Cocktails: Apres skiing and slopeside sipping 

For some of us, “après ski” translates most accurately as “excuse to ski.” And some don’t actually wait around for après, but feel we’ve earned the right to imbibe after a solid run or two on the slopes. Well, whatever your mountain commitment level, here are some can’t-miss slopeside sipping spots to visit before, during or après ski.

Since Steeps shut down a few years back, there’s been a bit of an après-ski void at Park City Mountain Resort. But that’s been remedied with the creation of Legends Bar & Grill, sporting an all-new look. Located at the base of the Payday ski run, Legends is an easy-to-access place to wet your whistle. Get there early to rest your rump on the much-coveted cushions next to the fireplace which serves as Legend’s centerpiece and main flirting site. Or for the locals’ après destination of choice, head into town to O’Shucks.

Located at the Powderhorn Lodge just a few steps from the ice rink is Solitude Mountain Resort’s most laidback watering hole, The Thirsty Squirrel. It’s a terrific place to take in afternoon football or March Madness via the plasma TVs or win a pitcher of beer from a friend at darts or pool. For you Solitude sophisticates, drop into St. Bernard’s (a private club) for a pre-dinner cheese plate and a glass of fine wine, including Solitude owner’s own Snake River wines.

The Saloon at Goldminer’s Daughter Lodge in Alta is the default location for finding what’s best after a day of hardcore powder skiing: beer and pizza. Goldminer’s Daughter is a rambunctious spot sporting a handsome selection of draft beers on tap, including Bohemian Cherny Bock and Viennese Lager; Dead Horse Amber Ale, Hefeweizen, Cutthroat and Baja Especial from Uinta Brewing and, of course, Guinness, all available by the pitcher. On your way down Little Cottonwood Canyon, be sure to drop into the Alta Peruvian Lodge Bar (a private club), the après-ski choice of Alta ski instructors where bottled Spaten is the drink of choice.

When skiing at Deer Valley Resort, it’s wise to knock off an hour or so before the lifts close to avail yourself of the opportunity for ski-in/ski-out après at La Pasch in the Stag Lodge. I usually ski into La Pasch for live music and a cocktail on the patio (and maybe some fondue, too) before the Deer Valley Ski Patrol does its mountain sweep and encourages me to hit the road or walk down the mountain. At the bottom of the resort, hang out on the deck at Snow Park Lounge for a brew and an order of Deer Valley turkey chili nachos.

One of the coziest and coolest après ski spots in Utah is Molly Green’s Pub (a private club) at Brighton. It’s nothing fancy, just a classic mountainside pub complete with the requisite fireplace and moose head, fantastic mountain views and über-friendly service, where boarders and backcountry skiers alike congregate for live music, tall tales, frosty mugs of brew and Jägermeister.

My favorite new Snowbird spot for après ski is El Chanate Cantina (a private club), home to Utah’s most extensive selection of premium tequilas. If you’re feeling flush, give the Herradura Selección Suprema a spin, along with El Chanate’s pork carnitas.

At The Canyons, Smokie’s Bar & Grill is the loud and lively gathering spot for hip young shredders as well as old-time plank skiers like me. It’s a nifty locale for a game of pool, pitcher of beer, shot of Goldschläger, and a plate of fiery chicken wings. Or, for a more upscale après, visit the Westgate Grill at The Canyons for Chef Willey’s awesome barbecue duck chimichangas and a wine selection to match.

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