5 Great Après-Ski Bars

Relaxing with a beer. betsyweber
By Eric Peterson

What is about a day on the slopes that makes that pint of beer, glass of wine, or cocktail taste that much better? There is only one sure way to find out: plenty of research at the bars near the slopes. Here are five perfect spots for après-ski drinks in California, Colorado, Montana, and Utah.

Photo Caption: Relaxing with a beer
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The Woody Creek Tavern in Woody Creek, Colorado. Aubree Dallas
No skier himself, legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson once called Woody Creek Tavern his local hangout. Located a short bus ride away from the slopes at Aspen/Snowmass, it remains a favored haunt in the Roaring Fork Valley. But it's not all about fear and loathing in Aspen: Beyond the gonzo-tinged memorabilia covering the walls, the Mexican-oriented menu is terrific (the tamales are edible works of art) and the potent blue agave margaritas might just be the best in the Rockies.

More Info:

Photo Caption: The Woody Creek Tavern in Woody Creek, Colorado.
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Le Chamois in Squaw Valley, California. Telstar Logistics
This is the place to see and be seen at so-called "Squallywood," the Lake Tahoe resort where seeing and being seen is held in the highest regard. Squaw Valley regulars can buy $40 "Buddy Passes" -- good for 20 pints of Budweiser -- or $60 "Pint Passes" if they favor more exotic brews. Open since 1969, the restaurant/bar fills to the rafters when the lifts stop turning, and the festivities more often than not spills outside onto the deck.

More Info: www.squawchamois.com

Photo Caption: Le Chamois in Squaw Valley, California
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The Bierstube at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish Mountain Resort
Open since the 1950s, the 'Stube is the place to be every Wednesday at 5pm when the infamous Frabert Award is bestowed upon "the clod of the week," the employee or tourist who pulled the most boneheaded stunt in the past seven days. The alternately woodsy and funky watering hole, which serves food and hosts plenty of live music, was found to be sinking a couple of seasons ago. Fortunately, the Whitefish Mountain Resort fixed up the foundation to make the bar viable for yet another generation of après-skiers.

More Info: www.skiwhitefish.com

Photo Caption: The Bierstube at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana.
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The Last Dollar Saloon in Telluride, Colorado. Last Dollar Saloon
Known to locals as "The Buck," this Victorian-era place is the dive of choice in Telluride and one of the busiest on the main drag, Colorado Avenue. Opening in 1899 as the National Club for the mining crowd, the joint rode out its fair share of booms and busts before the current ownership took over in 1980. Times have definitely changed, but the bar remains a classic, with the original brick walls and pressed-tin ceiling, cold beer, loud music, and a sign out front reading, "Sorry, we're open."

More Info: www.lastdollarsaloon.com

Photo Caption: The Last Dollar Saloon in Telluride, Colorado.
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The Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville, Utah. bojphoto
Located in Ogden Valley, the oldest continuously operating bar in Utah is one of the best in the West. Want history? Check. (Hoken Olson opened the place in 1879, give or take, and bootlegged his way through Prohibition.) Grub? Check. (The Star Burger involves hamburger patties, American cheese, and split knockwurst. But don't ask for fries.) How about a side order of wacky? Double-check. (The ceiling is plastered with currency, everything but the kitchen sink hangs from the rafters, and then there's Buck, the enormous St. Bernard whose head is stuffed and mounted on the wall.) And after the lifts stop turning at nearby Snowbasin, Wolf Mountain, and Powder Mountain, there is no place you'd rather be.

More Info: www.facebook.com/ShootingStarSaloon

Photo Caption: The Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville, Utah
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