Hitting the mountains after a week of work is a Vancouver tradition, and one of the best parts of this tradition (whether you call it by its fancy name or not) is the après ski.
Après ski is the part of your mountain adventure when you can no longer feel your hands, your nose is running because of the cold, and you get to collapse into a comfortable chair. You get to indulge in cocktails and beer, satiating your hunger with something other than easily-packaged granola bars.
But not all après ski spots are created equal. To help you get the best experience at your mountain after-party, we’ve put together a list of the top spots to après ski on Seymour, Cypress, and Grouse mountains.
Just remember that après ski — which literally means after ski — is named so for a reason. Drinking while still on the slopes can increase your risk of serious injury, so you should only indulge once you’ve finished up your winter sports for the day. It’s the best way to keep yourself and your fellow boarders and skiers safe.
If you’re looking for a casual place to relax after a day on the slopes, then Altitudes Bistro is the place to be. The bistro has a chill vibe, with an open indoor fireplace and cozy armchairs. Its food choices are set up for sharing – a small order of mountain nachos can probably feed three people – so you’ll want to bring the crew after finishing your runs. Since the bistro is located in the Peak Chalet on top of Grouse Mountain, it will be tempting to grab a beer part way through the day. Don’t. If you wouldn’t drink and drive, then don’t sip and ski.
Reason to go: The shareable mountain nachos
Where: The Peak Chalet – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Contact: Instagram: @grousemountain
If Altitudes is the chill snowboarder of the Grouse restaurants, then The Observatory is the Nordic professional. This is one snazzy spot, with stunning views of the valleys surrounding the mountain. It has a 10-page wine list and focuses on pairing wines with the local ingredients on its menu. The Observatory is a little pricey, but it does offer a discount to make up for it – when you make a reservation, your trip up the mountain is free. So, you can ride for free up to your skiing destination, then enjoy a well-deserved dinner when the day is done.
Reason to go: Well-paired wines
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
On Cypress Mountain, there’s only one place to get a drink – Crazy Raven Bar and Grill. Located on the second level of Cypress Creek Lodge, the bar is well-known for its burger offerings, as well as its Granville Island Pale Ale-battered fish and chips. But the food isn’t the only reason to go – the bar offers a number of alcoholic options, including beer from Granville Island Brewery and its signature Crazy Raven Pale Ale. There’s also live music throughout the year, so you’ll want to enjoy your après ski way after you finished skiing. Of course, with all that drinking, you’ll need to make sure you have a DD for the way home – and that you don’t head back out onto the slopes.
Reason to go: Live entertainment
Where: 6000 Cypress Bowl Road, Cypress Creek Lodge – West Vancouver
To make your adventure truly British Columbian, you’ll want to head out to a restaurant by the water. And one of the best ones near Cypress Mountain is The Beachhouse. It’s known for its sustainable seafood and fusion cuisine – you’ll find everything from a prawn dynamite roll with mango, cucumber, Sriracha mayo, and maple glaze to a mussel pot with dry-cured chorizo, chipotle tomato broth, and cilantro. In case you didn’t want to commit to a full dinner, The Beachhouse has not one, but two happy hours. From Monday to Friday, happy hour goes from 3 to 6 pm. From Sunday to Thursday, there’s another one from 9 to 10 pm. Just the reason you needed to end your day on the slopes and head down to the ocean.
Reason to go: Oceanwise seafood
Where: 150 – 25th Street, West Vancouver
Mount Seymour doesn’t believe in après ski spots on the mountain, but the area around the base of the mountain sure makes up for it. One of the best casual spots to grab a drink after your day on the mountain is The Raven Pub, which offers traditional pub food and street tacos. But it really shines with its wine and on-tap craft beer offerings. All its glasses are full 20-ounce pints, and when you buy Pingu Pale Ale, $1 goes towards mountain bike trail maintenance. So by enjoying a pint, you’ll also make it easier to enjoy the mountain in the summer.
Reason to go: Wine on tap and local beer
Where: 1052 Deep Cove Road, North Vancouver
Contact: 604-929-3834 ext 2
After your day on the mountain, you need to make your way down to Deep Cove’s Arms Reach Bistro, known for its original cocktails. Maybe you’re feeling like the Shakedown Cocktail, with cedar-infused whisky, lemon thyme simple syrup, and a splash of soda. Or maybe you’re feeling more like the Pamplemoustache, The Zappa, the Vietnamese Salty Lemonade, or the Pisco Sour – the long list will have you wanting to try them all. But don’t. It tastes better when you can actually remember drinking them.
Reason to go: Specialty cocktails
Where: 107-4390 Gallant Avenue, North Vancouver
If you’re itching to sit in a comfortable chair after a day on the slopes, then one of these après ski locations is bound to satisfy.
Just remember to wait until “after ski” to head to your favourite spot. Sipping and skiing falls under the same category as drinking and driving, after all.
So if you do enjoy your après ski, make sure you do it responsibly. Don’t go out on the slopes if you’ve been drinking, and don’t head out on the road – even if that means having to call your roommate to pick you up.