Seven ways to drink and dine after a day on the slopes.
By Natasha Bourlin
High elevations often lead to high spirits. Lake Tahoe’s glorious bluebird days are ideal for mountain play then thawing out with a different sort of spirit – of the apres-ski variety.
Reminiscing about the day’s epic runs or watching others take their turns on the abundant powder can be more fun while imbibing at these seven Tahoe hot spots that know how to warm up guests from the inside out, with enticing seasonal specials.
Cozy up ‘round the fireplace and take in mountain views and Carson Valley vistas from the Bear Trap Lounge at The Ridge Tahoe Resort. Each day from 3 to 6 p.m., bartenders serve seasonal craft brews, wine and comforting cocktails to unwind with. ridgetahoeresort.com
Revel in the restaurant’s rustic mountain vibe while watching Warren Miller or other ski and snowboard flicks on their flat-screen TVs, fuel up on comfort foods like tater tots topped with nacho cheese sauce and bacon, or shoot some pool and share tales of your exhilarating day on the slopes.
Tip one back in a tram car
With skyscraping peaks like the legendary KT-22, Squaw Valley’s terrain is not for the faint of heart. It’s for snowbound warriors that earn their apres after a day spent coursing down thousands of vertical feet of powdery perfection. squawalpine.com
This season check out the new Tram Car Bar on the deck of the Olympic House. Restored from use in the 1970s, it retains the original logos and feel from Squaw’s post-Olympic heyday. As the aerial tram glides up the towering Tram Face, cut the chill inside the new bar with cocktails like their backscratcher, a spicy Moscow mule, plus draft beers, bubbles, wine or daily happy hour specials from 3 to 4 p.m.
Heavenly Mountain Resort is aptly named, and their apres experiences follow suit. At the top of the gondola, thirsty snow revelers can find the Tamarack Lodge and Bar nestled at 9,150 feet. You can fill up on items from the international food court, ranging from burritos to pho, then drink your boozy vegetables with a mountain Mary. skiheavenly.com
Live music by their house band accompanies offerings from their full bar, and check out their happy hour daily from 3 to 5 p.m. Or, if you can’t get enough of the outdoors, hit the apres ski and street food scene at LAT38, on the rooftop of the California Lodge, but
only on weekends, Friday – Sunday.
After an effervescent day of snow play, a glass of Moët & Chandon makes for a sparkling evening. Every weekend, ski or ride from the Northstar California slopes into the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe’s backyard and settle around the outdoor fire pit with a glass of bubbly during their signature Après-Ski Experience, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. ritzcarlton.com
Champagne pairs well with their raw bar offerings such as oysters on the half shell, chilled shrimp cocktails and ceviche, available a la carte from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Down the hill in the Northstar Village, globally renowned restaurateur Michael Mina’s Bourbon Pub Northstar opened this season, bringing alluring apres items like cheddar brats wrapped in puff pastry with jalapeno mustard, plus cocktails, craft brews and domestic wine to folks fresh from the mountain. northstarcalifornia.com
On South Lake Tahoe’s Nevada side, a local’s favorite for happy hour and hanging out is the Fox and Hound. While it’s removed from the resorts, there are plenty of prime peak views from their 7,380-foot elevation vantage point. Head in for their happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday – Friday and nosh on half-off chicken wings, a giant Bavarian pretzel, or any of their hearty menu items while sipping on spirit-elevating concoctions such as a sugar cookie martini, bourbon bacon hot chocolate or their campfire margarita. foxandhoundtahoe.com
Ravenous mountain dwellers can take their burger challenge while there. Called the menu burger, Fox and Hound’s edible monstrosity consists of all their favorite food items squeezed between buns, from pepperoni pizza and pulled pork to fried eggs and chili cheese garlic fries, plus oh-so much more, served with a side of hot wings – and a salad, naturally. Eat the burger in 60 minutes or less and it’s not only free, you get a commemorative t-shirt, that hopefully has a lot of stretch.
Abundant ways to apres ski exist around Tahoe this season, and finding favorites may be a fun sport in itself.