Skiing in the Alps is not just about the powder and the pistes. Most resorts offer a fabulous range of apr s ski option too. Read on for more.
A huge part of going skiing in the Alps is the apr s ski, an institution that has made these holidays more popular than ever. There is so much to Alpine resorts beyond the skiing itself, and from the chocolate box chalets to the ‘vin chaud’, and the fondues to the fabulous live music, apr s ski is an integral part of skiing in the Alps.
Here we outline the best apr s ski opportunities.
The Swiss Alps
Fabulous skiing is perfectly complemented by plenty of off piste activity in Switzerland’s best ski resorts. In St Moritz, for example, polo is played on the ice rink and there are an abundance of high-class bars and eateries ideal for hobnobbing with celebrity clientele. For something a little more traditional, Gstaad is the place to go. They even have a bar in the Palace Hotel in which you still have to wear a tie! This place is pure authenticity and Swiss charm epitomised.
Zermatt’s Monte Rosa hotel is the venue of choice in this resort for haute cuisine but, again, if you're looking for something more low key, Zinal and Grimentz, two idyllic farming villages, offer off-the-beaten-track old world elegance.
Austrian Apr s Ski
Austrians are well known for their love of a good time and the images of sleigh rides and lederhosen combined with old-fashioned ski attire are still very real in many resorts. Alpbach, Ellmau and Lofer are still steeped in tradition, while resorts such as St Anton are slightly more state-of-the-art. Contemporary hotels with buzzing cocktail bars, such as the Skihotel Galzig and The Mooser, line the streets and there is plenty of nightlife to suit all budgets. Euro-pop resonates through the local bars and after a hard day on the slopes a dance and some live music is the perfect way to relax. The Krazy Kanguruh is the place where the real apr s ski happens, and the young and trendy dance the afternoons away in ski boots and salapettes.
We've left the best for last! Think of skiing in the Alps and you naturally think of France. Home to the largest ski area in the world, France has an abundance of fantastic resorts to choose from. Courcheval is definitely the most famous, and if you want to splash out you can head to the Cheval Blanc or the L’Apog e for some classy apr s ski. Less ostentatious places to enjoy a few drinks and some friendly banter after a day on the slopes include any of the bars in Saint Martin de Belleville, La Tania or Meribel. The Rond Point, on the way back into the resort of Meribel, is the place to go if you want to join the seasonnaires in their after ski antics.
France also has the family friendly resorts of the Portes de Soleil and the exclusive bars of the Espace Killy, but wherever you choose to go skiing in the Alps , you will never be far from somewhere to enjoy the famous apr s ski scene.