APRÈ 101: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE “WHAT COMES AFTER SKIING” CULTURE
Photos and words: Ray Gadd Photography
Après is hands down every ski town’s favorite French word. In Sun Valley it is taken quite seriously and the options to properly revel in the glory of a day in the mountains can be an overwhelming bounty. After you’ve skied or snowboarded yourself into a crumple of sore legs and blissfully glowing cheeks, your inner Frenchman/woman comes out and you find the magnetism of the bar calling your name, ski boots and all. While one may see après skiing a merely an afternoon bronzing booze-fest, it is in fact time honored tradition as culturally significant as sitting for an espresso after visiting a museum digesting in conversation that which one has witnessed. Just like in art, as skier’s and snowboarders, “it” basically didn’t happen if you didn’t sit around afterwords and recount it over cocktails, beers, or a glass of vino. So we struck out on a perfect morning to ride some great snow with the promise of a top notch après guide as our goal.
So join us on a quick tour of après done properly….
Ok, well played, you’ve assembled the gang, held a high level meeting deciding it is now time to kick back and slap yourselves on the back with a pitcher of tall cold ones with a view. Proceed to the next step.
Baldy’s super-fast lifts, 3,400ft of elevation change, and nonexistent crowds allow you to rack up some serious stats in a mighty short period of time. This means not only can you ski more vert in a matter of hours than anywhere else, you can earn your après faster than anywhere else.
Our first stop is a recommended world class lodge with spectacular views: Seattle Ridge.
After having safely and responsibly departed Seattle Ridge Lodge there is a conundrum which the avid après aficionado will encounter…River Run or Warm Springs??? For the savvy après animal it is possible to do both. You just need to take a few glasses of water in between stops as a precaution. So we head down to River Run where there is nearly always a band playing in the afternoon.
No matter who you are, eventually you will need to take off your boots and find yourself some dinner. Lefty’s Bar and Grill is the perfect place located in town and far enough away from the mountain that you may consider yourself officially off of après and on to dinner. It’s just a a short, free bus ride from either side of the mountain and drops you off a block away. Inside you will find a great vibe and rowdy raucous crowd watching the game, shooting pool, and talking more story.
This is just one way to take in the Sun Valley après culture. With so many options and offerings in the valley it’s hard to say where to begin and end. For more ideas on where to find a lively après scene you can also check out:
Other notable après spots:
- Grumpy’s – burgers & brews
- Sawtooth Brewery – locally crafted brews
- Limelight Hotel – live music 5 nights a week, tasty cocktails and satiating pizzas
- Warfield – great happy hour and a kick-ass patio once the snow melts
Now that you have a list of options, there’s no excuse for us not to see you out there. Make plans to get out on the hill and savor the recharging nature of the après ski scene.