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Resort Guide 2022

Top 10 Best Après Scenes in the West

These are the best resorts in the West to party with friends after a ski day, according to SKI's 2022 Reader Resort Survey.

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There’s a rumor going around that skiers like to kick back with a drink or two after a day on the slopes. We can neither confirm or deny this, but we can say that when readers vote on the best après-ski scenes at resorts in the West, they know what they’re talking about. Below are the Top 10 resorts for hard-partying types.

Top 10 Resorts in the West for Après

10. Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif.

Score: 8.22
Other Strengths:
Nightlife (#3), Lodging (#9)
Weaknesses: Overall Satisfaction (#34), Variety (#33)

What Readers Say

“Heavenly offers a combination of California and Nevada life for après-ski, and a variety of terrain through the day. One can ski the steeps in the canyons and long bump runs under the tram in a day.”

“Heavenly has a large diversity of terrain, decent snow, and easy access to the South Lake Tahoe nightlife and casinos.”

“The lines are the weekend are ridiculous. Due to its amazing beauty and views, there are a lot of people who just go there to get pictures for social media and are not really experienced enough to handle some of the terrain. Weekdays are awesome, vibe is local, tourists are at a minimum, lines are short and trails/bowls/woods are free and clear of the inexperienced. The resort has dining and après options, but venture out and you will find great local options. Overall, Heavenly lives up to its name, especially when it comes to the weather and views, but it can be extremely busy and you will spend a lot of time waiting in line and riding lifts to get to everywhere on the mountain.”

9. Park City Resort, Utah

Score: 8.24
Other Strengths: Access (#4), Dining (#9)

Weaknesses: Value (#30), Snow (#27)

Park City Apres
(Photo: Park City Resort)

What Readers Say

“The resort is huge and even on busy days you can find short lines, if you know where to go. People are friendly and the town is a great ski town. The snow is almost always great.”

“Amazing and virtually endless variety of terrain. Great restaurants, bars and nightlife. Authentic mountain town with history and a fun vibe. Easiest access from virtually anywhere to world-class skiing.”

“Love the people, fun for all ages, and all types of lifestyles. Beautiful, winter activities galore! Summer too!”

8. Vail Mountain, Colo.

Score: 8.27
Other Strengths: Dining (#7), Nightlife (#8)

Weaknesses: Local Flavor (#32), Overall Satisfaction (#31)

Vail Apres
Apres at The Tavern in Arrabelle In Vail, CO. (Photo: Jack Affleck)

What Readers Say

“From the vast expanses of the Back Bowls to the serenity of Blue Sky Basin, the terrain is spectacular. And then as soon as you call it day and get to the village, you enter the quaint Bavarian-style town and get to enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment with boots and goggles still on!”

“Great runs. Many runs. Good variety of runs and different areas to ski. Lots of lifts. A few too many traverses. Great base villages. Runs smoothly. Good variety of restaurants, bars, ski shops and stores. Plenty of nearby parking, but it is expensive.”

“Vail is comically underrated in this survey almost every year. This is unequivocally one of the top six ski resorts in the United States. And what a mountain it is. More than 5,000 acres of powdery goodness. Game Creek Bowl, Riva Ridge, Northwoods, all the runs off Highline, even the 2,100-foot front face into Lionshead is underrated intermediate terrain. And that’s just the frontside. Of course the Back Bowls are legendary for good reason. Yeah, the lodging and food are too high, but they have improved the quality of the food available at the on-mountain lodges in recent years, Vail is ski mountain royalty, and always will be until human beings destroy winter forever.”

7. Steamboat Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.38
Other Strengths: Family (#3), Lodging (#6)

Weaknesses: Challenge (#28), Value (#26)

Steamboat Apres
(Photo: Dave Marlow)

What Readers Say

“Very friendly town. Plenty to do on and off the slopes. Skiing was terrific. Après is outstanding. Would go back in a second.”

“A great family resort. Lots of terrain on the mountain and lots of things to do off. The area around the resort and the town have lots to offer. Great restaurants, bars, and a few breweries make Steamboat a great destination. Spring skiing is fun and the outdoor après facilities are a fun time. They even have live music daily outside.”

“Has the friendliest and coolest hang out vibe!! The base area is awesome with several choices of restaurants and bars.”

6. Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Score: 8.42
Other Strengths: Lodging (#2), Grooming  (#2)

Weaknesses: Challenge (#31), Variety (#30)

What Readers Say

“Deer Valley has been the best resort we have skied at thus far. The customer service is exceptional, the Utah powder is like no other, the food/restaurants/amenities/après both at the resort, and in town, are exceptional. I recommend Deer Valley, and Park City, to everyone. These are the reasons why we have skied there numerous times and will continue to go back every opportunity we get.”

“Deer Valley has great service and the wonderful town of Park City nearby with great restaurants and shopping. We’ve even tied trips there in with the film festival so we could ski during the day and watch films at night. I’d recommend it for other people like me–people who like straight up quality skiing with excellent snow and service.”

“Deer Valley is easy to get to. Park City transit is great and free to get around the area. Food/liquor/etc. is pretty available. Recommend to anyone not looking for all black/extreme skiing.”

5. Breckenridge Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.53
Other Strengths: Dining (#8), Après (#5)

Weaknesses: Service (#29), Lifts (#30)

Breck Apres
(Photo: Matt Power)

What Readers Say

“Recommend to all including families. It IS crowded during March madness BUT the snow and terrain is great and the town still has some authentic flavor. Things for non skiers to do, too. You can’t beat the views from the top of the Imperial lift on a bluebird day when the wind isn’t whipping.”

“I have skied at Breckenridge more than any other ski area. Their runs are accommodating to any level of skier. The location of the condos, hotels and rentals to the lifts and to the town are very good. The town itself is simply great for restaurants and shops.”

“Breckenridge is one of the great ski towns. The ski hill does a good job getting people up to the top, but I found the runs crowded.”

4. Telluride Resort, Colo.

Score: 8.79
Other Strengths: Variety (#3), Overall Satisfaction (#3)
Weaknesses: Access (#33), Family (#21)

Telluride Apres
(Photo: Telluride Ski Resort)

What Readers Say

“We have been skiing at Telluride for 40 years—it is truly a wonderful place! Great ski area, varied levels of runs, good for families as well as expert skiers. Laidback little town with lots of restaurants and cool bars.”

“Telluride is Alta with less snow, much more nightlife, and much more beginner and intermediate terrain. It’s also more remote, which is key because it keeps the crowds down. Overall, this place has big mountain terrain with a small-town atmosphere, but in a mining boom town sort of way. A town of 2,000 souls with lots of fine dining and high-end boutiques.”

“Harder than heck to get to but scenic location and great snow and usually not too crowded. Lodging prices are outrageously expensive; you need to be a trust-fund baby. The restaurants are pricey but delicious; just make a reservation two weeks before your trip or you might be out of luck going where you want.”

3. Aspen Snowmass, Colo.

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Lifts (#3), Nightlife (#2)

Weaknesses: Value (#22), Access (#19)

Aspen Apres
(Photo: Dan Bayer)

What Readers Say

“Best in America—four mountains, tons of variety, great après and dining. Snowmass itself is phenomenal—then you have the other mountains, too.”

“It’s got something for everyone, expert skiers, novices, and après-ski is second to none. Also for a day off from skiing, the shopping is the best.”

“There are four  mountains here that can accommodate every type of skier from beginner (Buttermilk) to extreme (Highlands Bowl). There’s a free bus between them and a skier could ski all four mountains the same day. The food and ambiance in Aspen is unsurpassed.”

2. Sun Valley, Idaho

Score: 9.01
Other Strengths: Grooming (#1), Service (#1)

Weaknesses: Access (#24), Snow (#22)

What Readers Say

“Sun Valley is one of the resorts that made me really fall in love with skiing. Beautiful lodges, great snow, yummy food, love the long runs and amazing grooming.”

“Restaurants and town charm are top notch. The food at the mountain restaurants and resort service are some of the best I’ve experienced. There is no slopeside accommodations, however the “walkable” nature of the town is fantastic and bodes well to the nightlife.”

“Sun Valley is not the most challenging mountain nor does it have the best snow but it is a world class resort and when it does snow significantly the mountain becomes exponentially larger and that much more fun. Ketchum is the best ski town with incredible dining and vibe.”

1. Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.

Score: 9.17
Other Strengths: Variety (#1), Nightlife (#1)

Weaknesses: Snow (#28), Value (#24)

"None"
(Photo: Vail Resorts)

What Readers Say

“I’ve skied all over North America and my last 10 trips were to Whistler Blackcomb. Love the steeps, the trees (especially Blackcomb), the variety of terrain can’t be beat. Fun après in the Village and Creekside. Great dining and fun nightlife. The people of Whistler are very welcoming.”

“Whistler is an amazing area not just in terms in terms of the variety of the Village and the on-slope amenities but the skiable terrain and general conditions.”

The terrain, the size, the mountains are excellent. The parties at Longhorn saloon are legendary. The nightlife is the best. Very expensive for Canadians who don’t have the exchange rate advantage.”