Après-ski: What Is It?

Our Snow Sports Experts
Written by
Reviewed by Tarun Knapp – Resident Snow Expert

We know ski trips are all about the skiing, but when the skiing is done there is still more fun to be had. Let us introduce you to Après! if you haven’t heard of it before, strap in and get ready to discover a whole new side of the mountain. In this guide, we introduce you to the different types Après, when to park the skis and start the party, all the essentials you need to let loose and our tips and tricks to ace your first trip to the slopes.

What is Après-Ski?

‘Après’ translates to ‘after’ in English, and it is a French term that originates from the 1950s; which encapsulates any activity you choose to take part in after spending time skiing or snowboarding on the slopes. Whether it’s mingling and dancing on tables with new friends at a mountain-side bar or indulging in a decadent fondant with your family in a cosy local restaurant, the choice is truly yours. 

What time does Après-ski start and finish?

Traditionally Après-ski begins in the afternoon, after the last run of the day. However, if you’re not one to ski until last lifts, you can decide when the fun begins. 

The length of Après-ski depends entirely on the type of activity chosen. If you opt for mountain side shots in the sun by the DJ booth, then it’s possible your Après might extend into the night at a local club or bar. If enjoying a warming tipple by the fire in a quaint pub is more your scene, then your Après-ski may end when you decide it’s time to take a leisurely stroll back to the chalet for a home cooked meal with the rest of your travel companions. 

Essentially, Après-ski is what you make it.

What are the types of Après

You can locate different types of Après-ski activities on the mountains and down in the towns. Let us walk you through it.

Après in the Mountains

Offering an extensive range of restaurants and bars, the mountains are perfect for a midmorning break and refuelling. You can find iconic drinks such as mulled wine, hot chocolates with whipped cream and refreshing pints, all to be enjoyed in the beaming sun or by a toasty fire. 

If the sound of live music, DJ sets, live performers and a sunny mountain terrace sounds like heaven to you, then we advise choosing a ski resort that features the famous La Folie Douce, there are 8 dotted across Europe, found in the famous ski resorts: Val D’isere, Val Thorens, Méribel- Courchevel, Saint-Gervais Megeve, Alpe d’Huez, Avoriaz, Chamonix and Les Arcs.

Check out a snipped of this infamous party place below to get you in the mood for some serious Après.

Getting Home Safely

It wouldn’t be a Après guide without some safety information. Après partying often involves alcohol, so things sometimes can get messy on the slopes. Taking on our tips could mean that you dodge some pretty unfortunate Après injuries or circumstances. 

We strongly advise taking a ski/snowboard lock along with you to safely lock your equipment outside the bar or restaurant. Alternatively swap one ski with a friend, as no one is going to take an odd pair of skis, so this will prevent theft on the mountain. Taking extra precautions means that you can fully let your hair down and not have to worry about the safety of your gear outside the bar.   

As a beginner you are probably really excited about getting involved in mountain Après-ski (who wouldn’t be!) but we have some advice to make it even more enjoyable. Make sure to check what time the bar you’re heading to closes, as the slopes can get very crowded, so leaving early will give you more space to make your turns. Trust us, it can be crazy. If you plan to stay on the mountain as long as possible, make sure there is an easy route home as the lifts will close and you don’t want to get stuck on the wrong side of the valley. Listen out for when the last ski lift to your resort is or ask others at your venue. 

Après-ski in the town

Ski towns, like the mountain, are home to great bars, restaurants and even clubs. Traditional restaurant cuisine including raclette, cheese fondue and tartiflette can be enjoyed in the local restaurants. Meanwhile, the pubs and bars are full of locals and skiers, singing songs, enjoying pints and playing games like Neglin. If you haven’t heard of Neglin, imagine a group of skiers gathered around a tree stump, taking turns to hit the head of their nail with the smallest part of a hammer. This game is a tad dangerous, but seriously hilarious, super competitive and always draws in a crowd. We advise practicing safely at home, which will give you the upper hand when you get roped into a round of Nelgin. 

Want to relax? Then it’s time to hit the spa!

For many people, Après-ski is about unwinding and entering a state of zen after a long day on the slopes. You can find spa facilities in ski towns, usually within a hotel complex or wellness centre. Book yourself in for some time in the sauna, heated pool, hammam or jacuzzi to relax your muscles and pamper yourself. Spa trips when away on a ski holiday are perfect for every type of individual; whether you wish to visit with your partner, alone, with your family or friends. A spa experience is always a winner, especially if you’re not up for spending all day on the piste.  

Alternative Après-ski Experience

You don’t have to be a party animal to enjoy the mountain Après-ski scene. You can certainly take it at your own pace or choose to test out an experience instead. Many resorts offer activities for you to enjoy as a family or on a solo adventure. We have listed some of our favourite ways to spend time on the mountain when we aren’t carving the slopes. 

Dining Experiences

Mountain dining experiences are a unique yet super special and wholesome Après-ski activity. Often located in beautiful mountain-side chalets, you will be transported up and down the mountain on the back of a ski-doo. Once inside the chalet with your group, your family or your partner, you will indulge in an array of cultural delights and chat the night away over bottles of decadent wine and mouth watering pints of beer (if you wish.) Delightful, right?


If you love the thrill of racing down the slopes, why not try out sledging. Many resorts offer sledging as an Après-ski activity both during the day and night. It’s the perfect option if you’re feeling a little achey as all it takes is a push at the top of the mountain to effortlessly slide down with your arms and feet in the air. With a companion or alone, these sledges generate some serious laughter.

Husky Rides

Husky rides are a magical, once in a life time experience. If you’re really dedicated to upgrading your Après-ski options, then a husky ride is a no brainer. This Après-ski activity is perfect for dog lovers and those who are keen to explore more of the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the resort. There is quite simply nothing that compares to being transported through a winter wonderland by eager, blue eyed huskies.

What to wear to Après

If you are hitting Après-ski straight from the slopes, you will be in all your ski attire which is perfect for when you’re standing around outside. Trust us, no one is getting dressed up for mountain Après, just turn up from your last run and get involved in the party. Mountain Après-ski is extremely relaxed, which is where the fun lies. So, unclip those ski boots and let your hair down.

Whether you are headed to a dining experience up the mountain, a wine bar with friends or a club in the town – we would always advise opting for a cosy sweater or knitted jumper, a big furry jacket or puffer coat, jeans or leggings, chunky socks and Winter boots, with thermals underneath. Cosy yet practical is key, with a few accessories to upgrade the look and showcase your style.  

There are a few Après essentials that are an absolute must, such as a warm hat, sunglasses, casual gloves and a pair of post-slope winter boots for walking around the resort. Our main advice is to wrap up warm if you plan on taking part in any outdoor Après-ski activities.  

Après-ski festival

However, we know that some of you wish to take your Après-ski to new heights. Why not try Rise festival in Les Deux Alps or Tomorrowland Winter Festival in Alpe d’Huez.

Tips & Tricks

  • Keep a form of ID on you for the Après
  • Bring a ski/snowboard lock for extra safety when leaving your equipment outside the bar
  • Pack a spare pair of casual gloves and cosy socks so that you can enjoy being outside
  • Layer up to lock out the cold
  • Loosen the buckles on your shoes so you can have a boogie


Après, is any activity that takes place after your last run on the slopes. In fact, it literally translates to ‘after’ in English. Whether its drinking and dancing at a sunny mountain side bar, tasting the local cuisine in a cosy pub, sledging with friends or relaxing at the spa; the choice is always yours.

You don’t need to be a pro-skier to take part in Après, in fact, you don’t even need to ski at all on a ski holiday if you really wish. Although, we do advice that when attending a La Folie Douce that you check before that there is a walkable route home, as hitting the slopes for the very first time after drinking could end up in some serious carnage.

Not every Après-ski activity involves drinking, in fact, resorts offer more non-drinking post-ski activities than many realise. Non drinking Après-ski activities include spa trips, sledging, husky rides, chalet dining experiences (if you opt for no alcohol) and more.

When taking part in any outdoor Après-ski activity, it’s important to layer up. Remember your thermals, cosy hats, gloves, scarves, socks and an insulating hat. For the basis of you’re outfit, regular Après-ski goers often opt for a knitted jumper or a hoodie paired with jeans or leggings. If you’re attending a La Folie Douce, slope ski gear is just fine.

Always remember to keep a padlock with you to lock your ski’s together when leavening them outside the bar, or swap a ski with a friend, as no one will accidently take two odd skis! Stay together as a group, listen out for the last lift or ask others, and take the walkable route home if you’ve had one too many.

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