After a day on the mountain, you just want an early night right? WRONG! Aprés-ski endurance is almost as impressive as your ability on the slopes.
For some people, apres-ski is all about getting together in one jolly, beery throng - drinking too much and dancing on tables in your ski boots, then stumbling home. While others prefer to find a quieter, more sophisticated bar in which to sip a cocktail or two and nibble aprés-ski snacks in front of an open fire.
There's no rulebook, but a good idea is to start around 3/4 p.m and be in bed by 10 p.m. so you have at least eight hours to sleep it off. Then in the morning there's time to refuel with a hangover-cure breakfast before catching the first lift up the mountain.
Here's our pick of the 10 best aprés-ski bars in The Alps: five party-goers' bars; five chilled-out bars.
The first two top apres-ski bars are both in St. Anton, but regulars are so utterly divided over which establishment is superior, Krazy Kangaruh or Mooserwirt, that we've decided to just put them both in our list as numbers 1 and 2.
Both bars are located on the slopes of St. Anton and by 4 p.m every afternoon, you can get an idea of how popular they are by the hundreds of pairs of skis poking out of the snow. The Krazy Kangaruh and the Mooserwirt have quite a lot in common - you'll find dozens of people standing on tables stamping their ski boots to ear-splittingly loud music while swigging the local Fohrenburg beer and having Jägermeister shots poured straight into their mouths by wandering waitresses.
The Mooserwirt is popular for its live music - you can watch the popular German cover bands on the dancefloor from the high wooden balconies. Even though it closes at 8 p.m, the Mooserwirt is said to sell more beer than any other bar in Austria. Remember you still have to ski down the mountain when you leave so take it nice and slow, probably best to stick to a gentle snowplough.
Top apres-ski bar: Live music at Mooserwirt, St. Anton. Courtsey of Mooserwirt.
The Rond Point is a mountain bar in Meribel, open until 7:30 p.m. It's famous for its raucous dancing and partying, as well as spectacular views. This sunny terrace bar at 1,600 metres should not be missed. You'll find live music every afternoon and be sure to try the delicious toffee vodka. You can ski down from here to the Chaudanne or (if a little too wobbly) take the bus. Try to time your trip to Meribel to coincide with the Little World Festival in March. The five-day music festival features 40 concerts during the week, from large open-air performances on the slopes to small bar gigs.
The Hinterhagalm is legendary in the valley for its live music and party atmopshere. It is carved out of aged wood and set across two floors. From 4 p.m every day, it fills up with raucous Austrians who aren't afraid to sing and dance in their ski boots. The Hinterhagalm is located directly next to the Kohlmais slope, just a few metres above the Hotel Hinterhag and a couple of minutes' skiing from Saalbach centre. If you've had one too many gluwines, thankfully the slopes down are floodlit.
Top apres-ski bar: Hinterhagalm in Saalbach. Courtesy of Hinterhagalm.
Dick's Tea Bar was originally opened in 1979 by Dick Yates Smith and has evolved over the years into the one of the biggest bars in the French Alps - it's actually more of a nightclub than apres-ski bar, but we've added it to our list as the beer is cheap and there are lots of seating areas. Dick's is open until 4 a.m every day.
The Trofana Alm is a large, old wooden barn located behind the Trofana Royale Hotel on Ischgl's main street. Here you'll find the liveliest apres-ski in town. Live music, DJ's and boisterous parties take place daily. By 6 p.m, the hut is packed with people, sweat and schnapps.
To apres-ski bar: Trofana Alm, Ischgl. Courtesy of Trofana Alm
CHILLED OUT BARS
The White Lounge is a six-metre-high igloo and is the coolest bar in Mayrhofen. It is the perfect place to spend a romantic afternoon or chill out with friends. The Igloo Bar has cosy candlelit lounges as well as deckchairs in the sun from which to enjoy the mountain scenery of the Zillertal and listen to the Wintersun music sessions. If you don't want your icy experience to end, you can spend the night in an igloo suite.
To apres-ski bar: White Lounge igloo bar in Mayrhofen (Courtesy of white-lounge.at)
Elsie's is tucked into a tiny, two-story wooden chalet. The bar is a favourite with the resort's more well-to-do clientele, yet not intimidating to 'unmonied' folk. Expect to see plent of women wearing mink coats and clutching champagne flutes with beautifully manicured fingers and nibbling on champagne. Warm up with a whiskey or shuck a dozen oysters with a glass of dry white wine. Elsie's is open until 2 a.m.
The Chesa Bar is located in the Chesa Grischuna hotel, near the Gotschna slopes. It's a favourite with Prince Charles, William and Harry. British skiers tend to gravitate towards the Chesa for the delicious whiskey sours and to listen to the live music from the resident pianist.
10. Bar Roma in Courmayeur, Italy
There are plenty of bars lining Via Roma, the pedestrianed main street of Courmayeur; the best of them is Bar Roma. Leave your skis outside and go in the beautiful stone-walled bar and on the large antique sofas. Bar Roma is famous for its cocktails. Alternatively, try a lemoncello - a traditional lemon liquoire. The bar is a hive of activity around 5 p.m and later into the evening when a lavish buffet of free nibbles 'aperitivos' is laid out. You can gorge yourself so much that you may not even need dinner.
Next article: Mountain festivals reach new heights