At Madame Vacances, we know that the fun doesn’t stop on the slopes, and half the attraction of a ski holiday in Tignes or La Plagne comes from what happens after you ski. Après-ski literally translates as ‘after skiing’ – and often much of the mountain allure comes once you’ve hung up your skis.
What is Après-ski?
After a long hard day of carving up the snow there’s nothing better than a well-deserved drink and catching up with friends. At its core, that’s what après is, but depending on where you go – and how wild you want to get – that can mean a lot of different things.
For some, après-ski is about a warm dinner and a hot toddy as the sun sets on the snow, for others, it’s about dancing on the tables before you’ve even taken your boots off, with a Jagermeister in each hand.
But regardless of the range of activities and après-ski types, there’s usually a few consistencies: good music, rich and delicious food (often cheese-based), plenty of things to drink or shot, and a fantastic community of ski-lovers having a good time.
Après Ski Wear
Much like your regular ski wear (which we’ve told you all about here) your après-ski wear has one big job to do – keeping you warm. Even after a few too many, the walk back to your chalet is a chilly one. We recommend lots of insulated layers, thick hoodies and gilets. The advantage of clothing like this is once you get warmed up from the partying you can easily take them off. You don’t want to be stuck trying to wiggle out of and keep hold of a bulky (and expensive) ski jacket.
And remember not to bring along all your accessories. Ski goggles, helmets, masks and neck gaiters are all a little bit too much for a relaxed time with friends. Don’t worry, we’ll all still know you’re a skier! Equally, it can be a good move to go for some après-ski boots, they let you show off your fashionable side, and nearly as importantly you can avoid the unfortunate and clunky ski-boot-walk.
Après Ski Drinks
As essential as the snow and stunning sights are to an après experience, one of the main attractions has to be the delicious drinks. So we’ve listed a few of our favourites below:-
Demi-peche: It’s our Austrian cousins on the other side of the Alps who are all about their bier, but in France we like to do something a little different. Your regular lager is made smoother and softer with a juicy shot of peach syrup. Perfect for something refreshing when you step off the slopes in the afternoon. Be warned though, they do go down easily!
Vin chaud: A classic après-ski drink and very similar to a British mulled wine. This hot wine is spiced with cinnamon, orange and honey, and results in something that’s not too sweet and is perfect for warming up those fingers on a chilly Alpine evening.
Toffee vodka: It might not be a traditional French après drink, but the blend of subtle toffee infused with strong, punchy vodka is a winning addition to any après experience. Although it’s probably best enjoyed in the evening rather than during an afternoon lunch before you head back to the slope!
Best Resorts for Après-Ski
Val Thorens Après Ski
The highest resort in the alps offers a dizzying and buzzing après-scene, in fact, it’s one of the main attractions bringing ski-lovers over to Val Thorens. Much in the same way the resort boasts a range of slopes, it boasts an après scene with something for everyone.
The British love heading to the Frog and Roast Beef, the highest pub in the alps which is famous for its table dancing and the traditional Yard of Ale challenge. If you’re looking for something a little more refined, Jean Sulice’s eponymous restaurant offers panoramic views of the mountains alongside a Michelin star winning menu.
Our favourite accommodation: With a rustic design and a relaxed atmosphere the Chalet Val 2400 is only a short hop (or stagger) from the lively après-scene, while still being somewhere to relax at the end of a hectic day.
Val d’Isere Après Ski
Val d’Isere is one of our premier resorts in France, what really sets it apart is the quality of the bars both on-piste and off-. Most notably, the famous Folie Douce is a mega-mountain party which starts every afternoon and is a ‘must-do’ experience for visitors to Val d’Isere. Half cabaret show, half outdoor nightclub and topped with delicious food and drinks – it’s easy to see why it has such appeal with visitors to the resort.
Our favourite accommodation: The Alpina Lodge is a firm favourite with our team when it comes to Val d’Isere. You’re around 500m away from the ski lifts, and the apartments feature a traditional mountain style of décor, plus jaw-dropping views of the legendary Face de Bellevarde.
Les Deux Alpes
This resort’s long season (up to 9 months) has made Les Deux Alpes consistently popular with British holidaymakers, but we also suspect that the vibrant après-ski lifestyle may also make up some of this region’s appeal.
Most of the après in Les Deux Alpes is in the narrow strip of bars and restaurants that sits between the two alpine slopes. The 40+ bars and restaurants, within staggering distance of one another, mean that the young and energetic crowd are kept busy until the early hours.
Our favourite accommodation: The lbiza Hotel is a mainstay of Les Deux Alpes where its original charm and features are balanced with the modern amenities of one of France’s most popular ski resorts. The indoor pool and spa facilities are the perfect way to soak and unwind after a heavy day on the slopes… or the strip.
So there you have it, our guide to the wonderful world of après-ski. What are you waiting for? Get browsing, and we’ll see you there!