasy bars (we like to keep them secret!).
Our top ski resort in Japan for nightlife has to be Niseko. The large Western influence the resort has experienced over recent years means there are now some fantastic restaurants, bars and nightclubs to keep the stoke alive. Hirafu is the main hub for party-goers, with quite a lot of Western-style pubs and bars catering to the younger masses (and for those wanting a pumping dance session), but we love the traditional izakaya bars and smaller speakeasy-esque spots that offer wonderful atmosphere and local beer and whiskey. Bar Gyu (aka the 'fridge door bar') is our go-to. For those willing to brave the cold into the early hours of the morning, there are plenty of hot-spots to visit in Niseko.
Note: Speaking of Japan, Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen are Honorable Mentions when it comes to this list. Hakuba is exceptional for those in their mid-20's, with a happening nightlife scene, while Nozawa Onsen ticks all the boxes when it comes to traditional izakaya style bars and local hangouts.
Verbier in Switzerland is notorious for their pumping après and lively nightlife. There are a couple of key bars (and plenty of smaller ones) that see hundreds dancing in ski boots and well-lubricated groups of party-goers (mostly British) doing shotskis and dancing till all hours. There is a wonderful mix of trendy bars, traditional-style pubs, and cosmopolitan discos where they bring in guests from Ibiza for a high energy night of dancing! A typical evening in Verbier is buzzing and the pedestrian village is swarming with party-goers - a super fun atmosphere to enjoy. Just don't look at your credit card bill the next morning!
Rounding out our list of the best skir resorts for nightlife is Zermatt. As you clip off your skis and head back to your lodge, you'll feel the pull of the village atmosphere, beckoning you to head out for a night on the town. With over 100 restaurants and 60 bars to choose from, there are plenty of hot spots for locals and international visitors to rub shoulders and get acquainted. Whether you’re part of the fur-wearing, stylish clientele or at the opposite end of the spectrum you will find something to suit your style, with fantastic live music venues, funky discos, and trendy cocktail bars (and smoking lounges!). Just prepare yourself... you could be in for a long evening!
Honorable Mentions: There are a few other ski resorts that didn't quite make the final list, but are still worthy of a mention.
Telluride - Scout has had a few wild nights in Telluride and it is a fantastic spot to hang out with the locals and experience real mountain hospitality.
Meribel - La Folie Douche is hands down one of the best après spots in the world, which tend to continue well into the evening. Cue table top dancing and plenty of champagne showers!
Morzine - If you've ever been to Morzine you will agree that a night at Bar Robinsons (Robbos) will undoubtedly lead to a super late start to the ski day the next morning!
St Anton - The nightlife at St Anton is centred around the British run bars and pubs, with pumping live music, plenty of flowing beer, and rowdy patrons.