Where to Eat by the Slopes

You'll want to race down the mountain for a taste of these top dishes and drinks.

Photo by: John Iannelli

John Iannelli

After a full day of fresh air and fresh powder, there’s arguably no better way to unwind than with apres-ski dishes and drinks, preferably while lounging by a fire. Here are the best spots for scoring brews and bites at ski destinations within driving distance of major U.S. cities.

Hunter Mountain (New York)

When New York City locals want to trade subway tracks for snow-covered trails, many head to Hunter Mountain, which is less than a three-hour drive away from Manhatten. The resort’s Base Lodge offers plenty of places to grab both bites and brews. The Main Bar offers the perfect spot to kick off your boots and kick back with suds, snacks, sushi and savory plates near a crackling fire. For picturesque panoramas of the surrounding slopes, stop by the Copper Bar to slurp ramen while soaking up the floor-to-ceiling views. If it’s more filling fare you’re after, check out Van Winkles restaurant in the Kaatskill Mountain Club lodge. Standout menu items at this slopeside spot include made-to-order, thin-crust pizza and a Mediterranean plate featuring various cheeses, hummus, prosciutto and veggies.

Liberty Mountain (Pennsylvania)

Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania provides the perfect weekend escape for many D.C. skiers, as it takes less than two hours to reach from the Capitol by car (it’s also drivable from Baltimore and Philly). The resort has quite a few dining options, but for apres ski, it’s all about McKee’s Tavern. Unwind with an oversized mug of Irish coffee or a specialty cocktail like the Hot Cider Toddy. Pair your drink with rich dishes like homemade chili or creamy crab dip served with baguettes and assorted breads. Eagle & Owl is also a fun stop for shuffleboard, wood-fired pizza and craft beer tap takeovers.

Lake Tahoe (California and Nevada)

Lake Tahoe is a go-to destination for skiing fans from both California and Nevada, with many of the area’s ski resorts located within a four-hour drive from San Francisco and an hour from Reno.

For stunning views, bites and brews at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadow, check out The Chalet’s Bavarian beer garden with a view. Top picks include the panini and raclette. Those planning not to ski away should opt for a Bierstiefln — a plastic boot brimming with beer.

Skiers looking to fuel up before hitting the slopes at the Heavenly resort often head to Booyah’s Exotic Burgers and Brews. Burger options abound at this full-service restaurant, which sits at the top of the resort’s tram that runs to and from the California Main Lodge. Pick from eight patty types (including Angus, elk and veggie), along with 22 condiments, 10 cheeses, 29 toppings and seven types of bread. In addition to the choose-your-own burger options, Booyah’s offers 97 different beers — one for each ski run at Heavenly.

Mt Baldy (California)

Yes, even those in sunny Southern California sometimes crave a bit of snow. Mt Baldy is the go-to ski spot for many in SoCal, as it’s less than an hour’s drive from Los Angeles and two from San Diego. The resort’s Top of the Notch restaurant boasts stunning views at 7,800 feet. Take an afternoon break here with brews and burgers while surveying the surrounding slopes. If it’s live music you’re after, head into town to the Mt Baldy Lodge, where you can get your groove on while grabbing snacks like BBQ steak tips and macho nachos.

Mount Snow (Vermont)

A two-hour jaunt by car from Boston (or four from NYC) brings skiers and snowboarders to beautiful Southern Vermont. Mount Snow resort boasts a booming apres-ski scene, with Cuzzins Bar & Grill drawing a sizable crowd. It’s always a party at this spot, especially when there’s live music. The PB&B — grilled peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich — is a crowd favorite. More snacks and suds await at Canned, the newest addition to the area’s apres scene. This aptly named spot only serves canned beer and cider made in Vermont, offering 35 - 40 different selections each day. What pairs better with beer than pretzels? Savory and sweet options with creative dipping sauces are the play for post-ski sustenance.

Buck Hill Mountain (Minnesota)

Ski like Lindsey Vonn at this Minnesota mountain just a 30-minute drive from Minneapolis/St. Paul — it’s where she got her start. The Black Diamond restaurant is the place for apres ski, with its selection of scratch-made Mexican food like tinga chicken tacos or veggie-stuffed enchiladas. Weekends are especially lively, thanks to a rotating roster of musical guests. But the sleeper hit may well be the Friday lunch special: a create-your-own taco bar. It’s all you can eat, so plan accordingly.

Breckenridge (Colorado)

Photo by: Breckenridge Brewery

Breckenridge Brewery

Breckenridge (Colorado)

Denver dwellers are spoiled for their easy access to mountains galore, but Breckenridge is a popular pick for its proximity to the city. For apres-ski fun right on the mountain, T-Bar specializes in fried appetizers and the best beers to pair with them. Gather a group for pretzel bites and tortilla chips with bacon jam and charred poblano queso or beer-poached game sausages with housemade IPA mustard sauce and pickled vegetables.

Off the mountain, head to Breckenridge Brewery and Pub for brews with a view of Breckenridge and the vast Tenmile Range around it. Beers are made on-site, so the best and most-enlightening seat is at the bar, where the brewmasters chat about their tequila-barrel-aged beers or their on-trend pumpkin spice latte beer. For food, build your own elk burger or get messy with the St. Louis-style pork ribs glazed in the house Avalanche Ale and barbecue sauce.

Wilmot Mountain (Wisconsin)

Both the slopes and the apres options at this ski destination have benefitted from the resort’s recent renovation, giving residents from nearby Chicago and Milwaukee even more reason to visit. While away an evening at Walt’s Tavern, which offers warming libations like a boozy hot chocolate spiked with Godiva white chocolate liquor and peppermint Schnapps. Kick back with your drink by the outdoor fireplace or head inside for heartier fare. Options include Wisconsin classics like a split beer brat heaped with cheddar cheese sauce, stone-ground mustard, grilled onions and sauerkraut. Fridays are always a fun time, thanks to live music and a traditional Wisconsin fish fry (think fried cod, coleslaw and chips).

For more top picks, check out Food Network’s Where To Eat Near Top Ski Slopes gallery.

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